Sunday, 11 December 2016

The Hampton Clinic, Bristol - Laser Hair Removal



For as long as I can remember, I always said one day I will get laser hair removal, and true to my word, I have done exactly that. February 2016 I knew I was going on holiday for 3 weeks, and I did not want to spend most of my mornings grooming / keeping my bikini area in check. 
Prior to going ahead with any treatment, I did thorough research. Because I have dark skin, not all machines used are suitable, and I really did not want my skin to get burnt or be damaged in some way shape or form. However just when I thought I knew where to go and have treatment, I mentioned my intentions of having laser hair removal on twitter, and someone kindly responded with ''Try Soprano Ice''. I knew nothing about it so through curiousity I took to google to research what it was.

Soprano Ice uses diode advanced technology, with an ice cold tip, which aims to effectively remove hair in a pleasant and pain free manner. This laser is safe to be used on all skin types and many hair types, apart from those with red, very blonde, grey, or have white hair,  as there is insufficient pigment, this makes it difficult for the laser light to attract the contrast of the hair. Not only can this laser be used on the majority, but it can also be used on tanned skin too which makes it by far the best treatment to be used throughout the year. What makes this laser unique is that during the 'in motion' treatment, the laser targets the root of the hair, eliminating particular cells to remove the hair without damaging the skin.
After doing my homework and reading reviews, I was sold. I googled for a clinic locally but there were none available, however the nearest I could find was The Hampton Clinic, based in Bristol.

The Hampton Clinic launched in October 2014 by Tara McCullough, who has worked with some incredible cosmetic doctors in London. Over the last 10 years Tara has gained a substantial amount of knowledge and experience within the beauty / aesthetics industry, a passion she has injected into her business.
I instantly had confidence the clinic would do their best to help sort out my annoying 'lady garden', once and for all! At that point I literally had enough of it and just wanted it to disappear . . be gone . . banished . . for good.


Consultation


I was greeted by a lovely lady with a bright smile on her face. I instantly felt at ease and relaxed. As with most clinics, I was given a form to complete, detailing personal information for the practitioner to go through prior to any treatment / patch test going ahead. I declared as much information as possible, especially medical. This is important because, for example, some medications / conditions can make the skin sensitive, potentially burning your skin under the laser (ouch). So be honest and declare any issues!
I was considered a good candidate for the treatment; dark hair, pale skin, believe it or not. To ensure I would not have any adverse effects to the treatment, I had a small patch test on the bikini area, which was the first time I would experience this type of laser. A pair of 'swanky' safety goggles given to protect my eyes, conductive gel applied to the area, VROOOOM on goes the machine, and the patch test commenced.
I believe I have quite a reasonable pain threshold, and to be honest, the sensation simply felt like an elastic band being 'twanged' against my skin, somewhat a bit prickly, but otherwise tolerable. The beauty of this laser was the ice cold head of the laser device; it kept the skin at a cool temperature, whilst the laser was continuously going over the skin in a figure of 8 motion. Afterwards I had to give the area 48hours to see if any redness, peeling, soreness occurred. If nothing appeared, then I was 'good to go', ready to commence treatment.

Due to my skin type and hair colour / thickness, it was recommended I have a course of 6 treatments, which is standard for many clients. However this could be more, depending on how well the laser had 'zapped' the hair throughout the course.  I booked my first appointment two weeks after the patch test, and I was excited to see how this world leading form of laser treatment would once and for all end a misery that has bothered me for many years.


Treatments


Most appointments I booked after work; it was easier to attend, rather than take time off. Upon arrival to the clinic, I was always greeted by friendly, happy, bubbly faces, which instantly puts you at ease before treatment commences. I was often offered refreshment (cucumber water, tastes really nice, and is a great detox drink), before being taken into the clinic room for treatment.

Prior to each laser session I had to ensure the area was shaved; I often used bic razors as I felt they gave a good clean shave of the area. I wanted to ensure the area was as smooth as possible and free of any hair. Reason being the laser is targeting the hair root underneath the skin. By shaving the morning of the session this ensures the laser is penetrating the hair follicle at its best.

As with waxing, you have to specify exactly what you want (price varies); standard / high / brazilian / hollywood bikini. I opted for brazilian / hollywood, in other words nearly everything ''off'', just a landing strip remaining. I knew by going for this option was a big brave move; first time laser, on a sensitive area of my body, AND a hollywood / brazilian finish. . . I have no idea what came over me that day! As a guide, the practitioner used a white pencil to mark exactly where the laser was to be used, and this happened on every session. I was also given disposable thongs to wear each time, and a privacy sheet placed nearby to catch the conductive gel, which often had a mind of its own.

Each session I was briefed and prepared before the treatment commenced. And like the patch test the sensation was exactly the same. Sometimes however I did find pockets of heat collected in some areas, but this was nothing to worry about and was soon cooled due to the ice cold head of the laser. Treatments often lasted 40-45 minutes, which may seem long, but with laser you need to ensure the whole area has sufficient laser distributed in order to zap the majority hairs follicles.

Once treatment had finished, the area often felt a bit warm, but this was nothing out of the ordinary, and I was expecting the area to feel somewhat a little different until it had settled. To soothe the area quicker, I often put lots of aloe vera gel (god send) to cool the area and speed up the healing of the skin. Not only did I start the after care process immediately after the session, I continued this once I arrived home; by wearing loose fitting clothing, allowing the area to breathe and not be irritated / aggravated by anything tight. I also ensured I exfoliated 2 / 3 days post session so I didn't get any ingrowing hairs.

On two occasions throughout my treatment, I was unable to have any laser due to being on antibiotics (laser + antibiotics = no no!), and I developed a random skin issue following my return from holiday. The practitioner would not (and rightly so) treat, due to not knowing what was happening, and with having dark skin, it is a risk not worth taking. Although I cannot say what other clinics would have done, I was ever so grateful for my welfare being taken into consideration during those two occasions. 

Any regrowth?


Yes and No. 'Underneath' there isn't much contrast between my skin and the hairs and unfortunately this was an area the laser struggled to treat. However the hairs are slightly less and not as thick, but I haven't seen a huge reduction. On the other hand the bikini line, I have no hair whatsoever! I am actually amazed. I am currently 4 months post last laser session, and I am hair free on the bikini line. I have noticed regrowth coming through on the pubis area, but in comparison to what I had before the hairs are very soft and fine. I was advised though due to my skin tone and the hairs being dark I may require further treatments, but this is dependent on how I feel and if I feel it's necessary.

Cost 


It is no secret laser hair removal is not cheap which was why I couldn't afford it beforehand. The Hampton Clinic however I feel offer competitive prices in comparison to other well known clinics who offer laser removal. Ok, the equipment used is different, which may have an impact on costs for the treatments, but generally speaking this clinic is relatively reasonable. For the course of 6, I paid £500 which I thought was a good price. A lot of money to pay, yes, but the beauty with this clinic is you have the option of flexible payment plans, which I opted for paying monthly direct debits (interest free).



Would you recommend? 


110%, yes. I have never been to a clinic, like such and been treated / looked after so well at every appointment. The staff  are friendly, helpful, and very welcoming. The lady herself, Tara, is such a lovely young lady; her professionalism and knowledge is simply amazing, and she really does put her clients needs / welfare first when achieving the end goal the client desires.

I am planning to return later in 2017 to target another area . . armpits. But for now, I am too busy showing off my new bikini look . . . someone pass me that high legged bikini bottom . . . . 😀


Would you, or are you considering laser hair removal? 


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