A journey started nearly 2 years ago with the birth of a dream.
When Pandora Blake posted about having laser hair removal on her pubic hair, and I responded by dreaming about whole-body or at least, facial, hair removal in the same way (and she confirmed that this is a treatment many trans women undergo) – I had lots of time and no money because unemployed.
Now, nearly two years later, I have less time, but more money because I have a job and it isn’t affordable to move out of my parents’ home (round these parts, I’d need to earn another £10k to make having my own flat a realistic move) so my overheads of life are fewer than for many.
So, I have money for cosmetic treatments. For the past couple of months I have saved up towards laser facial hair removal and in the past week have dropped in to make an appointment, seen a nurse for an assessment, and today, I got my test patch done.
At the assessment, they asked me to fill out a form to collect evidence that these laser treatments are not purely elective but are a very real help and support to people trying to live in a body that is suited to them – trans women, nonbinary-identified folks such as me, and so on. I was glad to add my own input on that and I hope their case is made so that VAT can be reduced or kept low, and make this more affordable to others as well.
I wish I’d re-read Pandora’s piece before going along. Her description of the feel:
The machine blows a jet of cold air onto your skin at the same time as the laser, which doesn’t so much feel like burning as pricking like a needle as it encounters each follicle.
This certainly matched the first sample the nurse gave me, but I said the prickling was almost pleasant (in fact, as a masochist, it was yummy!) and she offered to try a higher setting – “tolerable discomfort” was the aim.
There was definitely a leap up in the pain level, and the sensation was more like receiving small electric shocks (sort of like when you rub along a carpet and then touch a metal handrail). It was also a bit like the sensation when someone did a demonstration with a low-setting violet wand, and perhaps what I imagine that would have been like on a slightly higher setting.
Bearable? I think so, even for a long session. Like Pandora, I have coping techniques to absorb and process pain – and I think that mental image of electric shocks was something like Pandora’s:
If I thought about lasers, zapping, burning, it hurt a lot – whereas if I imagined that someone was dragging a sharp felt tip along my skin, or scratching little dots with the nip of a fountain pen, it hurt much less.
I still want to mull it over, but basically as soon as I feel ready to go I can call and make my first appointment.
(The rest of my body hair, particularly my back and arse, I think may be waxed instead for the time being)