We are currently in the midst of winter, and you know what that means?
It's time to start getting those bikini bodies ready for next summer season!
Over the past few years, I feel that women have this ever lasting pressure to remain hairless, everywhere, at all times, under all circumstances; it is as if body hair in women has become synonymous with poor hygiene and carelessness. And of course, the fact that the media is constantly bombarding us with pictures of hairless legs, smoothed armpits, and ‘perfectly’ photoshopped bikini lines.
These days, I feel that there are hundreds of different hair removal techniques but women don't seem to be all that happy with most of them. If you're reading this, I'm sure you've been there. You know, waxing, perhaps the most common form, can be painful and irritating to the skin, plus the fact that you do need to grow out that hair for a few days/weeks before doing it all over again. I myself had been using razors probably since I was 11 as I didn't really feel comfortable with other techniques. Still, whenever I'd wear a swimsuit, a summer dress and pretty much anything that would reveal my legs, no matter how careful I was in the shower when shaving, I'd get questions like "why are you bleeding" or "did you cut yourself?...is that a rash?". I knew I could not carry on with this issue forever and just could not wait to get started on my permanent hair removal treatment.
First of all, before I get into details regarding what the IPL laser hair removal treatment consists of, do note that the whole process will take at least three months and up to a year until you are completely hair free! Do note that once you stop going, hair might continue to grow out, but much thinner and spread out than it originally was. So, it might be a good idea to carry on with a few sessions before each summer, or any occasion when you plan to go bare legged. Secondly, during such process, as the hair won't be gone yet, you must abandon any other hair removal method you used other than shaving. This is because other treatments such as waxing will manipulate your follicles and tamper with the treatment.
So what is IPL Laser Hair Removal?
IPL stands for Ultra Pulsed Light. IPL transforms light into heat which is then directly applied into your body hair with the purpose of removing cells responsible for hair growth, and after a few sessions, these will not grow back ever. Each session takes about 20-30 minutes, depending on how many areas of your body you are working on. As early as your first session, you will start seeing how your body hair start growing thinner and at a slower rate.
The way sessions work is that you would ideally be able to go in for one session every three weeks (do notify them in advance if you are going on holiday). There are many factors that determine how many sessions you'll need in total, including how dark and thick your hair is, growth pace, age, skin sensitivity and more. Your cosmetologist should be able to advice what's best for you.
Determining what area or "body zones" to work on
For me this was pretty straight forward as I already really knew for a long time where I needed work done. I started out with both my upper and lower legs, under arms, and upper lip section. But you can work on any, but I mean any! area of your body that you wish to keep hair free.
It is vital that you tell your cosmetologist about any type of medication that you are taking as they could interfere with your treatment. For instance, my treatment was going well for a few weeks, but then I started taking collagen supplements. I then noticed how my treatment looked like it was reversed, as my hair was coming back in so much quicker. It turns out that collagen was really promoting hair growth, so I had to lower my dose.
So, do be mindful of little things like these if you plan to undergo the treatment.
Reference this graph for an idea on all the body areas you can have work on.
Taking care of your skin during treatment
Since laser is being applied directly onto your skin, this can make it incredibly dry. Normally when you purchase a plan or a package to get IPL treatment, it will most likely come with some form of skin care product for you to apply. In order to prevent my skin from becoming too dehydrated, I would apply body moisturizer, interchangeably with some coconut oil both in the morning and at night. The two products that I found worked best were Clinique Deep Comfort Body Lotion and Garnier Intensive Aloe Vera Body Lotion. Aside from this, I was always aware of drinking plenty of water, keeping the treated parts away from the sun, and wearing sunscreen if any areas where exposed.
I am beyond happy I decided to do IPL treatment, the process was incredible and I could really notice a change after each session. My body hair was growing out so thin and light after just about four sessions, I didn't even feel the need to be constantly shaving. My skin started feeling so smooth after a few weeks, due to the lotions and the fact that it wasn't being cut and irritated by razors or waxing anymore. It might not be the best option for everyone, which is why I recommend you have a consultation beforehand to know what will work best. I would personally recommend this treatment to anyone wanting to say goodbye to razors, waxing and any other expensive and damaging hair removal techniques for good.