The day before I went on my trip to Montreal I started the process of having underarm laser hair removal. Something I’ve been wanting to do for years! I had my first treatment at The Ten Spot’s newest location in Bedford (located on the corner of Bedford Highway and Hammond Plains Road) as part of their media event.
It was the absolute perfect timing, as one of the reasons I hadn’t done it up until now is because my skin is so sensitive. I was afraid I’d have a reaction. As a fitness instructor, I sweat a lot and having irritated underarm skin makes for a bad combo, but since I was going to be on vacation, it didn’t really matter if I had a bit of a reaction. See what I mean? Perfect timing!
Prior to my appointment, I asked my followers on Instagram what questions they had about laser hair removal and while I shared those on Instagram last weekend, I decided it would be good to compile them in a blog post as well. This way I can also use this post as a place to record my journey as I continue with appointments over the coming months, so you can easily refer back to it for updates.
Underarm Laser Hair Removal – Your Questions Answered!
Since I’m only undergoing treatments for underarm laser hair removal all of the questions & answers below relate directly to having that area treated, as I have no experience with legs, bikini, arm, face, etc.
How much does it cost?
In my area (Nova Scotia, Canada), underarm laser treatments are around $100 per session. I’ve checked a few local places and they all seem to be around the same. There are deals that pop up occasionally for buy two, get one half off or something similar so it might be worth keeping an eye out for those. One thing I really like about The Ten Spot is you can purchase a single session as you go. Lots of places require you to purchase a package, but with The Ten Spot, you make your appointments as needed. Easy as pie!
How many treatments do you need?
I’ll update this as I go, but this is definitely not a “one and done” situation. Having said that, there is a noticeable difference even after only one treatment. It is one week later and while I still need to shave, instead of needing to shave daily (hello super pale skin and black hair), I can now easily go 3 or more days with less growth than I would have had after one day.
Update December 14th: When I went for my second appointment, Jessica confirmed that I’ve now got about 50% of the hair growth I started with–after just one session! The hair that is growing back is much finer. I haven’t gone more than a few days without shaving (I am still a fitness instructor who is in front of crowds of people with her arms up in a tank top almost every day), but I am still only shaving once every few days versus every single day like I was doing the previous 20+ years of my life!
Update January 15th: This past weekend I had my 3rd laser treatment and you guys, the difference is nothing short of amazing. I’ve created a collage of my underarms from treatment one until now:
The photos on the far left are from one week after my first appointment, the middle photos are the day of my second treatment, and the photos on the far right are from the morning after my third treatment. The lighting is a bit different in all the photos but I hope you can easily see just how different they already look! In-person, the difference is even more amazing.
One question I’ve been asked a lot is if you can still see the follicle or dark “dot” even after the follicle stops growing new hair, and the answer is yes and no. You can still the follicle it there, but the dark hair that use to be inside of it is gone. Here is one of my current photos in full size so you ca better see what I mean.
You can still see little faint dots where the hair would grow if there was hair there, but compared to how this same arm looked 3 months ago, the difference is nothing should of astounding.
How painful is it?
I feel like your underarm skin is tougher than some other areas would be, so while it wasn’t a pleasant experience, it was over so quickly you barely have time to think about it and it’s done. Seriously, one side took about 30 seconds total, and that 30 seconds consisted of 5 or 6 areas being treated. The best I can describe it as is a cross between a pinch and a light static electricity shock. Neither are enjoyable, but they also aren’t something that you’ll be dwelling on. Getting a flu shot is much more unpleasant if you ask me.
I found the sensation more weird than painful because you can almost feel the little individual hair follicles getting zapped.
It did seem like the second side hurt a bit more than the first, but that might have been my mind playing tricks on me. We are talking a very moderate difference–if there was one at all.
Update Dec 14th: I am not sure whether my second treatment was more or less painful than the first. I do think more areas were targeted (likely because I already have so much less hair it was easier to hit specific areas), so the treatment took a bit longer, but both arms were still done in less than a minute and I was in and out of the treatment room in 3 minutes flat (which included taking off my sweater and chatting for most of that time).
Update January 15th: Overall, I would say the third treatment hurt about the same as the first one, all except for one spot where I said, “Oh! That one hurt!” but still, it was over in under a second. Jessica my technician said that it tends to get more painful the further in the process you go as the laser has to work harder to find the hair. Even still, for me, it’s more than worth the few seconds of pain.
How many treatments do you need?
This, I can’t really answer yet as everyone is different and I don’t know what my experience will be. I likely will benefit from the fact that I do have such pale skin and dark hair because it’s easier for the laser to target, but I am expecting to have to go at least 3-4 more times. I’ll be sure to update this one as I go!
Update Dec 14th: I know the first few treatments are going to see the most results because there is more hair to target, but I’m expecting to have 5-6 treatments total to be hair free forever.
Update January 15th: I’m still expecting to do all 6 treatments but I’m honestly really super happy with my results so far, and now I’m planning to save up to get at least my lower legs done this year!
What do I need to know/do before I go?
You’ll want to shave the night or morning before your appointment, but it’s likely they will quickly run over the area again before your treatment to make sure there is as little hair as possible. You want the laser to focus on the follicle not the hair on the surface. You’ll also want to avoid self-tanning before your appointment, and if you are concerned about the pain, you can purchase a numbing cream from The Ten Spot to apply to the area before your appointment. But truly, with an area as small as your underarms, you can really manage easily without.
What can I expect after a treatment?
Your underarms will likely be a little bit sore or tender. The sensation was quite similar to having a light sunburn. I didn’t find it really bothersome and it wasn’t bad enough that I thought about it or felt like I needed to put something on it.
You’ll want to avoid deodorant for the rest of that day and maybe a day or so afterward (depending on how sore you are), no exercise, hot showers or baths simply because of the irritation, but the next day it’s pretty much business as usual.
Other than that, you will continue to shave as usual-no waxing or tweezing as you need to keep the hair follicle intact. They also say no self-tanner for two weeks and be sure to use a minimum of SPF 45 if you’ll be in the sun.
How do I know when to go for my next treatment?
This one is easy, set a reminder in your calendar to make an appointment in 4-6 weeks. That’s how long it takes for the hair cycle to start all over again.
Honestly, I really don’t mind shaving my legs, but I am so excited about going through the laser hair removal on my underarms. Why? As a fitness instructor I sweat a lot and in the summer often end up with ingrown hairs from shaving that are painful and difficult to deal with. It’s going to be SO NICE not to deal with that in the summers to come. I can’t wait!
Obviously, it was definitely a perk that I was gifted the first treatment from The Ten Spot, which made it a no-brainer decision to finally start something I’ve been wanting to do for so long.
The Ten Spot does have a referral program, so if you do decide to visit The Ten Spot in Bedford, tell them I (Suzi Fevens) sent you, and give them my e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org and we will both earn $10 credit!
Disclosure: While my first laser treatment was gifted to me along with a gel manicure from The Ten Spot Bedford, I was not required to write this blog post. When this post was originally published I had no further agreement with The Ten Spot, but since then they have offered to cover the rest of my underarm laser treatments in exchange for me sharing my story and progress here on the blog – which I was thrilled to do as I was planning to share the journey with you anyway. As always, all opinions shared are entirely my own.