I’m halfway there with my laser hair removal at Therapie Clinic, which has branches across Ireland, and I have to say I love it!
Not having to worry about shaving or waxing bikini lines and underarms is such a godsend and alleviates any drama or embarrassment – because I was one of those people who was embarrassed about body hair previously.
Having a thick head of hair like mine is amazing for hair styling and upstyles, but the downside of a thick head of hair is usually a healthy growth of hair elsewhere. Thankfully I am not the owner of a dark upper lip ‘tache, but I might have been had I not invested in the first days of IPL almost 20 years ago. Back then I started the process to have my bikini line, full leg, upper lip, underarm and chin all done. It’s a big investment so it took me a few years to do it, starting as soon as I could afford it and some of the areas treated then remain hair free (or almost hair free) and so they just need a wee topping up really.
Last year I went to Beyond Skin in Fountain Lane for a few underarm and bikini sessions and started to see some improvement on the small patches remaining from back then. In fact, having had four sessions there, my underarm hair is now completely zapped thanks to them. This year I was invited along to Therapie’s new clinic in Ann Street to have a full Hollywood laser on my bikini line – including the undercarriage, eeeks! - and I thought, ok, let’s do this! You see, I remember back in 2003 when I was writing for ACCENT magazine I did one of the first reviews of the Hollywood bikini wax in Belfast – and at the time I was shocked to learn that the biggest users of the treatment were women in their 40s and beyond, who didn’t want to see any greys down there. I hadn’t even thought about that! (40 seemed so old to me then (*eyeroll*). Reminiscing back to that time, I guessed I would take Therapie up on their offer so I got my bikini hairs zapped before they potentially turned white like those ladies’ back almost two decades ago.
I’ll not go through the process in too much detail, but instead I want to outline the benefits of the treatment and some FAQs for anyone considering. Have a read and let me know what you think – have you had it done? Did I cover all bases here?
Laser Hair Removal is a safe and effective way of removing unwanted hair, permanently. Thérapie Clinic (and Beyond Skin before them, last year) use only medical grade lasers, which are both safe and effective for long-lasting hair removal.
A course of treatments is needed as laser only works on hair that is in the growth phase of the hair cycle, known as Anagen. The other two phases of the hair cycle, called Catagen and Telogen, mean the hair is either dormant or falling out; so the laser doesn’t impact it. As all of your hair is in different phases at different times, you will need several treatments spread out over a number of weeks to ensure the laser ‘catches’ each of the hairs in their growth phase at some point.
The number of treatments is also different for everyone and it is dependent on the area being treated; how thick and dense the hair is and your skin type
Most areas of the body can be treated for unwanted hair, including underarms, Brazilian or Hollywood style, as well as the face (including the sides, brow, jawline and neck), forearms, back, stomach, nipples, hands and feet.
Laser Hair Removal is incredibly effective in terms of the longevity of the desired effect and the potential reduction of overall hair growth
THIS IS WHY IT TAKES 8-12 SESSIONS
Whenever there is hair on your body there are three phases of growth: telogen, anagen and catagen phases. Some hairs are resting, some are growing and some are falling out.
‘Depending on what cycle of growth they are in, the hair responds differently to lasers, says Dr Seukeran. ‘You could treat on set of hair and it will respond quickly because it’s in the growing or falling out phase. Others might not respond because they’re in the resting phase.’
It is because of these different stages that the treatment takes 8-12 sessions, between 6-8 weeks apart, to complete and catch 90% of hair in its active phase.
What is the difference between IPL and Laser?
Lasers are most selective and more effective at absorbing into melanin meaning fewer treatments are required. They penetrate deeper to specifically target hair structures; whereas IPLs typically do not. Lasers have more advanced cooling systems, which means your treatments are made as comfortable as possible for you.
What happens first? The Consultation
If you’re interested in laser hair removal, you should book yourself in for a free consultation in Therapie. During the consultation, they will examine the area that you wish to have lasered. You need to leave a certain amount of hair there that isn’t shaved or waxed. This is so that they can examine how light or dark your hair is. The darker the hair and the paler your skin – the better chance you have for successful long term results. The one thing to bear in mind is that there is a chance that hair removal may not be an option for you – this could be for a number of different reasons. If your hair is too fine or blonde, or you have certain underlying medical conditions. That’s the great thing about the free consultation though, they’ll be completely transparent about what will and what won’t work for you, so you can decide what you want to spend your money on. They will also do a patch test which will test how your skin reacts to the lasers – make sure to take note if anything seems out of the ordinary here.
