Desperate & Frustrated

I’m an eighteen-year-old guy and absolutely cannot stand my body hair! As a student, I don’t have the money to treat large areas on my body at one time, so I had to pick a region that bothers me the most and start there; I decided on my face. Initially, I set out to have just my upper lip cleared, but have since moved onto my cheeks. At the time, I figured that (because it was a smaller area), electrolysis would be my best option.

I did some research on practitioners in my region (Shelton, Connecticut), but was only able to find a handful. Of those that I found, only one was within a reasonable driving distance. I made an appointment for a consultation and have been seeing the woman on a regular basis (approximately once a week; at first for fifteen minute sessions and eventually for an hour at a time) since early last year.

My facial hair is a big problem in my life, feeding into my depression, lowering my self-esteem and causing me to avoid most social interaction. College looms closer and closer for me (coming up this fall) and I just can’t see how I’ll survive there given the demanding workload if I can’t at least achieve some contentedness with myself.

What’s brought me to post on this forum is the frustration I’m feeling with the results I’ve achieved so far. The woman I see is a very nice person, but the way my treatments have been going is starting to seriously upset me.

First of all, the pain is almost unbearable! I apply a generic version of EMLA (a cream by Fougera) with an occlusive dressing (some saran wrap placed over the area) one hour before my appointments, but it doesn’t seem to help very much. Just last week, the pain was so bad that I cried for a time afterwards. I try to drink plenty of water a few days prior to an appointment and avoid caffeine entirely at all times. Nothing seems to help, though! I’ve told her about all this, but she hasn’t offered up any effective solutions. Sometimes (but very rarely) she’ll adjust the setting, but I don’t know whether she’s turning it up or down or what. As painful as it is, my skin doesn’t seem to be especially effected. I have some redness post-treatment that goes away within a few hours. Every once and awhile there’ll be some of what looks like blood beneath the skin, but I don’t think I’ve ever experienced scabbing.

She’s said that she finds thermolysis to be more painful and switched to blend a few times to try and dull the pain, but they are both almost equally unbearable for me; albeit, in slightly different ways. As of late, she’s told me that she’d prefer to use the blend method because it’s more effective than thermolysis. I was under the impression that the latter is preferred; that blend is too slow and not so substantially better to warrant its use. According to her, however, blend offers a 95% “kill percentage” while thermolysis can only boast 15%. She described thermolysis to me as a quicker alternative visually—that the hairs are seemingly being removed faster, but a very large percentage grow back. Nothing on the forums or HairFacts has lead me to believe this information is completely accurate and it’s really upset me since I was only informed recently. I’ve been receiving thermolysis treatments for upwards of eight months. Have I been enduring all this pain and spending my money in vain?

That’s not to say I haven’t achieved some results. The reason I want my upper lip cleared is because of the shadow that’s left behind when I shave, use depilatories, etc. Initially, the hair was extremely dense. It’s definitely more spaced out now and some hairs seem to grow back thinner. The shadow is still very visible, however, and I need it completely gone before I go off to school this fall. I asked her if this was a realistic expectation and she told me that it was, but only if I opted for blend. The problem is, on my upper lip, blend is extremely painful. I just can’t stand it!

Also, after several complete clearances of my upper lip, only a sparse number of hairs grow back from week to week while the shadow beneath the skin remains very noticeable. I inquired about this, and she told me to use Epsom salts to help draw the hairs out faster. I’ve hot-compressed with them a couple times a week (as instructed) from time to time, but it doesn’t seem to do much of anything. Would laser be more beneficial in this situation? Are hairs that haven’t broken through the skin even treatable?

I guess I’m asking for some reassurance and suggestions. I don’t really know where to turn next, but I need to make a decision fast since I’m on a clock. I think it’s kind of ridiculous for me to dread my electrolysis appointments as much as I do because of the pain I have to endure. I’m seriously considering canceling an appointment I have for next week because of how much it hurts me. And this is after eight months of putting up with it! It’s come to the point where I just can’t stand it anymore. I don’t know of any other practitioners in my area, though, so I would be extremely grateful for a referral if someone is familiar. I apologize for my long-winded post. I don’t really have anyone else to discuss these issues with, so at the very least this has provided me a chance to vent my frustration.

Thank you so very much! <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/frown.gif" alt="" />


How many hours have you had all together?

I found electrolysis painful at times, and also frustrating. But I stuck with it and it has really made a difference. Firstly I had 9 laser sessions with Lightsheer.
That was followed by 109 hours of electrolysis to date.
They used thermolysis at first, but now some blend mixed in.

The last remaining area with any hair is my throat/neck area and that is pretty miniscule compared to when I started. Some areas of my face are probably 99% hairfree now.

Yes, I know it hurts sometimes and seems frustrating, but if you stick it out it will work.Keep usin the emla and perhaps some tylenol 3’s before treatment sessions.



Unfortunately, I haven’t kept records of the dates of my appointments or the exact amount of time I’ve been treated for. I would estimate that, solely on my face, I’ve been under the needle for at least sixteen hours.

As far as the pain is concerned, electrolysis has always hurt me very much. However, it used to be tolerable. I could lay there and withstand it. But lately I find it unbelievably awful. I’m at a loss for an explanation as to why there’s been this shift in the amount of pain I experience. My diet hasn’t really changed much; if anything, I’m avoiding caffeine and sweets, drinking more water, and eating more regularly and healthier in general.

I tried some over-the-counter painkillers, but they didn’t seem to help much. I was worried about pushing the dosage and damaging my liver or developing an ulcer.

I keep trying to remind myself that once the hair is permanently gone I’ll be so much happier. It’s much easier to maintain that mindset when you’re not laying on your back and seeing stars, though. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/frown.gif" alt="" />

Thanks for your input and words of encouragement!


