Friday, March 3, 2006

Laser Hair Removal - First Session

Yesterday I had my first laser hair removal session. It's the first of five, so I'm not expecting a huge difference yet.

Note, even though I preface this one with "TG", remember that I'm getting it for a lot of other reasons too. To recap (from an earlier post):

I've always wanted my facial hair gone. The only thing I hate worse than shaving my face, is having a beard. And I always have 5 o'clock shadow, even immediately after I shave. And my skin is so sensitive, that I always cut myself no matter how good the razor. I've tried electric razors, but they just don't shave close enough. The point is, the appointment has nothing to do with my transgender issues. At least, that's what I keep telling myself.

So anyway, if you're wondering what laser hair removal is like, here ya go. After filling out some paperwork, they led me to a room where I had to put some numbing medicine on my face. Then they stuck some plastic wrap on my face, until it looked like I had a clear plastic beard.

After that, I sat in a room for an hour, so that the medicine would have time to completely soak in and start working. The plastic wrap was to keep the medicine from evaporating. Then they led me into the laser room, which looked like a typical doctor's examination room. The laser device itself wasn't very obtrusive, it looked like a standard piece of medical equipment. No giant laser gun like you'd see in a James Bond movie. (In case you were wondering.)

The nurse put little plastic goggles over my eyes, like you'd wear at a tanning bed. She gave me a test jolt to show me what it felt like. It wasn't bad, it was like being pricked by several pins at once. Then she started going over my face, one jolt at a time. Each jolt, she said, covered an area about the size of a dime, so it took a little while. While jolting, I was simultaneously being blasted by very cold air, which helped with the pain.

Some areas, of course, were much more sensitive than others. The worst was the moustache, particularly directly under the nose. That felt pretty much the same as using tweezers to pluck out nose hairs, and it made my eyes water. Other painful areas were the jawline, and the adam's apple. But some areas I didn't even feel at all.

Afterwards, she had me put some lotion on my face to make it feel better, and sent me on my way so I could get my next appointment scheduled. The entire visit took about two hours. I had the option of taking some of the numbing creme home with me, so I could put it on myself one hour before the next visit. But I don't feel like driving there with saran wrap on my face, so I'm going to keep waiting until I get there to put it on.

Afterwards, my face felt sore, and was a little swollen. It still feels sore when I touch it. I have some red splotches on my neck, that are gradually fading. I have a list of rules in front of me that I need to follow. For one thing, I'm not allowed to shave today.

Also, I'm supposed to avoid the sun as much as possible for the next 14 days, and really I'm not supposed to tan at all during the treatment. With five sessions, six weeks apart, we're talking about the entire summer. But I've never been much for beaches and outdoor stuff anyway.

Anyway, my next appointment is in mid-April. The bad part is that I might be taking a trip to Florida the week before. I'll have to make sure I wear strong sunblock the entire time.

Overall, I'm very glad I'm doing this instead of electrolysis. Even if it turns out not to be permanent, and some of it grows back, the eventual electrolysis should be much easier.

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