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Monday, March 26, 2012

Laser Hair Removal: I'm for real

I started having appointments in February.  I'm having laser hair removal done!

It's been a big splurge, but I am getting a killer deal:

Legs: Five sessions for 600,000₩  (approx. $534)
Underarms: Five sessions for 50,000₩  (approx. $45)
Lip: Five sessions for  150,000  (approx. $133)
Bikini: Five sessions for 200,000 (approx. $180)

I loosely calculated how much I spend on shaving my legs and underarms.  I use the Gillette Venus Embrace razor cartridges and change them about 12 times a year (more for summer, less for winter).  I never buy shaving cream; I just use Dove soap when I shave.  Assuming these razor cartridges stay at $18 for a pack of four, that's $54 I spend a year on the razors.  The combined price of my laser hair removal procedure is $667, and this procedure will pay for itself after... 12 years or so.  And that's not even accounting for the time I'll save from shaving and tweezing, the razor burn I won't give myself, and the confidence I'll get to flaunt.  (Middle school tauntings may or may not have had a mild influence in my decision.)  Keep reading for all the details!

The Set up

I asked my Korean friend Kelly to help me do some comparison shopping.  I forgot how I found this out, but I'd learned that laser hair removal was super cheap here in Korea.  I'd found this forum on waygook.org that led me to the Wynn Clinic in Gangnam and then I had a friend who started going to SDeul in Seolleung.  Kelly did some sleuthing, some haggling, and some inspecting of my legs before she hung up the phone and told me SDeul would do it for the best price, and could I go there in 30 minutes for the first session?

Here's S Deul's info.

Sduel :: 서릉
02.555.7588

에스듈읭원
서울특별시 강남구 대치4동 889-75 (2층)

 The Sessions

As soon as I walked into the clinic, the manager decided I must be the foreigner friend Kelly told her about over the phone.  The manager brought me into a side room and asked in broken English about the quality of my hair.  I showed her the hair on my legs, she leaned in close-close to my face for the lip examination, and I was about to show her the hair under my arms, but she shook her head and ushered me into the laser room where there was a robe waiting in the wardrobe.  She showed me that I should take off my shirt and fasten the robe with the velcro in the back.

I cracked the sliding door when I was ready for her to return.  She instructed that I lay face up on the table with my arms above my head; we wouldn't be doing the legs or my lip today.  She looked closer at her target.  She nodded and said, "Mm-hm" as she understood how I thought my dark, coarse hair would be the perfect applicant for elimination.

She gently told me I really shouldn't have worn deodorant that day.  She also told me there would be a little pain.  Then she smoothed on a clear gel like what they use for sonograms.  She smeared this around with a small spatula, reached for the laser gun, pulled the trigger, and moved it around on my skin.

I've gotten my underarms done again now without wearing deodorant.   That extra layer of stuff really did complicate things and add more pain, but even without the deodorant, the laser isn't pleasant.  It felt like a razor blade being dragged right up against the deepest layers of my skin.  Or like many needles being punched in all at once.  It was especially terrible when she would switch to my right side because it's more sensitive.  I tell you what, nothing feels as uncomfortable as tickling sensations mixed with needles.

The pain was strong, and I still felt it after she was finished, but I later found out that this was a side effect of the deodorant only.  Every other time I've gone in, even for my legs, once the laser left my skin, so did the pain.  In fact, my legs hardly hurt at all!  There are some particularly sensitive places like the lower shin and my ankles, but, for the most part, I was cool as a cucumber.  I asked if it was okay, and the manager let me listen to my iPod while she worked on my legs.  The first session was over an hour and a half, but the second session on my legs was closer to 45 minutes.  Both underarm sessions so far have lasted no longer than 8 minutes.

My lip -I've only had it once so far- it hurt like fire!  Like a match held right on my face!  I cried a little.  But once the laser was gone, so was the pain.  And, it only took a couple minutes, thank goodness!  Afterward, the manager put a cold clay-like compress on my lip so there wouldn't be much redness or swelling, and, when I was completely finished, she gave me an injection to further reduce inflammation.  I checked myself out in a mirror at hip hop class 30 minutes later, and I couldn't see any effects at all!