I have to get a prescription for the tylenol 3’s but they do help. I don’t think taking them should be a problem for your system unless you do it every day.

The emla helps, but you need it on for at least an hour, and the effect does not last that long.If your sessions exceed an hour it loses its effectiveness.

In the end I had to tough it out sometimes. I needed to get rid of the hair if I am to be able to function without harassment. It was the lesser of two evils to take a bit of pain for the long term gain.

If you can stick it out though it will work in getting rid of your hair problem.


fabtik, if you’re a female, I would strongly recommend you get tested for hormonal imbalance, possibly PCOS, or other underlying medical conditions. If you really have that much hair on those areas, there is a good chance you might have a medical condition that should be first controlled with medication before getting hair removal. otherwise, your body will keep continuing to develop new hair and results will be very slow at best. It’s best to see a good endocrinologist who can test you for any issues you might have.

I haven’t actually asked my doctor for prescription pain medication, but I have a feeling that he won’t prescribe me any. He’s aware that I’m still struggling with depression and probably thinks I’m suicidal, not to mention the fact that doctors always seem kinda hesitant to give the younger crowd such powerful medication. I think I’ll ask, though. I guess it can’t hurt.

Also, I’m not female. I sometimes wish I had some treatable condition rather than just bad genes, though.

Thank you both very much for the help!

If the excessive pain I’m experiencing isn’t due to an inept practitioner (but rather, is just something I’ll have to better cope with), I’d still appreciate some feedback on the “kill ratio” percentages that were provided to me. Additionally, I remain confused as to why there is such a large amount of hair that seems to be trapped beneath the skin of my upper lip from week to week. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/confused.gif" alt="" />

I apologize in advance for being sounding harsh as I know all of us on this forums are sensitive about our unwanted hair. But maybe you should considering seeing someone other then an electrologist to help you with your depression. I’m actually quite familiar with you condition, and it’s simply called being a man.

why does having facial hair bother you so much? you are a male, and as a male, your expected to have facial hair. i guess im confused why your so distrought over facial hair as a man, of all the body locations to be so embarrased about


I don’t think that doctors have a problem prescribing tylenol 3’s, but they may just give you a small amount at a time.

Some people claim a better kill ratio with blend, but they used mostly thermolysis on me before. Now we do a combination of both. If you maintain a regular schedule as recommended by your electrolygist you will get rid of the hair in time. I had a lot of upper lip hair, and I probably have less than 1 percent of that now.

I think that your reasons for not liking the hair are personal. Just because you are male does not mean you have to like facial hair. Other people can speak for themselves.
Your body-your choice!


Thanks very much, Aliciadarling. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

I put in a call to my doctor, so he’ll probably get back to me by the end of today or Monday. My appointment’s on Tuesday, and you’ve definitely convinced me that I should keep them up. I hope to get a prescription (even if it is a very small amount at a time) and that it’ll help me deal with the pain better.

I’m very grateful for all your help!

Edit: Well, I heard back. He said he can “absolutely not” prescribe Tylenol 3’s or a pain medication of similar strength. He also mentioned that the EMLA should be more than enough and that if it’s hurting this much I shouldn’t be getting it done. Not the most encouraging of news. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/frown.gif" alt="" />

The overwhelming majority of my clients who are hydrated, don’t consume caffeine, don’t smoke, sleep and eat well, and don’t abuse alcohol or drugs for 3 days prior to treatment find the experience to be anywhere from comfortable to tolerable.

If you have not checked out everyone in your area before sticking with this person, you still need to do some more sample treatments with others.

So many things can make a big difference to your treatment (but the marble floor isn’t one of them <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/tongue.gif" alt="" />).

Fab, this is horrible to hear. I also have thick facial hair and I have gotten it treated several times. I would say you should go with laser for sure. My brother has gotten like 10 laser treatments on his face and his face is clear and clean, looks like he is 11. He was treated with a Lightsheer. If the pain is too much use numbing cream. I know that is still hurts with this, so what else can you do. I would say take some shots, Alcohol, use it to kill your nerves. I always drink before getting treated, just don’t get plastered. I usually drink a lot before getting treated, that way it kicks in while I’m getting treated. The alcohol will wear away as you get treated. Once you have done these other two things, I say you have Suck it in. I have gotten my face done with no numbing cream and no alcohol before, and I have to say IT HURTSSS, since I have a thick beard. But you have to think of the results and put your train of thoughts into something else. I hope this helps, Good luck

Use of alcoholic beaverages causes dehydration and decreases the effectiveness of the treatments.

I am currently in the process of moving over to electrolysis for my face after only average(at best) results from laser treatments. I had about seven laser treatments(Candela Gentlelase)on my face and neck. The hair thinned some but not as much as I wanted it to. I haven’t had electrolysis done yet so I can’t comment on the sensation, but when I had laser treatments on my face I learned a new definition of pain. It will bring tears to your eyes. On the plus side, it should only take 30 minutes for a laser treatment, and then you can only hope for good results.

If possible get a short treatment from another electrologist just to compare the pain.

If both laser and electrolysis are going to hurt like hell, I would recommend staying with electrolysis, since it has been proven to work.

Good luck.

For a male’s face, a YAG laser is recommended as it’s more gentle and will get the most coarse hairs first and fastest. It will hurt somewhat, but not as bad as LightSheer or GentleLASE and post-treatment effects won’t be as bad. I would also suggest you get a few laser treatments to get as much as you can get with laser and then finish the rest with electrolysis. Whatever will remain after laser will be finer and easier treated with electrolysis as well. good luck.