15 November 2015

Soprano Laser Hair Removal | Session 2

So I am back with another update on how things are going with my laser treatment. It's amazing how quickly the time in between sessions passes. Before I know it, I will have completed my course and potentially be looking at zapping another area on my body (becoming addicted!). Anyway here goes my update on session 2 . . .

Preparation prior to session 2

As with my first session, I ensured I exfoliated every few days, so I didn't encounter any ingrowing hairs, which thankfully I did not get (YAY). For the record, I don't use an expensive exfoliating scrub, just one that has a reasonable amount of 'grit' so it works well on the area. When I get out of the shower, I ensure I apply aloe vera so it soothes and treats the area (feel odd, but it is so cooling especially after the laser treatment itself). Anyway the morning of the treatment, I hopped into the shower and gave myself a DIY, getting rid of the hair that had grown back, which if I am honest there wasn't a great deal to shave off. I did as much as I could, and left the rest for the practitioner to do as I cannot see at the back! 

At the clinic / preparation before session

My appointment this time was on a Saturday so I had a different practitioner who would be carrying out the procedure. This was not an issue as I had met with this lady during my consultation and I was confident / happy there would be no issues. Before the treatment commenced I was asked if anything had changed (i.e. medical, been on holiday and etc), and I had to sign and confirm this. I was then given disposable underwear to put on, and once ready to hop on the couch and put on the snazzy sexy laser protective glasses. The 'bits' I was unable to reach / shave was tidied up. The machine was then 'fired' up, ready to go, conductive gel was applied, and away we go, session 2 was about to commence. 

During the treatment

Knowing what settings to use on my skin / hair type and motion (figure of 8) had already been established during my first session, so this is what I expected during my 2nd session. However upon commencing the treatment, something felt a bit 'odd'; the laser felt a bit warmer than normal, but I put this down to perhaps because it was a warm day, I was a bit warmer and noticed the laser a bit more than previously. I did at times mention this to the practitioner but I was reassured the settings were the same as session 1 and nothing was different. At times it become too much, to the point where I was so tense and sweating, but I carried on as I confident the settings were ok and I was reassured it was ok. Conductive gel was applied to each section of the bikini area being treated, which did help a bit to soothe the area, but it was still a bit ''too much''. 

How did it feel?

As discussed above, this time the session felt a bit 'warmer', to the point where at times it was uncomfortable, but I continued with it. 

After treatment

The session lasted approximately 40 minutes, which is about the same time as session 1. As always I was given aloe vera gel to apply to the area, to help soothe and cool the area which actually felt really nice. This time however I noticed my skin was a bit red / sore looking but I wasn't phased by this as I figured it would go away in a day or two. 

Post treatment - weeks 1 - 4

Upon leaving the clinic and driving home (which is an hour away), I noticed the area started to feel a bit sore, like burning, immediately I thought something isn't right. So the minute I got home, I whipped off my underwear to check the area, and it was the same as I left the clinic, red. So I applied more aloe vera gel to the area and basically walked around my house in loose fitting clothing, allowing the area to breathe. A few days later the area became really sore, and I noticed on one area the skin looked really dark. I wasn't quite sure what it was, so I immediately called the clinic and spoke to Tara, the Director. She was incredibly disappointed to hear what had happened, and asked me to explain to her exactly it looked like and etc. I wasn't at all cross / upset, it's just one of those things. My main concern was just trying to heal the area as quickly as possible. I avoided exfoliating the area for a while as I didn't want to aggravate the skin, but I continued applying aloe vera morning and night, and I believe that was the 'saviour' in healing the area in time for session 3 (blog post coming soon on treatment 3). 

Overall: Although I've only had 2 sessions and I had a 'ho-ha' from the 2nd session, the hair regrowth has become so sparse, and the hairs are incredibly thin. I'm just so much more happier already and I am nowhere near finishing treatment. I am still surprised that I've had no ingrowing hairs, but I put that down to religiously exfoliating and the hairs no longer coming back curly (TMI)! 

I have had my 3rd session, currently 2/3 weeks post treatment, so I will update in a few weeks time.


18 October 2015

Hollie Guard: Personal Safety App

I'm not one for usually blogging about mobile Apps and etc because lets face it, the internet is saturated with such posts. However this App I felt was imperative to blog, as the concept is such a good idea, although the story behind why this app has been created remains incredibly sad.

February 2014, Hollie Gazzard, a 20 year old Hairdresser from my hometown was brutally murdered by her ex boyfriend. During police investigation Hollie endured Domestic violence, but failed to mention many of the events to family / police. Over the past year her family have campaigned tirelessly in bid to clamp down on knife crime but also raise awareness around domestic abuse. This evening I visited my local newspaper website to see her parents launch the mobile App, Hollie Guard. Of course, fascinated with new apps, I downloaded it straight away to see what the app was about.

Hollie Guard is a personal safety app that simply enhances your level of protection. It enables you to set up alert profiles so should you find yourself in a situation whereby you do not feel comfortable / scared, you are able to alert family / friends with a simple shake of your phone. 

There are 3 alert profiles:
Personal Alert - A generic alarm profile that can be be customised with the picture of your choice. A second shake will produce a flashing light and high-pitched beep to draw attention to the situation.

Stealth Alert - Stealth Alert lets you secretly and silently raise an alert, which is perfect for situations where you don’t want anyone to know that an alert has been raised. 

Deterrent Alert - This alarm profile makes it very obvious to anyone looking at the phone that an alert has been raised and that your location, along with evidence, has been uploaded. A second shake will produce a flashing light and high-pitched beep to draw attention to the situation.

