I have loathed shaving for many years. It has been an irritation in my life that made me try a few ways to slow down growth – without success! A client made a comment one day that came as a surprise, “I bet it doesn’t take you long to grow a full beard?” That should give you an idea of how prominent my dark brown facial hair is, even after shaving.
By the time I could be myself, some of my facial hair had started turning grey. Most of it was still dark brown or looked almost black to me. I would shave twice a day at least, especially before going out. Occasionally, I would leave the growth for a day or two, so when planning to go out, I could eliminate the traces most effectively, the longer hair was always cut so close to the skin that it was barely noticeable. Well, for a few hours at least.
Even after obtaining the closest of wet shaves, the follicles of each hair would raise the skin slightly, enough that I knew my skin wasn’t smooth. I learned that using a face powder with foundation helped, but I never liked a heavy-handed approach to makeup. Nothing yet was satisfactory.
I admit I plucked hairs from my face to alleviate my anxiety. Sadly, it was only ever a temporary solution. A bearable pain that gave me some hours of relief and confidence when I needed it.
Approximately four to five years ago, I began seeking permanent ways of removing facial hair. My first low-budget approach was to purchase a hand-held laser gun. When I say low budget, it was about half of my modest monthly income, so very costly at that point. I cannot say that it worked effectively other than making my skin red from the heat and making me spend more on a replacement lamp of a limited lifetime usage.
After extensive research, in 2018, I found a clinic that offered laser treatment and booked an appointment with the doctor to decide if it would be viable to embark on treatment. A journey of one hour and thirty minutes by car. A €60 session that would take about 15-20 minutes maximum. I was so desperate to resolve this issue; I was already living my life as the real me. It all went well for several monthly sessions until one time the laser stung my face as it fired on the side of my neck. He adjusted the settings, but it still hurt, and it forced our session to stop.
With my face and neck feeling like I had sunburn, on arriving home and looking in the bathroom mirror, I was shocked at seeing clear burn marks on both sides of my neck at the spots where the pain was most severe. The response from the doctor was of concern. He sent a prescription by email for treatments from the pharmacy. The following day, he and his assistant drove to my house to examine the burns and gave me further specialist creams to apply.
Although his gesture was welcomed, I still consider myself a victim of either malfunctioning equipment or a lack of skill and knowledge on his part. Responses to my questions made me feel as if I would never get to the root of the problem. I chose never to return. Treatments had reduced beard growth, but a considerable amount yet remained. Additionally, some grew back. This was proving to be a serious learning curve!
It took some time to find an alternative. I was under a medical scheme that would cover the costs of further treatment. I also discovered that laser treatment was ineffective on grey or white. It had to be electrolysis or nothing.
Further research revealed that there were no clinics within easy access from where I lived. The options were: Toulouse, a five-hour-plus trip each way by car. No trains could get me there and back in a day to allow a two-hour session. Paris, where I could get a train there and back in a day. I didn’t have much luck getting through to the clinic in Paris and called the one in Toulouse. I made an appointment. It was to establish an understanding prior to treatment.
The doctor was touched by the time and distance I travelled to see him that he arranged a session that very afternoon. I was slightly apprehensive as I prepared myself for an electronic needle to be repeatedly stuck in my face, while tweezers pulled out each hair. They offered me a local anaesthetic, but I declined until I knew if it was necessary. There was some discomfort, but it was bearable — with the satisfaction and knowledge that I was being treated.
The following day there was a little swelling and some scabbing, but nothing too bad. However, the trip to and from the clinic was exhausting to ponder returning for another treatment.
The next stop was Paris. I eventually got through to make an appointment and received treatment a couple of months later. The doctor begin on my top lip, only this time I accepted the local anaesthetic. She worked with an impressive focus and speed. My lip was very swollen the following day, taking a few days to return to normal. On the plus side, there was next to no scabbing, so that was a great outcome.
It became a monthly visit to Paris for the two-hour sessions. Leaving home around 9 am and returning home just before 10 pm, it was a tiring day all around. No time for sightseeing or a delightful meal. Simply hop on the train, get to the clinic, hop on the train, and get home.
Things were going well, and treatments were scheduled for every three months and were showing a visible improvement. Then the lockdown hit us, and life seemed to grind to a halt. Only recently has it been possible for me to travel to Paris again. My treatment will continue from May 21st. I have the added plus of being on HRT, which also is helping to slow down beard growth. Given time, it may even eliminate it all together. Today, time is precious to me. Who knows what awaits us in our future? And it’s why I am grabbing the chance to resolve this forever.
I share this personal account with the intention that it may be of some value to you and others. I will happily respond to any questions or comments.
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