PCOS and Hair Removal update (2 years on…)

Posted by Lipglossiping On May - 1 - 2012

Nggggggghhhhhhh.

That’s the sound of me procrastinating over the writing of this post.  I am one of those annoying oversharers by nature, but there are some things in life that are easier to share than others right?  I’ll show you my pretty nails, you show me your hairy chins?  Or maybe not.  But… it’s been a year since my last update.

OK, I’ll show you my hairy chin and scare off any poor site visitor who doesn’t know the back story.

You see, I have PCOS – which stands for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.  It’s quite a common thing to have and affects around 1in10 women in the UK.  To over-simplify it a bit (a lot), it means that your hormones are whack… which brings about all sorts of rubbish symptoms including: infertility, acne, weight gain, hirsutism (excess hair).  Those are the playful symptoms, some of the more serious ones (heart disease & diabetes being two of them) are yet to be fully understood as the syndrome was only officially recognised as affecting more than just a woman’s ability to procreate a mere 30 years ago.

Not everyone gets every symptom.  Personally, I experience: infertility *looks at Leila with wonder etc. etc.*, weight-gain (well, I might aswell blame it on something?), hirsutism, and insulin resistance (which is where your body fails to react to the release of insulin in a normal manner – may or may not be a precursor to diabetes).

Still being fairly young and vain, my biggest hatred of the syndrome when I was first diagnosed was directed toward the hirsutism.  No girl in their teens wants to wake up and see a member of ZZ Top looking back at them in the mirror.

This was the extent of my hirsutism a couple of years ago, prior to undergoing laser hair removal.

Devastating is the most accurate word I can use to describe how something like this can make you feel.  Masculine would be the other.

This is how my chin looks today.  Take note that this is almost TWO weeks of hair growth, not two days as shown above.

Two freakin’ weeks people.

I’m actually inclined to believe that the top lip is generic old-lady (getting there) moustache growth rather than hormone related.  It’s fine and downy (which you can probably see), my old hair-growth in this area was coarse and stubbly.  Which basically means that I’ve just shown you my ‘tache and I have no “hormonal” excuse for it.  Cringe.

To say that my life has been changed by laser hair removal is an understatement.  You only need to look at the pictures to understand the daily struggle I had with excess hair.

Let me clarify exactly what I’ve had done…

In the summer of 2010 – I had 6 laser sessions at my local sk:n clinic in Southampton (I received this treatment gratis, so that I could review the service).  It was fantastic and I can’t recommend them enough – I vlogged about most of my sessions, you can find the posts by reading my laser hair removal adventures tag.  I followed this up in the Summer of 2011 with 5 IPL (intense pulsed light) sessions that I purchased via Groupon at another local salon.  This ‘topped up’ my original treatment and kept things gradually improving.

We’re now approaching Summer 2012 and I’ve just booked in for 6 IPL sessions at another local salon, again via Groupon.  The cost for the 6 sessions is in the region of £100.  A small yearly price to pay in order to remain almost completely hair-free.

There’s a common misconception about laser hair removal and IPL.  It’s not permanent hair removal and if you ever see it advertised as such, call bullshit on the provider.  It’s permanent hair reduction and salons are not actually legally entitled to use any other words to describe it.  As you can see from my experiences, it’s pretty full-on (fan-frickin-tastic) permanent hair reduction.  I would say that my hair growth has been reduced by at least 70% and shaving only once a week (once a fortnight sometimes) instead of twice a day has ensured that I will forever advocate the use of laser hair removal for PCOS sufferers.

Feel free to email me if you have any more sensitive questions you think I might be able to help with about the process.  Let me know how you guys are doing with the PCOS crap, I know that many of you have it (and it’s how you found the blog in the first place!)

OK, you can all stop looking at my chin now.


 

Fifty years ago, there was very little we could do about most cosmetic imperfections.  Children wore port-wine stains and birthmarks on their skin their entire lives and men and women alike have always suffered from cosmetic abnormalities that range from the mildly irritating to the full-blown debilitating.  Nowadays, of course, things are very different and the one technology that has made the biggest difference to non-invasive treatments is the not-so-humble laser.