Not only can you personalise one of the three profiles, you can also add / tweak the app to add extra protection for when you are travelling or working alone. My main concern is travelling alone, especially at night. I get incredibly anxious and scared and often usually seek to get lifts home with people I trust; very rarely will you find me in a taxi on my own because I fear for my personal safety. This app gives me some comfort that should I find myself in a situation whereby I do not feel comfortable, I can alert people of my whereabouts and etc. 

I tried this app with my brother this evening, and it really does work. In order to use the app, you do have to create a profile, so you need to register creating a username and password. I originally tried to do this on my phone but it wouldn't play 'ball', so I did it on my laptop. I then began to navigate my way around the website / app which was pretty straightforward. I inputted my brothers contact details (name, email address and mobile number) into the app, which was very easy, no problem at all. I then launched the app on my phone to test, and sure enough the alert worked. In order to activate the alert, you need to shake the phone. At first I was dubious that a slight shake of the phone would alert 'every man and his dog' that you're in difficulty, but a percentage pie chart comes up on the screen; if your shake does not hit the 100% mark, alerts will not be triggered. Once you hit the trigger point, the contacts saved will be notified of your difficulty; they receive a text message, GPS location and a secret video recording. Within seconds of me testing, my brother sure enough received all notifications which I was incredibly impressed with.

First impressions of this app, I am incredibly pleased with what it has to offer and its soul purpose. It has definitely restored some confidence for when I take journeys on my own; knowing I can alert people by a simple 'shake of my phone' is comforting. The app is still new and I suspect may encounter a few 'teething' problems (as with most new apps). But I definitely believe this is an app everyone (men and women) should have on their phones for their own personal safety.


8 October 2015

Soprano Laser Hair Removal | Session 1

Last month I mentioned that I was going ahead with laser hair removal of my bikini area. I know . .I know, the thought sounds incredibly painful, but stay with me as I take you on this exciting journey.
So I booked a package which consists of 6x sessions, at 4 weeks apart. Usually this wouldn't be the case (usually stretching to every 6 weeks). But because the hairs are dark, my skin is dark and the hairs grow quick, the practitioner and I decided to treat every 4 weeks. Fair enough, I thought.

Preparation prior to session 1

A week before my first session I 'upped' my exfoliating game; going from once a week, to three times a week. I figured this was a good head start to getting use to doing this once the treatment had started as I want to minimuse ingrowing hairs as much as possible.
So the day of treatment had arrived and I was advised upon arrival for the first session to ensure that I had shaved as much as I could of the area. Now let me tell you this, shaving your 'foo' yourself is the hardest thing EVER, whilst trying not to 'cut' your delicate region! The precision and focus on my face was an utter picture (tongue to one side, slow and careful). I did however decide that I didn't want the bald / plucked chicken look, so opted for a Hollywood finish, so left a 'line' which I thought looked ok. Because we're not all brilliant, there were some bits I could not reach, so I left that for the practitioner who was happy to shave off.

At the clinic / preparation before session

When I arrived, I was greeted by the Director of the business, Tara McCullough, who was friendly and so welcoming. Before treatment could get underway, Tara briefly went through my notes and etc, explained what would happen and I was asked to sign on the dotted line confirming I was happy to proceed. I was then handed a pair of disposible knickers / thongs to put on and hop onto the couch. The areas that I was unable to reach shaving, the practitioner kindly tidied the area, ensuring no hair was visible / on the surface of the skin. Using a white crayon pencil the area was marked out so the practitioner knew how much of the area was being treated. I was given some safety glasses to wear to protect my eyes, clear cold conductive gel was applied to the area, the machine was 'fired up' and the session was about to commence.

During the treatment

Because this was the first session, it was hard to know exactly what setting to use on the area. Using the figure of 8 motion the practitioner focused on one area of the bikini area, upping the setting bit by bit to a setting that was tolerable, but not excruciatingly painful. Doing this for a certain amount of time ensured the laser was targeting / killing as many of the hair follicles as possible. I was always asked how did the area feel, often asked to give a rating out of 10. Once I hit the rating of 6/7 the practitioner knew at that stage it was at the right setting which was tolerable, but not to a point I couldn't bear it.

How did it feel?

Because the hand-held gun of the laser has a cooling system which is ice cold, this helped to keep the skin cool making the treatment a lot more tolerable. Not going to lie, it is not completely painless, it is more of a discomfort but quickly eases. The sensation is more of a prickling which is the root of the hairs being zapped, but it's not sore / painful.

After treatment

The session lasted for approximately 40-45 minutes, which is a bit longer than usual due to the skin type that I have and the area being treated. Once the treatment had finished, I was given aloe vera to apply, to help soothe the area and also help with the healing process. Surprisingly my skin was not red or irritated which I was very happy to see. I was informed however that in the coming weeks, especially weeks 2/3 the hairs would begin to fall out, but I was to make sure I exfoliated 3 times a week to prevent ingrowing hairs.

Post treatment - weeks 1 - 4

A day or 2 after the first session, I immediately noticed the hairs were growing back slowly. I noticed I wasn't suffering with ingrowing hairs which I suspect is because I have been religiously exfoliating 3x times a week. I was also expecting the area to be incredibly itchy during the regrowth stage, however I have to admit, it hardly bothered me. I did however ensure I applied aloe vera every day, morning and night, wanting to make sure the area is cared for well during the treatment process.

Overall: A good first session which surprised me, and I cannot wait for the end results.

I have had my 2nd session however I am currently 2 weeks post treatment, so will review in 2 weeks time.

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