The Results

After two weeks I was able to pull gently on some of the hairs from my underarm.  I'd read about this before, about how you're not supposed to tweeze or yank it out, but when the hair follicle dies the hair will just fall out when it's ready.  All of the darkest, coarsest hairs came out before the next session!  When I happily showed the manager the next time (the bikini area in particular), she was happy with me!  "I think very success!"

As for my legs and my lip, apparently the hair there isn't dark enough or course enough.  (Could've fooled me.)  The manager said that I have a lot of brown hair as opposed to the typical Asian girl's black hair.  I've said that I'll still be happy even if only the black hair is zapped away, but I'm glad that the manager is going to sit and talk with me about other possible options after my fourth visit if we don't get the results we're looking for.  She says my young age and my hormones may be playing a larger factor than we want.  I reckon I'll keep you informed.

11/10/14 Update
I got laser hair removal at a different clinic a few months later at NOVA in Gangnam.  Read about my experience here.

26 comments:

  1. I'm currently having treatments done in the states but moving to Seoul in August so im looking for a new clinic to continue in. How have your results been since this post, and would you recommend your doctor to a person who speaks no Korean at all?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. S Deul ended up be totally fine for me, and I hardly know any Korean. I would also recommend NOVA in Gangnam, though. The doctor there is very good at English. The prices and the quality of the lasering are both higher at NOVA.

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  2. The one thing I regret is not being able to ask many questions due to the language. I wish we could have been able to discuss the anticipated results. I'm fairly pleased with my results, but I would have liked to have been more prepared for what to expect. Otherwise, my doctor was absolutely fabulous. She made me feel very comfortable every step of the way. She was very kind and worked hard to communicate with me as well as possible (which was minimal). Service was excellent, and the relationship we had made the whole experience much nicer and calmer. If you've already had work done and know the ropes, perhaps you'd have fewer questions. In this case, I'd say go for it with my doctor. Otherwise, I'd still say go for it, but have a friend who can make Korean phone calls to the center and translate questions for you. That's what I did, and I ended up getting the most important answers.

    My results: The darkest and coarsest hair has been completely removed (except for on my knee caps where the roots are far beneath my skin and hard to reach with a laser). I hadn't expected to see such a small change on my thighs and lip. The hair there is finer and lighter, and the laser didn't do much. The best results were on my underarms, shins, and bikini line (which I didn't mention earlier). On my underarms, I'd say the hair has been reduced by 85-90%. I'm very pleased with these areas. I don't have to shave as much as before, and the appearance of the skin is much smoother because of that.

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  3. Alright, two months after your last comment and what do you think? Any regrowth? If you were to do it over would you do it again? I've been doing some research on laser treatments in Korea and I'm interested in the results you've seen so far :)

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    Replies
    1. It's been a couple years now since my sessions, and I wish I could go back and get more. My bikini line is doing fabulously, the lasering really worked there, and my underarm hair is thinner than before, but I would get a few more sessions there to help more.

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    2. Hi, You have done it in SDEUL?

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    3. Hi, have you done your laser treatment in SDEUL?

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  4. Can't find SDeul anywhere... Is there a website or contact info you could post? Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sduel :: 서릉

      02.555.7588

      에스듈읭원

      서울특별시 강남구 대치4동 889-75 (2층)

      Delete
  5. Here's my latest appraisal:

    I'm pretty bummed with the overall results. I know that this process is supposed to last for 10+ treatments and can take 3 years for the results to be permanent, but I was hoping for better results.

    My legs look like nothing has changed. My underarms are at about 50% of what they were. My lip shows little change except for the darkest hairs that don't grow in anymore. And my bikini line is at about 45% of what it was.

    I'm planning on going to another clinic to get a few more treatments done with a different laser. I will post about my experience there soon!

    ReplyDelete
  6. And, I'm so sorry, but I've lost the contact info for SDeul. I had to restore my iPod where all that information was, and I can't find the number online, either. I could tell you exactly where it is, though.

    It's at Seollung station. Exit #2. Go straight till you pass the Daiso on the left. Turn left.

    Directly after the Daiso is a street/parking area. Opposite of Daiso and after this parking area, THAT is the building where SDeul is. It's on the 2nd floor. You will see a sign on the outside of the building. There is also a restaurant on the 2nd floor. I've never eaten there.

