Ouch! A Tale of Laser Hair Removal

 

This post was actually publshed here on G&G back in 2008 when I had a total of 14 readers. It’s really kind of funny, so thought I’d dust it off and share it with you. πŸ˜‰

Alice Cooper had it right: Only women bleed.

And voluntarily sign up, no not sign up…PAY…to have their privates practically electrocuted via laser.

So here we go. A tale about my first experience with laser hair removal.

Being a Greek, as many Greek women will tell you, is lovely. The long dark mane, the thick black eyelashesβ€”all good ’cause we still look pretty much like ourselves sans makeup. The downside of that is that most Greeks are also hairy little buggers. Consequently, at least for this Greek girl, the battle of the hair has been a struggle no less epic and absolutely longer than that of the Trojan War. Re-read that: Even the Trojan War only lasted ten years. I’m going on, oh, say, my 25th year in battle. Sheesh.

So lucky for me, in 25 years’ time, technology has come a long way, and there are now more options than ever to truly denude yourself (and I’ve tried almost every one):

  • Shaving. Check. Check. Check. Check.
  • Depilatories. Check.
  • Waxing. Check. Check.
  • Electrolysis. Check.
  • Threading. Dude, it would take a whole spool of thread to do the job right. I don’t think so.
  • Laser: Ch-ch-ch-ch-e-ck.

Now given that I’ve had electrified needles stuck in me and hair ripped out of my body in large patches, I am well-acquainted with the pain associated with hair removal. And I’ve discovered I have a pretty high tolerance for it, as well as the ability to completely compartmentalize the fact that my aesthetician is only a piece of paper away from being my gynecologist. So I thought the “rubber-band-popping” pain of laser hair removal would be a piece of cake. I should’ve known better when they offered me the option to purchase prescription-grade numbing cream. Hindsight.

via Google images
via Google images

Regardless, I decide it is finally time to do the laser treatment. In preparation for my first session, I have been instructed to first cleanly shave all the areas I want treated, then apply said numbing cream 30 to 45 minutes prior to my session. Which I do.

Shaved, slathered, and psyched, I roll into the facility and sign in. They call me back and I’m instructed to just 86 the panties altogether since I’m signed up for underarms and a Brazilian. OK. Done.

Next, I lay down on the table, my nurse practitioner, Nurse J, hands me some laser sunnies, tells me she’s going to start with the underarms first, and proceeds to spread this clear gel on my right armpit.

“Are you ready?” she asks.

“I’m ready.”

“OK. Here we go.”

She begins running the laser along the outer edge of my right armpit. I hear crackling sounds, almost like a bug zapper on a hot summer’s night. That’s the sound of my sub-dermal hair being fried. There’s a little pain, but I think, that’s not so bad.

As she moves the laser more toward the center of my underarm, Nurse J says, “Usually it’s the middle that hurts a little more,” at the same time I start to feel a searing heat that makes me realize my thoughts of this being manageable pain were waaaay premature. As Nurse J continues lasering my right armpit I start to sweat. I start thinking, I paid big money for this torture! Am I mad?

I apologize for being a baby even though I’ve only let out the occasional semi-squeal. Nurse J tells me I’m doing great, that some people can’t sit still, some literally scream, and a couple have gotten up and cancelled their contracts. Oy vey.

I’ve realized by now that the numbing cream, their over-the-counter version, is not helping much. But fortunately for me, Nurse J is expeditious and soon the pit pain is over and she’s ready to move to the bikini.

Gulp.

Nurse J moves south, and preps me for lasering. Of course, when I relay this story to my favorite Aussie later, in typical boy fashion, he finds it a bit erotic, and I quickly set him straight. Because as soon as Nurse J begins running that laser across my…

JESUS.

MARY.

AND JOSEPH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

In the name of all that is holy, I know I’m a sinner, but can someone please rescue me from this pain? Oh HELL! I think, what have I gotten myself into?

