Monday, 8 June 2015

IPL Laser with Bellissima Exclusive | Treatment 1

(Photo credit: Bellissima Exclusive)
As promised in my previous Hair Removal post I've decided to document my experience with IPL Laser Treatment* at the lovely Bellissima Exclusive salon in Guiseley. If you've checked out my other post then you'll already be aware of my struggle with hair removal.  I'm a fair skinned girl with dark, stubborn hair and rather sensitive skin and after trying every other hair removal technique out there I've been wanting to try Laser for years. After spending a wonderful evening with Bellissima  Exclusive at their relaunch I was kindly offered a free treatment course of my choice and I knew instantly what I would choose! Removing the hair on my legs is such a chore and a huge worry for me during Summer and I'm so excited to share my results with you all over the next couple of months!

The Salon
Aside from the fact that Bellissima Exclusive has just had an amazing make-over and is currently looking rather fabulous one of the most impressive things about the salon is actually the staff themselves. I've visited so many salons in the past where I wasn't made to feel welcome and an awkward, uncomfortable feeling often prevented me from telling beauticians if something was too painful or if I was unhappy with the final result of the treatment. At Bellissima, however, I don't think I've ever instantly felt so comfortable (which is saying a lot as I'm quite a shy girl!) and I was greeted as I walked through the door with huge smiles, offered refreshments and one of the most charming little details was that everyone greeted me by my name. The lovely Emily carried out my laser treatment and helped calm my nerves. I felt so comfortable at times I forgot she was even zapping my legs with a laser and we ended up having a nice girly chat in the process!
The Patch Test
Before receiving laser treatment a patch test and a medical consultation with a skin specialist are required to check if you are eligible for the treatment. The consultation is pretty straightforward and I just had to answer a series of questions on my health, provide details about any medication I was using at the time and I was made aware of the risks of laser treatment. Certain medications such as beta blockers, some antibiotics, Retin A and photosensitising medication can prevent you from having the treatment. After the medical consultation a patch test is carried out to ensure you will not have any adverse reactions to the treatment. For the legs, a much smaller laser is used than in the actual treatment and I had three small patches treated with laser along one of my legs. Thankfully, my skin was absolutely fine and I was able to carry on with my treatment a week later. 

The First Treatment
Funnily enough, unlike any other hair removal technique, IPL Laser required me to shave my legs before my first treatment. Shaving is required as it allows the laser to be able to travel easily to the root of the hair and effectively destroy the follicle. It is important that you don't wax or tweeze any of the hair as the laser needs a hair to be present in the root to be effective. IPL Laser works by absorbing the melanin (the pigment/colour) in the hair follicle. The light energy heats this pigment up and destroys the hair follicle without damaging the surrounding cells - pretty clever huh!

As I sat down on the bed Emily and I both had to put on our protective glasses and then she applied a cooling, jelly-like gel to my legs to absorb some of the heat. The laser is then applied over this gel and when applied there is a flash of light and some heat. Describing the treatment isn't anywhere near as effective as being able to watch a demonstration so, if you'd like to see the salon carrying out IPL Laser treatment you can jump to 1:07 on Bellissima Exclusive's Welcome Video to see the treatment being carried out in the very same way (and in the same room!) as my own treatment.

The feeling of laser is quite difficult to describe but I've often heard people say it is like being hit with a rubber band. The sensation is like a hot, stinging feeling but the pain ends abruptly when the laser is removed. The areas closest to the bone, such as the ankles and along the front of the leg, were the most painful but in the other areas the pain wasn't bad at all. In fact, I couldn't really feel any pain at all on the back of my legs! I wouldn't say it was more painful than using an epilator on the legs for the first time and apparently, like epilating, the process becomes less painful the more treatments you have as less hair will be present. In fact, I think I find laser a lot less painful overall than using an epilator and it's a much more pleasant experience.

I actually asked Emily which areas were the most painful to get IPL Laser Treatment and she said that the legs were probably the worst area as the bones are less padded with fat/muscle. If she's correct I can honestly say that the pain is nothing to worry about and it shouldn't ever deter somebody from getting Laser hair removal!

After my first treatment my legs were a bit red and the redness was mostly in the areas that I found the most painful. The follicles felt a little bit bumpy but this disappeared after an hour or two and the redness had subsided by the following morning. I was advised to avoid any heat (exercise, hot baths/showers), sun and heavily perfumed lotions for at least 24 hours. I had no pain or difficulty walking and I headed back to Leeds straight after and wandered around the shops happily for the rest of the day.

Results after 1st Treatment 
Usually 6-12 treatments are required for the treatment to be completely effective and the length of sessions required can vary depending on skin tone and how dark your hair is. I had my first treatment on the 23rd of May and my hair is definitely still growing back but there are particular areas that have less hair and small patches that have no regrowth. Each time I shave and/or exfoliate I have been noticing recently a couple of hairs falling out from the root which indicates that the laser has been successful! So far, this is mostly on the back of my legs and in a couple of places on the front and the side that faces outwards. The most stubborn areas seem to be near the ankles and the inner sides of my legs.

Typically, 4-6 weeks are left between each treatment but as I'm going on holiday on Saturday I've had to delay my next treatment until the 25th July. Skin that has been exposed to a lot of UV rays, whether it's from the sun or a sun bed, cannot be treated for 4-6 weeks as it stimulates the production of the melanin in your skin and there is a higher risk of depigmentation. I'll be applying a lot of sun cream but to be on the safe side I've had to delay my second treatment for a while!

If you're interested in IPL Laser Treatment make sure you check out Bellissima Exclusive and their page on IPL Laser

If you have any questions feel free to drop me a comment below!

* Bellissima Exclusive have been kind enough to provide me with free IPL Laser Treatment but all opinions are 100% genuine!  

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