Frickin’ laser beams!

… as Doctor Evil once said. Sooooo, after a long time of dilly-dallying (what a great phrase), I’ve decided to have laser treatment to zap my beard.

frickin-laser-beamsThis was quite a difficult decision to make – I quite like my face when it has stubble and I’ve grown a full beard quite a few times over the past 20 years or so.

I only shave my face every ten days or couple of weeks. This means that, more often than not, I have stubble. And it really suits me.

But, as Operation Butterfly progresses, I have made the difficult decision to begin laser treatment, which means bye-bye beard, so long stubble and hello to silky smooth skin.

I’ve considered it many times over the years but always thought it would be too expensive – plus I was nervous about people noticing.

But now it’s time for change. Perhaps the straw that broke the camel’s back was when I dressed as Dorothy on New Year’s Eve (see earlier blog post). Although Georgie had done a cracking job on my makeup, my lips looked painfully thin.

I was thinking of laser at that point anyway and, as I did the research, I found that zapping the hair follicles above and below the lips actually pulls the skin there back, meaning the lips are more pronounced. Only a fraction, but every little helps.

I also love the idea of having a more feminine, androgynous face. HRT will change the shape a little and the laser will zap the hairs. Win-win.

Initially, I was looking at electrolysis. According to my Google research, this is the only permanent hair removal treatment.

So I emailed a few salons in the area and waited for their replies. Only one wrote back – Centros Unico, in Derby – and that was to say it didn’t offer electrolysis but did offer laser.

I was initially sceptical and wrote back saying that I only wanted electrolysis as it was permanent. However, they tried to convince me that their laser was the bees’ knees, was indeed permanent and offered me a free consultation. I went along the next day.

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Emma, image courtesy of the clinic’s Pinterest page

The consultation went well. I met a therapist called Emma and she seemed warm, friendly and professional. She explained the process, the costs, everything. She also seemed totally cool when I mentioned I was transgender.

After a chat, she offered me a patch test, which cost about £30, including a special moisturiser and goggles to use for future appointments. I initially turned it down as I wasn’t sure I was going to have the treatment – Georgie wasn’t crazy about the idea, to say the least, and I was still nervous.

Also, Emma said it might be best to wait until I started HRT as the shift in hormones might cause new hairs to grow, so I agreed to go away and do some more research. I put the question on the Susan’s Place forums and everyone there said it was best to start now as the process takes so long – months and months.

I also had concerns about patchiness between sessions. Not all the hair is zapped straightaway. It disappears little by little and I was told I’d need at least 15 sessions. I’d seen one or two scary photos online, including the one below. I don’t like the chessboard look!

After getting Georgie’s approval by text message – “it’s only a patch test, you don’t have to go through with it, we still need to talk about it” – I arranged to have the test done that evening.

I met Emma once again and she showed me into a little room, where there was a couch, a laser machine and a unit of drawers. She reassured me that the patchiness wouldn’t be too noticeable provided I shaved regularly. Marvellous, eh? I start laser treatment and will have to shave every day!

I sat on the couch and Emma warmed up the laser machine and donned a pair of gloves. The head of the laser is a tiny square – less than a centimetre square. I’ve had IPL before and the head of those machines is far larger – although IPL didn’t cut the mustard for me, and I’m still shaving my underarms as I was before. Good old Groupon.

Emma gave me a few zaps on the low setting – only on my skin, not the hairs – and I could feel nothing, apart from the cold of the laser head. Same on the medium setting and only a very faint sensation on the high. So she zapped a few hairs – and this I could feel.

It wasn’t too painful – it just felt like a tiny rubber band being pinged at my face. The three hairs she zapped melted into oblivion. I left the salon convinced that this was something I really wanted to do – I hadn’t been 100% sure before – but I still needed to talk to Georgie.

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Internet caption of patchiness between treatments. Thankfully, I’m in safer hands than Chessboard Guy

I drove home and there she was. She’d made the most amazing brisket dinner and she was in a really good and happy mood. So I told her all about the clinic and what happened, what I wanted to do, the cost, etc, etc.

I also told her that some men don’t have five o’clock shadow anyway, which is true. Two chaps I sit opposite at work have nothing at all in the stubble stakes, and they’re both middle-aged. Who knows, maybe they’ve had laser!

She gave me her blessing and said that she’d been more upset when I initially mentioned I’d like laser because I’d kept it from her for a while. I guess a lesson learnt there then. The only reason I did this, though, is because I thought she’d hate the idea. She seemed more against this than growing boobs and hips!

Anyway, my first session is booked for Friday morning – just over 24 hours from now. I shall miss my stubble, but I can’t wait to have smooth skin on my face again. I shall let you know how it goes. Wish me luck!

Andie x

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