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My consultation experience for Facial Laser Hair Removal at a local clinic in Plymouth, with Transgender Model & Artist Sophie Lawson
ORIGINALLY POSTED 24th NOVEMBER 2016

Future me here again *waves* in this diary entry I talk about my painful first taste of Facial Laser Hair Removal at a local clinic in Plymouth … it was only a consultation, but oh the pain! It’s now just over 4 years later, and the many years of painful Facial Laser Hair Removal and Electrolysis were totally worth it, as I’m happy with the long term results.

In total I posted diary entries for 6 of my 12 laser hair removal sessions, but I’ve more written down in my physical diary, including photos of my progress. I will most likely compile all the image together into one big diary entry soon, including a comparison of Laser Hair Removal vs Electrolysis (short version: Facial Laser Hair Removal is a lot more painful) but for now, here’s my November 2016 experience from my consultation for facial laser hair removal.

*end of future me*

Let the pain begin. Three weeks ago I saw a Doctor at the Gender Clinic who referred me for Facial Laser Hair Removal. Last week, I got a phone call. Now, one week later, I’m only days away from the consultation. The gender clinic will pay for eight sessions, of which I am so grateful, than I will have to pay for all future ones. It’s normally £100 per session, but they reduce that to £75 for patients of The Laurels Gender Identity Clinic; which I’m also thankful for :)

I’ve never had laser hair removal before, I’ve been doing IPL hair removal on my body at home for a few years, but laser on my face? No thank you. Sadly, yes you will lol I’ve heard it hurts. The consultation is just a chat and they’ll do a little test patch on my face to make sure I don’t have any reactions etc. I’m terrified, yet excited.

I’ve honestly never been this scared about anything before in my life. I’m scared for multiple reasons: 1, the pain, 2, this feels like moving into the next phase, there’s no going back once you start this. 3, the unknown. It’s really scary, yet I’m excited because I know this is the right thing to do. The thing is, this feels like a big step, and I normally only do baby steps.

For a few months I’ve been using my IPL device on my face, it says not to use it on a male face, but on the Angels Transgender forum, one of the girls said she did with no side effects, so I tried it. It definitely worked, but only a little bit. I think if you only have an IPL device, it’s totally worth doing. It hurts a lot more than the body, I can turn it up to max setting on my face, but sometimes I can’t physically press the button. It does hurt, but not that bad. *future me here again, I’ve popped in to say, IPL on the face is about a level 3 pain, Electrolysis about a 7, and Laser is a level 9-10; IPL on the face would be a cakewalk now after having laser lol*

I’m realistic, getting rid of my facial hair is going to take a while, like years. My therapist said some girls go in, have a few sessions and they’re sorted, some will go for years and still have hairs. I’m such a hairy person, so it might take years, I accept that, just like I accept in the future I’ll have to have electrolysis on my face to remove the grey hairs the laser can’t destroy. I’ve been looking at home electrolysis devices, I may be tempted to try them in the future; I’ll ask about them at the consultation. I watched a video and it looked like a time consuming process, but doable. I’d also use it to remove unwanted hairs on my knees and nipples, as long as it isn’t too painful.

Above is a photo of my facial hair after two weeks growth, as you can see, hairy. It’s odd knowing I’m about to start removing my facial hair. It’s been part of my identity for so many years, it does feel like Kevin is beginning to die. In a strange way I will miss my facial hair, because as Kevin, I could hide behind it. Almost like a mask, when Kevin had a shave he always felt ugly, yet as Sophie I hate the facial hair. It’s always felt like my main stumbling block for transitioning too, I did say to my Gender Therapist once, that when I start removing my facial hair, I won’t have any excuses. This is most likely why I’m so nervous but excited, things are starting to get real.

The machine they will be using is a Cutera Excel HR laser, which apparently is one of only two in the country. It’s supposed to be the best in the world for effectiveness and comfort, I’ll let you know how comfortable it isn’t once I’ve had it done :)

November 24th 2016

Today’s the day. I was so scared. As always, I cut myself shaving :( I’m so bad at shaving. I’ve just got home, 40 minutes since she blasted my face with laser beams lol It’s still pretty sore, and she only did two little lines on the side of my chin. My god, when she does the whole face I’m going to be stinging like crazy. Ever since she done it, I would describe the sensation on my face as like when you’ve been in stinging nettles. It’s that super tender sensation, feels like my skin has been grazed. It’s not pleasant, not oh my god this is unbearable, but again it’s only two little lines. This consultation was only 30 minutes, we filled out forms, I asked a few questions, than she did the test patches.

ARRRRGHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!

THE LASER

She sat me in the chair and said how the laser can damage your eyes from 2.5 kilometres away. Madness! So I had to have this cloth over my eyes, than some glasses on top, and she also said to keep my eyes closed. The end of the laser was ice cold, she let me touch it, this helps with the pain apparently. She explained they have two lasers, one is more aggressive and effective than the other, however, she doesn’t like to use that laser until she’s removed a few hairs first, so she starts with a laser that isn’t as aggressive, but ironically, hurts more. Doh! I thought, sod it, lets start with the other one lol

After a few session she will do a test patch with the more aggressive laser and than move over to that. I was slightly nervous, aka a lot nervous, as she placed the device on my neck. She would do two test patches. One on a low setting, another on the highest setting. She wants to get as high a setting a possible, without me being in too much pain. She did two lines down the right side of my neck.

Setting one, she started at the jaw line and I would say it was pretty uncomfortable, as she moved down my face it got to a point where I couldn’t feel it. I did flinch a couple times, but on that setting, I’d say the pain was about a level 5. She than did the highest setting, now were talking. I would say it was about a pain level 8 near the jaw, but again, I couldn’t feel it so much as she moved down my neck.

Put it this way, I’m not looking forward to going back. To do the whole face will take about 25 minutes, and around the mouth she says it’s very sensitive. I’ve heard online it’s the most painful. Bloody hell, if it’s a level 8 pain on my jaw line, the mouth must be up at the 10 scale :( I remember reading one girl said she cried when they did her upper lip and had to stop it.

I just hope I can put up with it. I think the most surprising thing wasn’t so much the pain, but the sensation afterwards. It stays around for so long, I thought it would be painful than disappear, but nope, two types of pain. An initial ARGH pain, than a longer, EWW pain.

We’ve arranged for me to have my first full session on Monday, so only four days away. Honestly, I’ll be meditating on this all weekend. I must focus on why I’m doing this. I mustn’t let the pain win. She said my pain threshold will be the determining factor as to how high she can go, while at the same time saying, I should be a good responder as hairs were already falling out. So that’s what that burning smell was lol

Ironically, the first full session will likely be the most painful, as I’ll have the highest amount hairs to treat. However, I’m sure you can withstand any pain for twenty minutes if you can just mentally get yourself into the right place. Right? Right? That’s the main mission now. Getting through the first session.

Pain, Tears, and Chanting happened during Session 1 which took place on November 28th 2017 *gulp*

IF YOU DON’T TAKE THAT FIRST STEP, A PATH WON’T OPEN FOR YOU

Satoru Fujinuma