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Hair Removal Techniques

Permanent Hair Removal by Laser Hair Removal

A lot of transexuals I've heard chatting seem to think that laser hair removal is the miracle treatment. Just fork out a few hundred pounds, go to a clinic and hey presto - instant silky smooth you! As one of the newer technologies of permanent hair removal there is a lot of marketing hype surrounding it and a lot of myth. Shall we look at the facts of laser hair removal?

The process by which laser hair removal is given is simple. A type of gun delivers a specific wavelength of light onto the skin which targets dark material. This is meant to be the pigmentation of the hair. It then follows the hair to cause thermal damage to it's root.

Much of the controversy surrounding Laser Hair Removal stems from the US litigation that has surrounded it. Whilst this type of hair removal technique meant that much larger areas of hair could be treated in one sitting that could be achieved with electrolysis, only certain hair types can be treated successfully. The best is dark hair on a fair skinned person. Grey hair cannot be treated, and blonde and red is very difficult. If you have a tan or have naturally darker skin, don't go any nearer a laser clinic than you would a meeting of the Klu Klux Klan coz these guys are going to fry you! Let me explain.

One of my dear friends is a Jamaican girl from New York, Sam, we lived together for several years while she studied law. Later, she was hired to defend the laser manufacturers when coloured people tried suing them after receiving permanent scarring. Whether this was from poor use of the technology or the technology itself, I don't know, but I do know that in 1998 the US FDA granted the laser manufacturers permission to claim, 'permanent reduction' from their products. Note that 'permanent hair reduction' is not the same as 'permanent removal', a term for which they are not currently allowed to use as an accurate description of laser hair removal in the USA.

There are reasons for this. Not everyone, including good candidates, responds to treatment and of those who do some suffer regrowth even though this can be of softer smaller hair. I've had emails from a transexual in the USA who spent over $4000 on laser hair removal only to see her hair start to grow back to which the clinic she attended claimed she was "hormonally imbalanced" and that was why. Sounds hard to beleive to me. Those of African and Asian origin in particular are prone to skin damage because of the colour of their skin (remember I said the light goes dark material?).

I myself had laser treatment at a clinic in Milton Keynes, UK. I was advised that I needed to sign a disclaimer before getting a test patch done and that if I was to proceed thereafter, it was a good idea to get fully tanked up on the strongest painkillers I could find before each appointment. You want to know what happened?

Three days later and no exaggeration, I looked like a radiation burns victim with a very big, swolen lump on my throat where the test patch was made. I was beginning to get really frightened as to whether this was going to scar permanently.

It was at that point I spoke to my lawyer friend! I didn't know Sam was working on the case in the States at that time but she soon filled me in on the cases against the manufacturers and told me that most clinics offering it don't even have doctors administering it - it's simply some young estetician who's taken a short course. That was all backed up by my personal experience (she wasn't a doctor and was about 25 oldest) and I never went back after that test patch for fear that they'd turn me into some permanently disfigured elephant man.

That's just my experience. I don't expect it to be true for everyone, but what else can I speak from other than what I've experienced?

Equally I have to say that I'm yet to meet a hairless transexual who has attributed their smooth birthday suit to laser hair removal. If you are someone who has successfully used laser hair removal, please do email me with your views as I am happy to present a balanced opinion.

The bottom line is there aren't any studies yet showing how effective laser hair removal actually is at achieving permanent hair removal (as opposed to reduction) and it only seems to work for some people anyway. If you just wanted hair reduction, a much cheaper alternative would be waxing. The treatment can be painful (much more so than either electrolysis or Intense Pulsed Light hair removal in my experience), you need to wear protective goggles, and improper treatment can cause burns, lesions, skin discoloration lasting for up to several months and patchy or patterned regrowth. It also tends to cost a lot which is going to be about as pleasant as a poke in the eye with a sharp stick if it does nothing for you or worse causes issues.

The miracle cure for the transexual wanting to shed her fur quickly? Be very wary of spurious claims like guaranteed hair removal, or 0% regrowth. Take your chances if you will, but my advice would be to try Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) hair removal if you are in a rush or stick to electrolysis.

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