You don’t need to read far back through this blog to discover the impact that cosmetic lasers have made to my life, I have a greater sense of self-worth now that I’ve achieved and am maintaining a worthwhile reduction in hair growth, perhaps a shallow sentiment but it’s easy to underestimate the devastating effects that cosmetic flaws can have on our self-esteem and confidence.

I headed back to my local Sk:n Clinic one morning in November to see what could be done about a skin imperfection that I’d noticed had gotten worse since giving birth to my daughter in 2009.  It’s a ‘condition’ that affects many women (and men) around the world and is particularly prominent among those of us with a classic Celtic complexion.  I’m talking about thread veins.

Thread veins, spider veins, broken veins — whatever you want to call them — come under many guises but these delicate blood vessels are generally harmless little blighters that may be clearly visible across the thinner areas of skin.  In my case, it was the tip of my nose that suffered a permanent red (purple in cold weather) flush.  Making me look not unlike a total lush.  The photo below shows my skin on the day of my consultation, it’s freshly washed and moisturised so a little more ‘stimulated’ (read: irritated) than it would be later in the day.

The majority of my thread veins are minor and conceal well with a good application of a medium-coverage foundation.  The one on the tip of my nose however, has slowly become more resistant to concealer.  I’m prone to redness and see it as part and parcel of who I am but when faced with the opportunity to correct the imperfections genetics has dumped on us, why not?

My consultation was enlightening, I discovered more about the causes behind these little red road maps that traverse my face just under the surface of my skin.  I couldn’t resist asking if squeezing spots too recklessly as a teen (ok, older) may have contributed to their irritation.  The nurse at Sk:n said that whilst it may have been a contributing factor (as with any physical skin damage), the biggest likelihood pointed at simple genetic inheritance.  Thanks Mum!

The procedure itself was painless.  Not ‘uncomfortable’ just completely painless.  For some reason, I assumed that due to the particularly bony location I might have felt a reasonable amount of discomfort.  Nothing, nada.  Does not even compare to laser hair removal (which I find pretty ‘uncomfortable’).

The biggest caveat the nurse at Sk:n warned me about was the likelihood of bruising.  And er… I’m glad she did, as the photos will demonstrate.

Nice.  I don’t look *at all* stupid.

No, ok I really do look stupid.  There is no concealer in the world…

Scabby McScaberson.  DON’T PICK THE SCABS!

 

Halle-frickin-llujah, it fell off. Followed by: “Is this dent ever going to go away?”

“Oh, thank God for that”.  OOOOOooooohhhh where’s it gone?!

16 days people.  From start to finish.

A couple of laser bolts (not the technical term) fired at the tip of my nose, lots of giggles and comments about not needing “Rudolph” this Christmas and a fortnight later and cheerio biggest thread vein conurbation.  I’m really pleased to be able to show you something so tangible, often with all this beauty stuff results can be subjective and OK, it’s not the most groundbreaking cosmetic procedure in the world but it makes all the difference when a red nose isn’t the first flaw your critical mind picks up on when you look in the mirror. (I’ve moved on to something else, of course!)

The cost of this procedure? £99 for a single, very minor treatment.  That’s all it took to shift mine and over a month later, it hasn’t returned.

I hope this helps to give an accurate timeline and a little background information into what you can expect if you decide to go for laser thread vein removal.

In the words of The Fast Show’s Mancunian teenage, “Aren’t lasers BRILLIANT!?!”

 

You can read more about the facial thread vein removal services offered by Sk:n Clinic by clicking through to their website.

* complimentary treatment courtesy of Sk:n Clinic

Laser/IPL and possible complications. Look after yourself.

Posted by Lipglossiping On July - 13 - 2011

Probably the most important invention since the 2nd World War, lasers have been put to use in countless devices that have served society well.  From a personal point of view, they’ve changed my life and made me far more confident thanks to an excellent dose of hair removal courtesy of the SK:N clinic.

But let’s not forget even for a moment… that used incorrectly, or without care… lasers can be incredibly dangerous.

In October last year, the use of lasers for many cosmetic treatments was deregulated.  This essentially means that unless your hair removal treatment is adminstered by a doctor or a registered nurse, the operator no longer needs to register with the regulators.  To me, this is madness.  It means that the operators are often left unchecked and potentially untrained.

