Laser hair removal at Laser Clinics New Zealand. Image supplied.
Hair removal, such as shaving has been a common practice among society since the Stone Ages. Ancient drawings found on stone walls depict cavemen with and without beards and although our prehistoric friends didn’t have the luxury of the handheld shavers we know nowadays, things like shark’s teeth, clam shells, porcupine quills and flint knives were all said to be tools used for hair removal. Think Fred Flintstone and his clamshell razor with the buzzing bee inside – innovation at its finest.
Shaving techniques have progressed over time to become the handheld razor we know now, which is much easier and safer to use than our predecessor’s inventions, but as time as passed humankind has discovered better ways to remove unwanted hair. We now have waxing, plucking, threading, depilatory creams, sugaring (which is a different kind of wax) or medications to take orally and although shaving is still a very popular form of hair removal, it is certainly not great for your skin.
When you shave you are cutting off the tip of the hair shaft that pokes out of the skin instead of pulling the hair out from the root, because of this, when the hair grows back it grows blunt and not tapered like it’s supposed to. Which can not only make the hair appear thicker but can cause in-grown hairs, razor bumps and burns on the surface of the skin which is very uncomfortable and doesn’t look so great. The other risks of shaving are the obvious nicks and cuts you can acquire and I’m sure we’ve all had an experience with slicing off a chunk of skin, ankle and shin bones seem to be the worst, am I right? So, with all of that being said, shaving does seem a little redundant.
Thankfully for us, modern technology has progressed enough to bring us permanent hair removal options such as laser and IPL, but with all of the options on the market and an eye-watering amount of information on the internet, it can be difficult to know what the best option for you would be.
If you’ve gotten this far with your interest still intact then I’m going to assume that the topic of hair removal is of interest to you and if you’re anything like me then it has been the bain of your existence since you were about 12 years old. Like most girls my age I begged my mother to let me shave my legs, “fine,” she said, “but don’t shave past your knees.” Of course, I didn’t take her advice but I soon found out why you should always listen to your mum. What an arduous job it is to shave and the hairs only grew back thicker and blacker than before, I felt duped. I also have my genetics to thank for the little hairs that took up residence on my upper lip so as you can imagine I wanted that mo gone and so began yet another process of hair removal.
I started with bleach then tried out depilatory creams, waxing only left me with red, bumpy skin, so I finally landed on threading and that’s what I did for years, every week at $5 a pop. Although $5 per week doesn’t seem like too much at the time, if you round it up I was spending around $260 a year on hair removal for my upper lip and so I decided it was time to put a more permanent plan into place and my quest for laser hair removal began.
I had stumbled on a daily deal website promoting six IPL hair removal treatments for a really low price so I purchased the deal and embarked on my six rounds of IPL over the course of a few months but the sessions were not only pretty damn painful (picture a hot elastic band flicking on your skin) but were extremely disappointing as they left me not with the bare, hairless skin I desired but instead patches of hair still remaining and because it is required for you to not shave in between sessions. The hair I was left with was thick and dark so I really wasn’t any better off, if anything it made it look worse, I felt defeated.
That was until I discovered Laser Clinics New Zealand.
I was running some errands at St Lukes Mall recently when I discovered a new laser hair removal clinic had popped up, so I went in for a look and grabbed a price list. Price points for laser hair removal vary among different clinics and it’s generally not cheap but Laser Clinics New Zealand was offering $25 per session which was the cheapest rate I had seen anywhere. So, let’s just say I was a little apprehensive, anything that cheap can’t be great, right?
After some thought I decided to book myself in for a consultation, after all, $25 is only $25 and I spent more than that on a bottle of wine. After a little Googling I discovered that Laser Clinics New Zealand was an Australian-owned company that was initially opened in 2008, with over 120 clinics throughout Australia. They were reasonably new here in New Zealand but had opened up a few clinics around the country, mainly in shopping centres, where clients could have the convenience of popping in while running errands.
On the day of my consultation, I was ushered into a room by a friendly member of the team and given the full rundown on exactly how laser hair removal works, with diagrams of skin layers and hair follicles to aid the demonstration. I asked what the difference between IPL and Laser was and she explained that lasers send out a single wavelength of light whereas IPLs send out a number of different wavelengths. Lasers are more target specific so they are more effective at treating one particular condition extremely well. IPLs can treat a number of different targets within the skin with a single treatment, however, the treatments tend to be less effective than those performed by a laser. IPLs also carry a higher risk of burning a patient due to the various emitted wavelengths of light as opposed to the single wavelength of light emitted by a laser. Imagine an IPL being a ‘jack of all trades’ which is capable of treating various skin conditions whereas a laser is very specialised and specific, producing better results and safer treatments.
