I would like to put in a recommendation for Cristianos who make a very special effort for their clients.
After a series of reassuring emails I went to the clinic for an initial test patch. Kerry, who is the Manager at the Bury clinic and also works at the Altrincham clinic, has a wonderful way of putting you at your ease and so clearly wants to make the experience helpful and stress free. She also cares very much about providing a thorough and effective service. All questions are carefully answered and the sessions are also a wonderful time for girly questions to be answered. She also offers evening and weekend appointments which are very helpful in avoiding clashes with work.
It is probably very important to have realistic expectations of hair removal. Dark hair absorbs the energy from IPL or laser more effectively than fair hair and a pale complexion means only the hair gets hot not your skin. For maximum success preparation is essential, so in the months before ensure you lose any trace of your tan.
Another consideration, if you have dark hair is not to delay until you start to go grey! I have found VPL very effective but I was careful not tan the summer before I started treatment and have kept out of the sun as far as possible during the year my treatment has taken. Do note the timescale as it takes several visits and with increasing gaps the whole course of treatments will be something like a year. A simple calculation will also show that this is likely to be one of the most expensive parts of transition, especially if you wish have to face, legs, body and arm hair all removed.
I was fully prepared for a lot of pain having read horror stories on the internet but was very surprised at how little discomfort there was. At worse like a series of pin pricks. Indeed on some evening appointments after a longs day’s work it has been possible to doze through much of the treatment. However the bikini area is rather more noticeable and a certain, but acceptable, level of discomfort must be expected. The face however, was a rather different experience. I am glad I did not start with this as it was painful and if I had not known how successful VPL had been elsewhere I would probably have found it hard to return. But the pain soon passes and within an hour all is normal. Subsequent treatments on my face have been easier as the density of hairs diminish.
The treatment is not dramatic, there is no smoke and apart from red dots around each follicle there is little reaction to show for the session. After a few hours the red dots are gone. After a week or two the density of hairs noticeably reduces as they finish their growth cycle and do not grow again and the new ones grow back much finer. As the sequence of treatments proceed the power is turned up to remove these finer hairs but the energy that can be absorbed by these finer hairs is the same as the coarser hairs could absorb from the lower power and the discomfort stays about the same. The intense light is transmitted through a cooled gel and the application of the gel is often more of an unpleasant surprise than each pulse of light.
Kerry has used VPL for everything except my ears where she has used the laser. This does give a sharp pain but it quickly passes. I have yet to experience the electrolysis that will be needed for my few grey hairs but I do expect to find that painful.
The treatments have exceeded my expectations in terms of its speed and effectiveness and in the lower level of discomfort from that which I was expecting. The cost of each session reduces after the first 4 and the clinics offer special combined packages of two or more areas at reduced costs and it is worth catching these special offers.