    (There is also gumbab shop across the street from this building that serves Mandu NOODLE soup. I got it 2-3 times and loved it.)

    I will be posting information about other popular clinics soon. Keep an eye out!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Oh, oh, oh! I've found the information for S Deul!

    Sduel :: 서릉

    02.555.7588

    에스듈읭원

    서울특별시 강남구 대치4동 889-75 (2층)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Will the cost reduce if you have less sessions ? i heard that it depends how much hair do you have on your body, i am glad that i don't have that much hair and i only wax once in 3-4 months.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In the my personal experience and in all of the others I've heard of, fewer sessions doesn't reduce the price per session.

      Also, I went to a second clinic months later and was able to get a lower rate than the usual because I had less hair at the time.

      Delete
  9. Replies
    1. It takes many treatment sessions for it to be permanent. I've had 8, and it's still not permanent. I think it can be possible, but it would take a lot of time.

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  10. How long would it take for the next session? How many months for 8 sessions?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I believe the sessions are supposed to be 5 weeks apart. This lets the laser get the hairs that are in different parts of the growth cycle.

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  11. What is the second clinic you went to?

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    Replies
    1. The second clinic I went to was NOVA at Gangnam Station. I wrote about my experience at NOVA here: http://lindsayeryn.blogspot.com/2013/08/laser-hair-removal-take-two.html

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  12. I have an odd question.

    What did your bikini include? Was it just the front bikini? or inner thigh too?

    Also, was it a mail doctor that had preformed this area? Thank you for answering our questions!!

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    Replies
    1. Sure thing! At SDeul, they gave me a paper string bikini to wear during the procedure. The technician used the laser around the edges of this bikini, so she covered the inner thighs and the topside, too, all the way up to my navel. This was a female technician, by the way. All the staff at SDeul that I saw were female. Very polite, too.

      I got the same procedure done at a different clinic the next year called NOVA. The main doctor was a male, and he handled the lasering I had done on my underarms, but he had a female do my bikini line. At this clinic, they didn't give me a paper bikini, they just pulled down the shorts they gave me to wear and followed the lines the previous clinic had made. I wrote more about my experience at NOVA here: http://lindsayeryn.blogspot.com/2013/08/laser-hair-removal-take-two.html

      Delete
  13. I saw that post as well and I plan to call!

    I had gone to a place with my Korean friend where they dont speak any english. I got my underarms done, and can tell a difference in just one session.

    They did your Navel too?! When I asked to get this done in addition to my Bikini, they quoted me 275,000 won for bikini and then 160,000 for my treasure trail! Does that seem insane?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Holy crap, that's a lot extra money for just a little bit of real estate! (Then again, in the States, that's a steal!) I got just below my navel, not a lot, and I didn't think to ask for "more topside" work until my last session. When I did tell the male doctor at NOVA, though, he was totally cool with it and told the technician who took care of me. There wasn't any added cost there.

      I was able to get a Korean coworker to help me make my appointments and to describe everything. She even sent a little paper of Korean with me to explain my situation when I first went to SDeal, since no one there spoke English.

      Not sure how much bargaining is done in this field, but there are specials some places run. And there are some places that charge more because their lasers are better (like NOVA).

      Delete
  14. Hello I wanted to know now in 2016 how everything is going?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for asking! From what I can tell, the best results have been on my bikini line. It's so much tidier than before and 100% worth the investment, though I still have some hairs that have been left behind. I'd say 85-95% of the hair hasn't grown back. My underarms are the second best: I think 65-70% of the hair hasn't grown back. If/when I go back to Korea, I plan to get another session done on my underarms.

      I also think that the upper lip lasering zapped the coarsest, darkest hairs forever, which I'm thankful for, but other than that, it wasn't really worth it to get that area lasered. The majority of the hair there is so fine, the laser couldn't find it very well. This is also how I feel about my legs. I'm certain the laser helped some, but not enough to make a different here in 2016. Back in 2012 and 2013, my legs looked more bare, but the changes haven't been long lasting. I wouldn't get my legs done again.

      Thanks again for stopping by! Let me know if you have any other questions.

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Thank you for sharing your thoughts! If there is something you want me to respond to specifically, feel free to send me an email; I'd love to chat.