Over the last 7 years, I have had many, many transgender clients come into the clinic for laser hair removal and skin treatments. Some – most, actually, are there for facial hair removal. Facial hair is such a fundamentally masculine trait, that more often than not is the treatment that these clients first opt for. To clarify, I almost always see Transgender women – body and facial hair is such a big part of the transition process.
Anyone who has ever heard me talk about hair removal will have heard me mention hormones – it affects the results of hair removal in any client, and in some body areas more than others. With transgender laser hair removal clients, the process of facial hair removal can take more time due to the naturally increased levels of testosterone.
The transition process is long, frustrating, and emotionally difficult for many of these women, and it can take quite a while to get to a stage where hair removal is even a possibility. I often recommend facial hair removal is not started until hormonal therapy is commenced (testosterone blockers and oestrogen therapy), as this also helps reduce hair growth. If testosterone blockers are not in place, this can make the results more time consuming – although not impossible. Once hair removal commences, this can really start to help with the transition, as the client feels that they are doing something positive, even if they know that it can be a long and frustrating process.
Is this treatment discreet and confidential?
Absolutely – as a registered nurse, Sally takes discretion and confidentiality very seriously. All notes are securely held on an encrypted and password protected system, and no pictures would ever be shared without the client’s express approval (sometimes before and after pictures are really useful – it can help people understand what kind of results can be expected). No details will ever be shared outside of the clinic. The clinic is in a private residence, with a one-in-one-out system, ensuring that your treatment is always private and discreet.
How many sessions does it take for transgender laser hair removal?
While I would normally recommend a minimum of 8 treatments on any of the body areas, (this tends to give a 70-80% permanent reduction in that area) facial hair often requires at least 12-15 to get to a point where we can move onto maintenance treatments. When treating transgender clients for laser hair removal, I would always ensure they are aware that it may take even more treatments than this, and will always be honest about possible outcomes. It is not possible to guarantee all hair will be removed permanently, but it is possible to get facial hair to a point where it becomes less stressful to remove, and may need dealing with far less frequently. Hair growth that remains is usually far softer and finer, dark ‘shadows’ tend to diminish or disappear, and removal becomes an infrequent, quick process instead of a once or twice daily shave
Does laser hair removal hurt? Is it as painful as IPL?
No! Most people comment that it feels like a warm massage, and we regularly have clients fall asleep during treatments! Occasionally one hair follicle may heat up more than the others and a small prickle can be felt, but nothing like the ‘hot rubber band snap’ of IPL treatments and some other lasers. We constantly talk to our clients throughout a treatment, so they can tell us if it is getting warmer than they would like. That being said, because it can take more to remove hair in these circumstances, I sometimes deploy a ‘single shot’ tool as well as the full pain-free treatment, to boost some of the more stubborn areas, however it is usually more than bearable and i’ve never had anyone not able to continue.
What advantages does laser hair removal have over IPL?
IPL treatments tend to be less effective than laser in most instances. IPL contains all colours of light, and hair removal only requires red light, so there is a lot of wasted energy – this is one of the issues leading to painful treatments. Soprano Ice offers a continual build up of energy over a pre-determined area, so not only can you provide the right amount of energy gradually without over-heating the skin, you can really load the energy on all areas to get as much heat into the hair follicles as possible. This can lead to better results and more effective treatments with little to no discomfort. The Soprano Ice has an ice-chilled tip, meaning that the skin never heats up as much as the hair follicles, which in turn leads to an increase to the amount of energy that can be delivered. IPL on the other hand can be very painful as the skin heats up significantly. The temperature of IPL can be lowered, however this leads to a reduction in effectiveness, whereas if the temperature of the Soprano is lowered, the timer on the clock goes up, so there is no loss of energy.
Is there a risk of scarring with laser hair removal?
With Soprano ice, no, there is virtually no risk of any adverse affects. I have personally never had any adverse effects with any of my clients. However, it is vital that you disclose ANY sun/sunbed exposure in the preceding few weeks (at least 2 weeks for sun exposure and 4 for sunbeds). Soprano Ice can be used if you have a tan (unlike most other systems), but it is essential that Sally is aware of when your last sun exposure was. If you have had recent exposure, you will be at increased risk of burning or pigmentation. Because of the way the Soprano Ice delivers the laser energy, it is virtually impossible to overheat or burn the skin, so the blisters, burns, red squares and other side effects that you will see if you Google ‘IPL side effects’ or ‘laser hair removal burns’ etc, just don’t happen with soprano. A bit of local redness is completely normal, but usually fades within an hour. It is also essential to let Sally know if you are on ANY medication, or any medication you take changes. This is because some medications make the skin more sensitive to light, so side effects are more likely. Almost all of these can be worked around or taken into account – it is rare that Sally is not able to treat someone.
Does Soprano Ice laser work on darker skin tones?
Yes – because of the way Soprano Ice laser hair removal works, it’s great for darker skin tones. the gradual build up of energy means that the same amount of energy can be delivered into the hair follicles without burning the skin, which is a common side effect with IPL and other types of laser. This works really well on all skin types, including Asian, and even very dark skin tones.
How much does it cost and I get transgender laser hair removal Funded?
It is sometimes possible for transgender laser hair removal treatments to be funded by NHS England – once the ‘official’ transition process is commenced (which can take a minimum of 2 years in most cases), clients are entitled to up to £2500K of laser hair removal for the face (this does depend on area and current restrictions and guidelines), and must be approved before treatment may start. It is obviously possible to self-fund in the meantime. Cost in the clinic depends on the area being treated – the more areas that are booked, the greater the discounts become on additional areas, but I always offer 10% discount for all transgender clients. (For example, full face treatments cost around £129 per session, but would be £116 if I am treating a transgender client).
Discreet, professional treatments for transgender clients
Most importantly for me is that I often become part of that process for my clients – it is a safe, discreet place where they can relax and be themselves, and know that they will always be treated with the absolute utmost of respect and understanding. Recently, I received a fantastic spontaneous review from my most recent client who has recently started on the process of transitioning.
Review of transgender laser hair removal in our Lichfield clinic
“As a trans woman, at the start of a very long and daunting journey, I was petrified about contacting Sally, but how wrong could I have been. As well as being totally professional she is also caring, understanding and supportive in every way possible. I have progressed from having back and front laser treatment to now include my legs and it is amazing. Sally has become a good friend which is so important for my life ahead.
How can I find out more about transgender laser hair removal?
I always hope to make my clients feel comfortable and reassured that they have come to the right place, and I hope to be able to provide this service for many years to come. To find out more, message me at firstname.lastname@example.org or click through to the contact form.