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They Burned My Face Off With Lasers

The title may have caught your attention, but I’d like to say for the record that it is 100% accurate. They did burn my face off with lasers and it sure hurt. I’m writing this post to flesh out the description I gave to a new friend who was interested in the process.

My original, actually current, intention is to have my facial hair removed by electrolysis. There is a local fellow who runs Executive Clearance and is a friend and supporter of the trans community in Buffalo. Everyone swears by him, so I went to see James late last summer to get the down low. I received a very scientific explanation of the process that didn’t ring any hokey bells for me. I’m a sciency kind of girl like Mayim Bialik’s character on ‘Big Bang Theory’, only not as smart or fashionable, so I liked this a lot. He did some demonstration hairs on various parts of my face, and it wasn’t nearly as bad as I had been led to believe. I was offered a great deal, but needed to come up with some cash to take advantage.

In the mean time, I stumbled on a Groupon for 6 laser treatments for $400, allegedly a $1600 value, so I figured what the hell, might as well get started; I’m spontaneous that way. I booked my first appointment on a day off. I had no idea how long it would take or if I’d walk out of there with 2nd degree burns all over my face.  The laser technician was very friendly and had a sexy Russian accent I would love to be able to pull off if I thought I could fool anyone and not sound like Natasha from the Bullwinkle cartoons. She told me right away that it was going to hurt, then had me lay down on the table and disappeared for 15 minutes as I mulled over what “hurt” really meant.

Big, opaque goggles were placed over my eyes and something was wiped across my skin. I felt a slight pressure from the device on my cheek followed by a sharp burning zap that felt like the snap of a hot rubber band and caused a burning hair smell to waft to my nose. Well, no one ever accused the Russians of being a mirthful, exaggerating kind of people. I had wondered if there were going to be long intervals between zaps, during which time she zapped me three more times, kind of answering the question. I began to get really, really worried. Was this going to go on for a whole hour? I have a high pain tolerance, but holy shit! Could someone just waterboard me instead please?

Instead of going through a blow by blow, I’ll boil it down for you. Cheeks and neck, well, as already described. Chin… big ouch, like being jabbed with a red hot poker. Upper lip? Dear lord, I thought I was going to jump out of my skin! I’m thinking cattle prod amped up all the way. All in all it wasn’t that bad. OK, I know what I just said, but I was only zapped about 30 times total, the pain was confined to just when she zapped me, and the whole process took less than 10 minutes. I was a tiny bit traumatized, but she advised me to take some Motrin before I came in the next time. As I was waiting to make my next appointment, she took a high school girl back, I’m guessing for the upper lip as little missy had a ‘stache. I could hear her yelping, and I felt bad, mainly because she yelped quieter than I did.

The results were initially very disappointing. Somehow with all that surface of the sun level heat, the main shaft of hair under the skin didn’t quite burn away. After a few days though and my skin ejected them, very nice! It didn’t touch the grey ones, but my face was noticeably smoother, except for some overlap spots, evidenced by little lines of dark hair over my chin and cheeks. In the weeks following I had to use far less makeup to cover up, something I am very thankful for as I’ve always had to make the difficult choice between the girl with the 5 o’clock shadow look vs. girl who dipped her face in pancake batter.

My second visit was much, much better… kind of. For one, either the Motrin did the trick, or I was better prepared. On the other hand, since there was no visible evidence of the procedure walking out of there, I felt comfortable booking my next one for right before work. Because of this logical fallacy, I got to come to work with big red blotchy burn marks on my neck and cheeks. Nice, right? I was prepared to make the claim that I took to using a new and super irritating shaving cream, but no one asked. Pretty sure they noticed though based on all the, “what the hell happened to your face?” comments I got after I came home.

Well, two down and four more sessions to go! I’ll update my progress if I have anything interesting to add, like if she accidentally obliterates my nose or one of my lips by mistake. Following this, a year of electrolysis! Yay! Who said transitioning couldn’t be fun?

About michellelianna

I'm a transgender woman now in the maintenance stages of transition having all the electrolysis and surgery one can reasonably be expected to undertake. While busy exploring my new world, I took to blogging about it with dubiously popular results. I don't have quite as much to say as I used to, but I'm not quite done yet either.

11 responses »

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  5. Owwww. I still have that to ‘look forward’ to 😦 Options for electro are close to zero here and the dermatologist who freezes my facial brown spots with liquid nitrogen recommends the ‘death ray’. She seems like a nice enough person so I guess I have to trust her, bite the bullet, swallow the motrin and go for it.

  6. I paid 1500$ for my laser therapy and it was Diode DSL laser. Which Not only has the impact of the laser itself but also a blast of sound waves behind it to dislodge the folicle if its dead on impact from the laser. I used to get massive numbers of blow out hairs that would jump out just from the zap and then never grow back.

    After 7 sessions it still hurts like a bitch to get done. But fuck is it worth it.

  7. They noticed I’m sure. It gets better as you remarked on your second visit. The less dark hairs, the less pain. Electrolysis I think it isn’t that bad. I’m at the year and a half mark and thank god I’m aimost done! The pain is the price of admission, thats what I’m told. I got lucky and found a woman that charges me only 50.00 dollars for a two hours of electrolysis that helps a bunch. She gives me a laser treatment almost every time with that, I see her once a mounth. You will see a difference every time you walk out of there and look back and think, Wow, I thought it was looking good two mounths ago but look at me now! I can’t wait untill I don’t have to shave.I don’t have to shave much at all now so thats makeing me happier. I feel good about transitioning as long as I feel I’m making progress, little things, big things as long as I feel like I’m moving forward. Someone said to me they wonder if we ever really stop transitioning? I don’t think anyone really dose.

    • HI Tedie, all so true! The price of admission is right, but whatever it costs I will pay. I’ve now had 3 treatments and really notice the difference already! It doesn’t do much for the hair that already lost color, but I’ll start electrolysis for that this summer.


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