She then explained the two types of lasers they used in their clinics – The GentleLASE (Alexandrite) system emits a gentle beam of light that passes through the skin to the hair follicle. The hair absorbs the energy from the laser, transforms it into heat and the hair follicle is disabled, resulting in a permanent reduction of hair in the treatment area. The GentleYAG (NdYag) system emits a gentle beam of light which travels down to the blood supply of the hair follicle. This cuts off the blood supply to the hair follicle, resulting in a permanent reduction of hair in the treatment area. Finally, she explained the aftercare treatment plan, which included a range of products formulated by a brand called Institut and were specially designed for Laser Clinics to aid the laser hair removal process. The options were:
LASER AID – This is a powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial gel-like cream that draws trapped heat from deep within the hair follicle. It removes redness and irritation and once applied it instantly cools and soothes the treated area.
GLYCOLIC SCRUB – This is a high-intensity dual action controlled exfoliation product which digests dead skin cells while also working into the follicle to clear out dead hair and derbies to reduce the risk of ingrown hairs and follicular swelling.
AGE DEFENCE SPF 50 – This is a strengthening and hydrating treatment cream which provides broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection for vulnerable skin following hair removal and helps to calm redness.
GENTLE CLEANSER – This is a non-irritating and soothing cleansing gel to use when shaving prior to treatment and also purifies treated areas following hair removal to keep the area calm and nourished.
EVEN BLEND SERUM – This serum exfoliates and smoothes the skin, clearing the pores of congestion. It helps to reduce the likelihood of ingrown hairs and lightens skin discolouration from past ingrown hairs or friction. It also helps prevent darkening of the treated area.
I was told that each product was $59, 3 for $119 or all 5 for $179. I asked the specialist what products were absolutely necessary for aiding my laser hair removal process and she told me that all of the products were important to use in conjunction with any laser treatment. She explained that Glycolic Scrub and Even Blend Serum were going to help to slough away those dead skin cells and remove any unwanted dead hair and debris on the skin. The Laser Aid was important to use to bring the heat out of the area and to calm the skin. The Gentle Cleanser was important to use to clean your skin without having too many active ingredients that might aggravate the treatment area and the SPF50 cream would protect the area from any unwanted pigmentation the sun could cause, as the area would be very sensitive to light and could end up darkening as a result. That’s why laser hair removal is best done in the cooler months because you need to protect the treated area from sun exposure.
On my first laser treatment, I had the area cleaned and goggles put over my eyes to protect them, I lay down on the treatment table and when the treatment began I was relieved to find that the machine had a cooling air effect making the laser pretty painless and the whole treatment only took about a minute, it was that easy. After my treatment, I applied the laser aid and the SPF50 and left the clinic.
There was a little redness immediately afterwards but subsided after about an hour and because of the laser aid, the area wasn’t sore at all. After my first treatment, I saw results after a couple of weeks once the dead hair started to fall out and after my second and third treatments I found I wasn’t needing to shave much at all in between treatments which are spaced out 2 – 3 weeks. I have since completed five treatments and I expect to undertake another 1- 3 treatments to permanently remove the hair.
The results of my treatments have far exceeded my expectations and the low cost at Laser Clinics have been such a welcomed option for my limited budget. I have never felt more confident in my own skin and I can finally let my skin be bare and makeup-free without having to feel self-conscious and that to me is priceless.
“More than ever, clients are investing in looking and feeling their best. At Laser Clinics New Zealand, our vision is to provide affordable, effective and safe non-invasive cosmetic treatments helping people of all ages amplify whatever it is about themselves that makes them feel good. As the leader in trusted results, we partner with leading industry professionals to ensure world-class education and training for all of our Doctors and Registered Nurses to maintain optimum patient safety and results. Our team of experienced Doctors, Registered Nurses and Therapists are about amplifying what makes you, well… you.” – Laser Clinics, New Zealand.
This story is brought to you in partnership with Laser Clinics New Zealand.