I just had my THIRD treatment using the LightSheer laser yesterday. If you want specific information about my first and second treatments you can see my old posts (First LightSheer Treatment: MALE FACIAL HAIR from Dec 24, 2002 and Second LightSheer Treatment: MALE FACIAL HAIR from Feb 24, 2003).
Once again, this way I won’t have to repeat stuff and take up lots of unecessary space.
First of all I have a BIG correction to make. I was quizzing my doc and found out that ALL my treatments so far have been done at 30ms, not 100ms as I previously and thought (and posted). I assumed that he was using 100ms because when I talked to him on the phone the very first time (before I came in for my initial consultation), I told him I had “dark” skin and he told me for his “dark” skinned patients he usually puts the pulse width on 100ms. I guess he was thinking I was a type V or VI, but I am actually a type IV.
I looked at the fluence level on the machine and didn’t read the pulse width underneath (it was a few feet away and I don’t wear my glasses during the treatments because I had to wear the goggles to protect my eyes). I guess I just assumed. My bad . . . . . . So for the sake of completeness and accuracy: ALL OF MY TREATMENTS HAVE BEEN AT 30ms SO FAR!!! Maybe I should post replies to my old messages to make sure that people reading them don’t get misinformed!
Anyway, it had been about two months since my last treatment (a couple of days less actually, but I wanted to have a Monday appointment because it’s easier to take off work).
After my second treatment, I started realizing that the laser would not work well to reduce/remove the hair between and around my eyebrows. The tip is simply too big and the laser energy is too spread out to work this area properly. I didn’t want to mess up my eyebrows because they are a really important facial feature (not just for “looks” but also in terms of expression and stuff). My jobs requires me to be somewhat “visible” and interact with people all the time (I work in the entertainment industry). So . . . I asked the doc not to worry about that area for the remainder of the treatments. I think I will get it done later using electrolysis. I’ve been told that with eyebrows one or two hairs here or there could really make a difference when it comes to hair removal, and I don’t want to “shape” the eyebrows, I just want to clean up some of the excess hair that is around them. Maybe even leave a “little” bit of hair in between the brows so that it looks natural. Anyway, if I do end up doing that, I will post it on this board in the electrolysis section. I don’t plan on even touching that area until I’m done with laser on/around my beard, so it may be a while!
Before the third treatmeant (which was yesterday, the one that this post is about), I noticed that some of the patches that were present after the first and second treatments were STILL there, especially under the chin. I asked the doc if he could do something about them, and he said that hopefully this time the higher fluence will start knocking them out a little better. Also, the chin and upper lips areas seemed hardly affected by the laser. The lower neck area had the best results, while the cheeks were somewhere in between. There was more “minatured” hair on the cheeks than on the other parts, but interspersed with the regular “thick” facial hair.
Also, I noticed that there were two spots that the doctor had zapped twice during the second treatment that were just a few millimeters above the mustache area that were completely bald. They were only a couple of millimeters in diameter, but that does say something about zapping hairs twice. Those spots “extended” a little into the upper lip area, and those were by far the biggest spots that were gone in the upper lip. There were a few tiny spots that were bald in the chin and upper lip, they were just tiny (literally a millimeter or something). Not as good as the neck or cheeks, but that is better than nothing and it definitely shows hope, right?
I used Emla cream for this treatment just like the first and second, except this time I used two 5g tubes and what was left of one of the 5g tubes . . . I would say 12g or so, and I definitely think it helped. I used most of it on the chin and upper lip and those areas were not as bad as the first or second time in terms of the pain.
It still hurt like hell though. I think the pain was less than last time (because of the extra Emla, and maybe because there was a little bit less hair, but mostly because of the extra Emla, I think). I still had to put an ice pack (with a towel around it) on it for a few minutes and drive home with the AC on full blast. I then sat in front of a fan for about an hour or two after I got home!
Oh yeah, the doc used 30J this time, and 30ms pulse width. He went up 3J from last time. So so far, if he keeps going up 2-3J every time it will look like this:
1st Treatment (Dec 24, 2002): 23J, 30ms
2nd Treatment (Feb 24, 2003): 27J, 30ms
3rd Treatment (April 21, 2003): 30J, 30ms
4th Treatment (not done yet): 32-33J, 30ms
5th Treatment (not done yet): 34-36J 30ms
I’ve paid for the package of 5, and touchups are $50 for every 15 minutes after that . . . I’m guess a touchup will run about 30 minutes or so . . . So every touch up is $100. If I’m lucky and the hair starts to get really sparse, it may be $50 a touchup, but I don’t think that will be the case until way later (if at all).
Oh yeah, and about the chart that I made above: I also don’t think he would go up in any bigger increments, because now we’re definitely above the “threshold” that some have talked about for ‘permanent’ reduction for my skin type, while also getting into the kinds of fluences that can cause scabbing and other nasty side effects (hypo/hyper pigmentation). . .
Also the doc pointed out that my skin was a little bit lighter this time that last. I attribute this my religious use of SPF 35 sunscreen EVERY DAY. Remember I’m a type IV and I tan very easily, so I wear the sun screen EVERY DAY regardless of what the weather is outside (even if I don’t plan on going outside).
The doc said that most of the people he has treated with my “Indian” skin type usually start scabbing around 27J, and he is suprised that I haven’t seen any yet (or not any that is significant enough to take notice . . . It’s hard to tell what is “scabbing” and what is just “burnt up” hair, I’m guessing what I’ve seen so far is just burnt up hair). I’m sure this is because of the sun screen. I’m in Southern California, and the sun is relentless here. I can already see that my arms (which I don’t put sunscreen on) are a couple of shades darker than my face.
I think I’m a ligher skinned then most other “Indian” people that I know but,I think the only reason I’ve responded with so “few” side effects is because of my use of sunscreen.
The doc mentioned that my beard was VERY dense and that it had not responded as well as many of his male facial hair patients, but also that I’ve been able to tolerate the higher fluences very well for someone with type IV skin, and that we would try to “get them all” eventually.
My face is red and looks swollen. Especially because I didn’t have the top of the head (above and between the brows) done, I can see how swollen the rest of my face is . . . The contrast is not even funny. It looks like my face just got fatter or something. Almost like a pear or something . . .
I hope that the redness goes away in a day or two, but until them I’m gonna try to stay away from social events.
There is a lot of burnt up hair on my face, but I think it’s a little bit less than last time.
More of the hair (especially on the chin and upper lip) seems to have spontaneously vaporized this time. A good sign.
I’ve got this feeling that I’m going to have to have a lot of treatments before this is all over with (certainly more than 5, maybe even 10 or 15 or more).
I guess we will see. . . I will keep posting my results . . . And I’ll let you guys know in a couple of days how the side effects are affecting me . . .
I’m in this for the long haul, and I have been pleased with the results so far. . . Before LHR, I was not able to shave regularly because my ingrown hairs were pretty bad. But after the LHR treatments shaving is pretty easy compared to before (well, I mean after the approximately two week hair regrowth and shedding stages that I have to go through after each treatment).
I just hope that the 30J fluence is gonna help. I really want them all gone. ALL of them, so I NEVER have to shave my face again. That is my eventual goal.