Is it safe for your skin?
Laser is a clinically tested treatment; it’s fully FDA approved and has undergone rigorous trails to ensure patient safety and efficacy. All of the Therapie Clinic laser therapists are highly trained in performing the treatments; they take client comfort and safety very seriously and use the highest grade medical lasers. Before starting a course of treatment, they give each client a free consultation and patch test with a 3 day waiting period to ensure skin is safe and patch test is clear. If you are having treatments with them and happen to go on holiday throughout your treatment course we will ask that you will have another patch test when you return to ensure your skin is ready to resume treatment without the risk of pigmentation occurring.
Before your first laser appointment, make sure to have absolutely no natural or fake tan on your body. You will get a course of at least 6 treatments for the area, these will generally be every 6-8 weeks. After your treatment, make sure to keep your skin cool as it will be sensitive. Avoid hot showers, exercise and tight clothes. Your skin will feel irritated and sticky from the gel that is put on it during the treatment but it’s short-lived so don’t worry.
One thing you need to absolutely avoid before, during and after your treatment is waxing. Waxing pulls the hair out of the follicle, and this is what the lasers are working to break downed reduce, so waxing essentially means you will have to start over. Therapie recommend sticking with laser hair removal until you achieve the results that you are after
Does it hurt?
Therapie clinics use the latest in laser hair removal technology: Cynosure, above. Cynosure machines are FDA approved and proven to be the most advanced technology in the industry. Other laser clinics are still using outdated machines, which can be more painful and generally require more sessions to see results.
Cynosure lasers safely deliver superior results and faster treatment times, making side effects minimal, with amazing results.
Billed as a completely pain-free hair removal solution, the machine uses both a laser and a chilling effect with the idea being that you don’t even feel the heat of the laser as it does its thing. The cooler doesn’t completely mask the very slight nipping of the laser – I mean, you’re still blasting three different wavelengths of medical-grade laser at your lady bits – but your therapist can easily switch off the laser for an extra bit of cooling the second you feel any discomfort. Personally I didn’t find it that uncomfortable at all. Nippy? Yes, but bearable and not even a quarter of the pain of a wax – be that underarm, upper lip or bikini.
You can expect some slight regrowth once your sessions are finished, with most therapists recommending an annual visit to keep on top of that. (I hadn’t had to come annually at all, maybe five or more years between top ups – way more on my underarms!)
What is the aftercare like?
Your skin will be sensitive so you’re advised to refrain from hot showers/baths, steam rooms, saunas, swimming pool and exercise for 24-48hrs.
Don’t use sun beds on the area or expose the area to direct sunlight at all while having laser.
Don’t use perfumed products or thick creams for 48hrs.
Don’t wear tight clothes like skinny jeans or nylon tights (if having your legs treated) for 48hrs, as they may cause friction and aggravate recently treated skin.
All of the above may cause skin to become irritated in the treated area, it is important that you follow these guidelines to ensure your skin safety. Your therapist will give you further details.
How long can you leave in between sessions?
It’s best to leave anywhere from 6-7 weeks per session. It is recommended that you make sure that your six sessions are done within the timeframe that Therapie recommend, this is the best way to ensure you get the best possible results within your hair regrowth cycle.
How much does it cost?
My treatment was gifted for review, but the clinic website has a menu of costs and there are always deals on at Therapie. You can even phone and ask what deals there are and they will honour them over the phone!
and shaving in between. After each treatment, the hair growth will decrease by about 30%, so this really is a dramatic decrease in my opinion and in my experience.
Top Ups – I have gotten a handful of top ups for my bikini and lip. As these are hormonal areas, it comes with the territory unfortunately. Please note oral contraceptives can affect hair growth even with laser in these areas, so ask the experts when you are in. Also, sometimes if you are on certain medications, this can have an effect on hair growth too.