I’ve never had a tattoo, but I think this must be what it feels like. My favorite Aussie says getting a tattoo is like having a hot razor blade sunk into your skin. Hmmm. OK, that might be a pretty accurate description for this as well. ‘Cause I’m feeling like someone has hooked electrodes to the vicinity of my privates and thrown the switch. Snap, crackle, pop! It’s like an electric chair for pubic hair. No, really. Complete with the stench. (You know when you accidentally juice the gas grill up too much, then light it and it ignites wooof in a big ball, and your eyelashes singe off? Yeah, that smell.)

People, I. Am. DYING!

Nurse J is sympathetic. “I’ll take little breaks,” she says. Please, can you?

Oh, what fun I had. And it only got better when I was told to flip over so she could…well, ladies, you know what a Brazilian entails.

After it was all said and done, as I slathered on a cooling menthol-infused lotion, I thought, How lovely for me. Only six more sessions!

Nurse J escorted me to the front desk so I could schedule my next appointment. I thanked her for being so fast and professional, then turned to the girl behind the desk:

“Can I go ahead and schedule my next session?” I ask.

“Sure. Let’s see, that means April.”

“Great,” I say. “Um, and can I get some of that prescription-strength numbing cream?”

 

PS: It worked.

Have you had laser hair removal? Did it hurt like hell for you too?

32 comments

  1. I know this pain. Back when I could still afford the round trip to Indianapolis via Greyhound and obtain laser hair removal, the pain was brutal. It was as if someone had multiplied the power of static electricity by a factor of 1000, concentrated it in one spot, then multiplied the power again. By 1000.

    And it was just one spot; I still had my entire face and the front of my neck to suffer through.

    Oh, and no prescription gels or creams; practitioner didn’t believe in them due to the potential “consequences” if used improperly.

    And I still need to finish this… then go on to have my chest, arms, hands, back of neck, and parts of my back treated as well.

    Not sure about anything else, though.

    1. OMG. Ouch, ouch, ouch, and ouch! I feel for you, babe, I really do.

      As you know, it DOES work. But why does it have to hurt so much?!

  2. Oh my God! I have been tempted to try laser hair removal – after reading this, I am not so sure now!! I got laser done on my skin a few times for scarring. Reading this post has brought up all kinds of memories – at one stage I had a little cry during a session! At least you stayed strong!

    Absolutely hilarious story to read though – good job for re-posting it! πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks, Sarah! I’ve actually read that some people haven’t had as much pain. I think they dial the electricity down, so it hurts less but takes more sessions. But I haven’t been brave enough to test that theory!

  3. Thank you for resharing this post, I’ve been a reader for a long time but I’ve never read this post and you killed me…. I don’t think I’ll ever try a laser treatment so thank you for sharing and warning the rest of us!

    My sister is an easthetician and when she was in school she would use my other sister and I as test subjects, oh the fun that that entailed….

    1. Thanks, Bri! As I said, it’s from waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back in the day.

      And the sister aesthetician…I can only imagine…

  4. You are brave.
    Braver than I, that’s for sure!
    And I thought waxing was hell. And I had a bad Groupon wax experience once (oh, never again!) So bad that people in the waiting area of the salon heard me yelping and whimpering. No pun intended, though I probably should save other people the experience by posting a review!

    But, very funny, V. And I’m with you on the threading bit too! x

    1. Hey Di, thanks babe!

      Yeah, I’ve had a bad waxing experience too. The wax I had recently was last year at the European Waxing Center chain here in the U.S. But man, novice aestheticians can really do a number on you, can’t they?

  5. I’ve had laser treatment for some acne scars I had and it really hurt for a while. I’ve not tried it for hair removal though. If it’s anything like I went through before you need to have some really cool moisturizer at hand to soothe any pain away.

    Thanks for posting this article though. V good πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Jill! Thanks for your comment.

      Oh, lasers. So very, very effective, yet so excruciating! I would love some laser work on the face, but I am seriously TERRIFIED. I hope your treatment was worth it. Usually is. And yes…cool, soothing something after laser treatments is a must!