I’ve recently had a very close shave (pardon the pun) with a laser treatment.  I booked myself in to a local clinic for some IPL and they proceeded with a test patch.  On the first shot I felt enough of a ‘ping’ to make me jump and immediately knew things weren’t right.  When I got home, I could see that notch of skin had been clean removed from the area treated.

The above photo shows how the area looked immediately after treatment.  It shouldn’t look like this.  I contacted my practitioner who was horrified.  She said that she had never ‘burnt anyone before’ (her words) and asked me to come back if it didn’t heal well.

Here’s how it looked 2 days later… excuse the hairs, I obviously wasn’t shaving in the damaged area.  I looked after the burn carefully and used Aloe Vera on it regularly.  The most important thing was not to pick at the scab or dislodge it until it was ready to fall off.

This was three weeks ago and I’m left with a very, very small scar that’s not noticeable unless you know it’s there AND look for it.  Thankfully.

The IPL clinic have been very good since I flagged up this problem and I know that the operator has learnt a lot from it herself.  When I returned to the clinic we discussed what might have gone wrong in this instance and she agreed to test patch me a number of times in different places until we were confident this wouldn’t happen again.

I just want this to serve as a cautionary tale.  There are so many ‘deals’ around on IPL and Laser at the moment.

Please make sure that you:

1.  Get thoroughly test patched on all areas to be treated.

2.  Follow any advice you are given by your practitioner to the letter and most of all,

3.  Do your homework about your IPL/Laser provider.  Ask them questions and don’t be afraid to walk away if you’re unsure.

I consider myself incredibly fortunate.  A rogue operator may not have bothered to test patch and before you know it, you’re multiple shots in (you can do an entire lower face in around 6 minutes) and left with permanent scarring.

SK:N Laser Hair Removal – Final Video Review

Posted by Lipglossiping On November - 25 - 2010

Oh god… I can’t stop talking.  I’m so sorry!  Condense… condense!

SK:N Clinic Laser Hair Removal Final Video Review from lipglossiping on Vimeo.

I shall take some well lit after photos in the next few days and show a quick before/after comparison too.

Is it Friday yet?

Boots iPulse Smooth Skin IPL in action!

Posted by Lipglossiping On July - 26 - 2010

And why I can never find knee high boots that fit my comically huge calves.

I’m a few weeks in to my trial, and have used the Boots iPulse Smooth Skin a total of 3 times… I’m not noticing any difference in hair texture or growth rate between my two legs yet, but it’s early days.

Very excited to start seeing some results!  C’mon, c’mon!

Sk:n Clinic – Laser Hair Removal Update

Posted by Lipglossiping On June - 5 - 2010

It’s time I be brave and post a before treatment / during picture.  Now that the irritation and redness has completely subsided (took about a week) from my first Sk:n laser hair removal treatment, I’m thoroughly enjoying my new (relatively) hairless face!

I have 5 more treatments to go and I’m in it for the long haul.  6 treatments in total, each separated by a 4 week period to allow for different growth cycles means I should be finished in October.

Let me show you the (gruesome) photos first and then I’ll share my observations about the current hair growth.

Yeah, looking at this 6 weeks on is a little bit upsetting.  I can’t believe that I sruggled with this for so many years.  Maybe I’m being blase…. I don’t know that this is going to be permanent, but jeez… one session is all I’ve had.  One.  Look.

I catch myself stroking my chin with the back of my hand occassionally… surprised at the feeling of smooth skin… but mostly, I’m loving just not having to think about it at all.

I’m currently shaving every 3rd/4th day, compared to once or even twice a day previously.

When the hair does come back through, it feels finer and less coarse.  It’s still dark and the pinpricks of colour under the surface of my skin are noticeable if you look closely.  But what an astounding difference.

I didn’t expect to achieve such instant results.  I know I need to continue the ‘course’ and not be lulled into a false sense of security as I’ve been told the hair can sometimes appear to get even thicker than previously after the 2nd/3rd sessions thanks to the different growth cycles… but for now…. I’m on cloud nine.

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