And if you don't wish to watch it, the topical anesthetic I am using is EMLA this time rather than Maxilene. Maxilene was 5% lidocaine, EMLA is 2.5% lidocaine and 2.5% prilocaine. I discovered that although EMLA is inconvenient in that you must cover the cream with an air tight bandage (ie, plastic wrap) and leave it on for 1-2 hours, the numbness lasts much longer, even increasing after you wash it off.
The treatment itself didn't hurt as much, possibly both because of the EMLA and because I have less of that really coarse dark hair on my face now. Additionally, the new laser machine they use ("Alex") does not require the tip to be pushed into the skin like the LightSheer diode laser they had eight years ago, so it can easily skim over your skin and treat a larger area with smaller pauses in between. The Alex also blows cold air during the process, which almost instantly calms the pain you feel after the laser hits.
The worst of the pain was around my chin, where the worst of the hair still lives. There, I really felt the pain surging down into each hair follicle, and smelled the burning hair, both of which are good signs, apparently. I also heard a weird popping or crackling sound at those points, which I wasn't sure was from the laser or my hair. When it was over, the technician wiped my chin and said some of the hairs had "popped" right out on the cloth, which was another sign of good results. It certainly made me feel good.
My laser technician has spent ten years in aesthetic work, including laser, once owning her own clinic, so she is pretty awesome to me. She had me out of that chair in less than half an hour. But she seemed to fixate on the irritation of my skin when I came in, like she'd never seen razor burn before, which made me wonder if I have been doing something really wrong all this time. Still, it didn't interfere with the treatment, and she just told me to apply Polysporin every night for the next little while to keep any infections at bay.
That was how the topic of redheads came up; she asked if my beard was red because she couldn't tell with all the redness from the EMLA and the razor burn. And she told me that they had found some redheaded women have less success with laser hair removal because the laser is also in the red spectrum, making it less effective against red pigments. I don't think I've ever checked to see if there is red in my beard. It was interesting, though.
The only new thing about the actual treatment process was that I had to sign a waiver acknowledging, among other things, that laser hair removal would not bring 100% results. I wish I'd had that eight years ago, so I would have had the possibility of disappointment firmly in my mind. I think they may have had some upset clients in the past?
One thing I forgot to mention in my vlog was that the technician looked me over, and said the treatment would be closer to $100 because there was more hair than the consultant had quoted. I had wondered about that--the consultant didn't look at my hair at all. So I wasn't surprised. It's not a huge price difference.
So now I've got a really red chin with singed stubble sticking out in places, and the smell of burning hair is stuck in my nose. I've engineered it so that tomorrow is a day off from work so I can give my skin a good holiday. My next appointment is in five weeks, only because we couldn't make four weeks work for our schedules. So look for the blog to update in the meantime!