  6. Hahaha you made it sound funny although I am sure it was not, at that time.
    I also wanna have this procedure but keep postponing it, out of fear mostly. I’m just not man enough for this :))

  7. I’m shocked that it was so painful for you! I’ve been lasering my body hair since about February (Indian girls are hairy too!) and they’ve been using something called a pain-free laser which really is pain free. It’s a little uncomfortable, but not painful at all. And it really does work – in 4-5 sessions I’m almost totally hairless!

    1. Oh, AWESOME, Leia! Glad it is working AND pain-free. I’m going to find that pain-free laser over here one day, I swear. I have some spots I still want to finish up!

  8. I know this particular experience happened to you years ago, but I feel like the universe was trying to tell me something today! lol At the exact moment my finger was hovering over the “purchase” button for a laser hair removal Groupon, this popped up on my feed! Such a funny read and SO honest, thank you!

    Needless to say, I’m still buying the Groupon (these hairs have got to go, and I did always learn the hard way lol) but it’s great to know what I’m getting myself into!

    1. Rochelle, don’t be deterred. Just get drunk before your session! Kidding! Well, kind of not.

      But anyway, despite the whinge, it was worth it. It really does work. Just get the numbing cream and ask them to turn down the strength of the laser if it really hurts. I bought a package when I went too, and I think to ensure you really are hair-free in five sessions, or whatever some may claim, I think the dial the voltage right up. I’d rather have more sessions and pay than go through that again!

      Let me know how it goes…I’m curious! Good luck!

  9. Rofl!!!
    Each and every part of this article resonates 100% – but you left out the part which I’m now experiencing.
    Yes it hurts like no other experience (expect maybe child birth…..) but the results are so so so so good that you become – gulp – ADDICTED!
    My initial experience of laser hair removal started because I suffered from PCOS. I got the PCOS under control years ago, but it started my laser addiction. Upper lip, chin, bikini line, legs, arms, armpits – in fact all of my body apart from my head and eyes!

    1. Yes, Sita, you are right. It DOES work, and seriously, I want to go back for more. I used to get the worst bikini rash and the only thing that stopped that was the lasering. One day, I’m going back. But I’m scheduling my appointment for late in the day so I can slam a couple vodka shots first!

  10. The only thing I can relate to this is the one time I waxed my chest when I was like 20, that shit was painful! I had to get drunk to do it, which probably wasn’t the best idea. I can’t begin to fathom the pain you’d be in if you had your hair, down there, lasered, ouch!

    1. “The only thing I can relate to this is the one time I waxed my chest when I was like 20, that shit was painful!”

      I love when men do this, just once, so they can truly grasp what it requires for some women (most, really) to be THAT hair free, smooth, and silky! Chest, back, legs, underarms…I swear it doesn’t matter where it is it ALL hurts. Waxing around the knees is an interesting pain in itself!

      Hope you’re well, Arash!

  11. Well, I guess I’m weird, because when I had it done, it really didn’t hurt at all. I have a tattoo, and that didn’t hurt either.

  12. I’ve had laser done and it didn’t hurt so bad. I was told that if you use numbing cream they turn up the laser to a higher setting because the higher the better. So then with cream it probably feels the same way. I feel like mine hurt worse the day I had my consultation and they did a little spot than the day they did my bikini + underarms.

  13. i need to laser my lower back, butt cheeks, butt crack, tummy, and chin….i’m a hirsute female and it’s getting worse as i age. anyone experience NON successful results or grow back after spending $2k???

  14. Your story brought back memories of my first laser hair removal experience at a derma office. Not only did I hear zaps, but occassionally hairs even shot out – it was a riot!

  15. I remember reading that post a year ago (!) and I was like “hmmm I don’t thing I could handle it”. Fast forward to January 2014 and I decide to get laser treatment starting with my chin and full bikini and then decided to do my armpits and upper lip as well. Bikini wasn’t that horrendous and I don’t even use a numbing cream, armpits on the other hand were worse, but still I think I’ll make it through for the next 7 sessions!

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