Up, Close And Personal: SmoothSkin Gold IPL Trial
If the human body makes you squeamish, look away now...
Because this is about to get personal.
I came into this world - tiny, pink and squealing - with a full head of thick, dark hair and resembling a baby monkey. As all babies are in this world, I was coo-ed and ahh-ed over and thanks to the wealth of hair that my head already possessed at birth, my sex was never questioned. Yet, little did I know of the impact that my body's ability to produce so much hair would have later on life and that I'd be in for years of hair-related stress.
Now, I'm not talking about the hair on my head here. In fact, I'm very fond of my long natural brunette locks. I'm talking about body hair. From a very young age, I was conscious of how hairy I was compared to all of the other girls my age. Being half-Spanish and naturally dark haired with pale skin meant my dark body hair was extremely noticeable and the thought of having to expose my hairy secret to the world terrified me deep to my core.
Getting undressed in a communal same-sex changing room is not an uncommon practice in a typical British child's life so you can, of course, imagine my anxiety. Swimming lessons, dance lessons, gym classes, school plays... Many occasions called for a state of partial nudity and the older I became, the more aware of the hair I became.
Hitting puberty at the tender age of 9 meant I had a fair amount of body hair before I even had time to understand why it was there, while most of my classmates were still hairless and carefree. I was battling with boobs and bushy eyebrows while my friends concerned themselves with making up dance routines to Steps' Steptacular album. I became so hair-conscious that I would steal my sister's razor and attempt to shave my whole body because I was too embarrassed to tell my parents that their child was turning into a werewolf.
Fast forward 7 years and while I was learning to live with my hairiness, I was diagnosed with polycystic ovaries; a condition related to abnormal hormone levels in the body and - you guessed it - excessive hair growth. So just to add fuel to the fire of fuzz, my body thought it appropriate to bless me with higher levels of testosterone than the average woman, meaning there is, at least, scientific reason behind my uncontrollable hair growth. But the battle of the hormones didn't stop there. At 20, I was diagnosed with endometriosis and my hormones hit me with another hairy hurdle.
With two conditions that feed on hormone imbalances combined with naturally thick, dark hair and Spanish heritage, I thought I would never see the end of my hairiness. I may have mastered the art of hair removal and become immune to the pain of epilating and hot wax, but the thing about hair is that it always grows back. And then...
I stumbled across SmoothSkin Gold's IPL device and I'm curious as to how my body would react to a more permanent form of hair removal. IPL devices work by breaking the cycle of hair growth. Light energy is transferred through the skin's surface and is absorbed by the melanin present in the hair shaft. The absorbed light energy is converted to heat energy below the surface of the skin, which disables the hair follicle preventing further growth.
But does this treatment work the same for people with hormone imbalances, whose bodies are in a constant state of hormonal turmoil? Is there a way to reduce the excessive hair growth - even though body hair is course, stubborn, unruly and has a mind of its own?
That's what I aim to find out. I will be monitoring my progress through the 12-week programme to see if there is any hair-respite considering my specific hormonal history. I know I don't suffer alone; hirsutism makes so many women all over the world feel self-conscious so it would be great to see if there is a more permanent, cost-effective treatment that will ease the distress and embarrassment caused by something that is so natural - hair.
To be continued...