Summertime means bathing suits, shorts, sleeveless shirts – and lots of shaving! The stubble, the irritation, the razor bumps…ugh! Perhaps you have tried waxing and found it painful or, well, just a pain. What’s a girl – or a guy with a hairy body – to do?
If you ask Mary Beth Lambert, certified medical electrologist (CME) and owner of Laser Affair in the Somerset Professional Park in Tampa Palms, laser hair removal is the answer. And she will tell you the benefits of it with unabashed enthusiasm because this Dade City native and long-time Tampa Palms resident loves her job.
“I like the satisfaction people get from it (laser hair removal),” Mary Beth relates. “People try it, and the next thing you know, they are bringing in a friend or a cousin.”
You might be surprised to learn that many wives are sending their husbands to her salon too.
“About 35 percent of my customers are men,” she says. “Men or women…people are just more confident when they are well-groomed.”
Mary Beth says that laser hair removal is second only to Botox as the most popular nonsurgical cosmetic procedure. Many people assume that waxing takes second place, but she says that assumption is incorrect.
“Laser hair removal is preferable to waxing because it is permanent — you don’t have to grow your hair out before the treatment and it doesn’t leave your skin irritated,” Mary Beth explains. “Waxing can leave your skin raw and if it isn’t done properly, can even take off a layer of skin.”
She says laser hair removal is relatively painless, feeling similar to the snap of a small rubber band on your skin, and results in a 70-98 percent permanent hair reduction if the procedure is done by a skilled technician using the appropriate laser. Proper equipment is a key factor in determining effectiveness and safety.
“I use a laser that is the gold standard in the industry for treating people with light to medium skin types,” she says. Called the Alexandrite by Candela, it is an FDA-approved laser that precisely targets the melanin in the hair shaft, inflicting “injury” to the cells lining the hair follicle and inhibiting future growth.
“It is the most effective hair removal laser in the industry,” she says.
Mary Beth obtains a full health history of every patient and says it’s a safe procedure for most people ages 14 and older. She not only uses the laser on herself but also on her teenage daughter.
“It is a nonionizing laser, and unlike an x-ray, does not change the structure of your molecules,” Mary Beth explains. “It is simply the radiation of light and is FDA-approved for your skin.”
Skin type plays a major role in the effectiveness of the treatment. To determine skin type, Mary Beth consults with each client before any treatment is scheduled. If you have a darker skin type that would be more effectively treated with another laser, she will tell you.
“For safety and the best results, it is imperative to be treated with the correct laser for your skin type and hair color,” she says. “Some facilities put a ‘private label’ on their laser, but there are lots of inferior products out there.
You should insist on knowing the manufacturer and wavelength (of the laser), and run as fast as you can if the technician doesn’t know!”
Since most laser treatments require approximately six visits, clients of Laser Affair appreciate having the same technician perform each treatment. Privacy is respected and, because of a shared office/reception arrangement with two other businesses, a client’s reason for visiting the salon is not apparent to curious passersby.
Laser hair removal is not cheap, but if you take into account the cost of shaving over a lifetime – with razors, blades, creams and gels – or the costs associated with repetitive waxing, you can make a pretty strong case for the purchase. Mary Beth says her goal is not to get a client into the facility as many times as possible, but to achieve optimal results with a minimal number of treatments.
Some treatments require more visits than others. At Laser Affair, you can purchase treatments individually or by the package. The price is determined by the area being treated. A man’s back, for instance, will cost more than a woman’s upper lip.
Any area of the body may be treated, except for the orbital rim of the eye. Popular areas for women are the face, underarms, bikini area/Brazilian, and legs. Popular areas for men include ears, neck, back, chest and “manzilian” (Think: male version of the Brazilian).
When someone is aiming a laser at your most sensitive body parts, you want that person to be highly qualified for the job. Only a medical doctor (M.D. or D.O.), nurse practitioner (ARNP), physician’s assistant (P.A.) or CME may legally perform laser hair removal in Florida. Mary Beth has seven years of experience as a CME and laser technician.
She graduated from the Esthetic Laser Institute in Orlando and is licensed by the Florida Department of Health and Florida Board of Medicine as a CME. She also is licensed as a certified clinical electrologist (CCE).
A medical electrologist must operate under the direct supervision of a medical doctor. Laser Affair’s medical director is well-known local Board-certified plastic surgeon Gerard Mosiello. M.D. Dr. Mosiello, whose Tampa Palms Plastic Surgery practice is located in the suite next to Mary Beth’s salon, monitors all charts at Laser Affair.
“If I have a question or concern, I don’t hesitate to consult him,” Mary Beth says. “He reviews all my charts.”
Among Mary Beth’s many satisfied patients is hair designer Gwen Stewart, who is halfway through her series of six treatments. “Mary Beth makes you feel very comfortable,” Gwen comments. “She talks you through the process and guides you.”
Gwen, who has waxed her unwanted hair in the past, says laser hair removal is not as painful. “It feels like a little twitch and then goes away,” she says. “I have been very happy with the experience.” She says her treatments take less than 30 minutes apiece.