13 October 2005

Sick of shaving, plucking and waxing? Why not get your unwanted body hair lasered off? We sent Sarah Feenley to have it done. Here she reveals her experience....

Evening Post'Wave Goodbye To Hair'

Lying on a bed naked from the waist down, with a Post It note stuck to my thigh and someone pointing a camera at my nether regions, I felt more like a cyanosed corpse at a crime scene than the latest glam girl-about-town to visit a plastic surgery clinic in her lunch hour. "This photo won't end up on the internet will it?" I asked nurse Claudine Bamford at The Harley Medical Group's Whiteladies Road clinic - only half-joking. The thought of having a laser fired at your lady-bits is pretty daunting, especially remembering seeing a laser beam edging towards a captured 007, effortlessly slicing through the metal table to which he's tied, with a Bond baddie gleefully looking on and sombre "impending doom" background music. But honestly, the worst part of the laser hair removal is having your "before" photograph taken. Whatever your sex and whatever body parts you do or don't keep hair-free, just stop and think how much you've spent on razors shaving oil or foam and post shave soother or waxing sessions since puberty? Go on, tot it up. Just calculating how much you spend in a year will shock you. How many women have bought themselves one of those plug-in gadgets which claim to painlessly remove unwanted body hair, only to use it once for five excruciating seconds before wimping out and chucking it into the bottom drawer, never to get it out again? At least we women don't have to shave every day. Men have every right to whinge about daily razor-rash and shaving cuts. But what if you could get rid of your unwanted facial and body hair forever? The Harley Medical Group's glossy brochure says laser hair removal is the only medically-proven treatment for the removal of unwanted facial and body hair gently, quickly, and effectively with long lasting results. It explains: "Lasers produce a high-intensity ray of pure light which gives of heat energy. This energy is absorbed by different body tissues, depending on the colour of the laser beam. That's why laser light can pass safely through the ski and destroy targeted cells under the surface without harming surrounding areas. The heat energy damages the cells at the root of the hair, thus preventing further growth. You need a course of treatments to stop the hair growing back, and how many treatments depends on the area being treated. Pale skin and dark hair offer the best conditions for laser hair removal, says Claudine. It doesn't work well on tanned or dark skin. Traditionally, laser hair removal didn't work on blonde, grey or white hair, but the Harley Medical Group says it now exclusively offers a technique which enables people with these hair types to have it done. The hair you want removed must be shaved and then a nurse grabs two pairs of goggles - one for you, one for her - to protect your eyes from the laser. This does absolutely nothing to allay and fears you might have about a laser being aimed at your skin. The laser itself comes out of a pen-like implement which is attached to a whirring machine. The nurse, goggles on, touches this tool at every point in turn where the shaved hair breaks your skin. Now, I'm not going to tell you that you don't feel a thing. You do. But it's absolutely nothing compared to waxing. As each individual hair is zapped it feels like a hot rubber band twanging against your skin. It smarts a bit, but it doesn't hurt, it's not painful. The time each session takes depends on which body part you're having treated. You can hear a sizzling noise as each hair snaps, and the smell will take you right back to second year science class when a girl singed her long plaits with a Bunsen burner. If you're having your bikini line lasered don't worry, your dignity will remain intact. You keep your knickers on and simply pull them aside as needed. Curiously, I was told I had to wear white knickers, not black. Something to do with making sure the laser doesn't carry on cooking. Shudder. After the last hair has been zapped, cooling ice packs are put on your skin and then aloe vera gel is smeared on. For a good few hours later the area you've had lasered is red and maddeningly itchy, but keep applying aloe vera gel (which you should keep in the fridge to make it extra cooling). Initially it looks like the lasering hasn't worked because you can see little black dots that look like hairs which are still attached. But I was warned about this, and it you exfoliate this area the black dots eventually fall out to reveal smooth hair-free skin. After every lasering session (leaving a gap of eight weeks between treatments) the skin stays hair-free for longer, and the hair that does grow back is downy and soft. After your last session, the hair shouldn't grow back at all. I must say, it certainly does work. Imagine never having to shave your legs or your underarms again - brilliant! And if you're a bloke, imagine never having to shave your face again. Or getting rid of your Teenwolf-style hairy back forever. It works even skin, like mine, and it's not cheap, but then neither is a lifetime of waxing sessions and razors. If you can afford it it's well worth it. A Harley Medical Group spokesman said: "Excessive or unsightly body hair can be upsetting. Traditionally, there have been a variety of methods on offer to help remove unwanted hair such as waxing, shaving and electrolysis, but none of these are permanent and they require frequent treatments. "The Harley Medical Group is recognised as the leader in its practice, with more than 50,000 treatments to date, and our consultant dermatologist is recognised internationally for his expertise in all medical features of laser hair removal. "We have been instrumental in the research and development of different lasers for different hair and skin types and colour. Almost all parts of the body can be treated. "The most common areas in women are the face, neck, bikini line, underarms, nipples, tummy line, arms and legs." To give you an example of the price, if a woman wants to have laser hair removal on her underarms at The Harley Medical Group they recommend six treatments which, if brought together, cost 350, which is a 20 per cent discount. All the nurses are specially trained in laser hair removal.Read more about laser hair removal treatment and our non surgical guide.Contact us today to book your free laser hair removal consultation with one of our highly qualified Nurses.