Electrolysis in Philadelphia, PA- Journey & Pics

Today is 2/10/2015.

About me:
I am from Trinidad. I have medium brown skin and very thick, coarse hair. When I was around 18 years old, I started getting one or two stray hairs around my nipples. I didn’t tweeze them until months later, when I started dating my ex-boyfriend. Over the years, these hairs grew in number because of my tweezing them. I also had long very fine hairs under my chin, which couldn’t be seen except in certain light. I got laser treatment on my face at Monard MEd Spa, but it did not work. It was a complete waste of money, and it even burned my face in a minor way. I spent about $3000 up front at Monarch Med Spa, but I didn’t even finish the treatment because of the burns and after 7 out of 10 sessions, there was no reduction anywhere except arm-pits. I never got my money back, and I wish I had never done laser. I may as well have thrown your money into the toilet and flushed it.

Until 2011, I was also bleaching regularly. This usually worked. One day, I forgot to bleach. My then bf (now ex), pointed out my hair to me. When I laughed, he said- I’m not joking. You need to shave or do something to take care of that.

After his heartless comment until 2013, I discovered the epilator- looks like an electric razor, but has a million mini tweezers. I epilated to remove hairs. Epilation at first seemed like a god-send. All of my hair was gone, and there were no scars. It hurt, but the more I did it, the more I got used to it. My ex never saw hairs on my face again. I epilated my face and my chest, in addition to bleaching. I did not epilate my moustache (too soft of a region). I simply used Nair. Over the years, I realized that epilation was the worst thing I could do to myself. The hairs increased in number and thickness. Basically, tweezing/epilation rushes blood to the area to heal the hair root, and that causes more/thicker hair to occur.

I finally stopped epilating in February of 2013. Frustrated, I began looking for a permanent solution. I found electrolysis. I had stayed away from electrolysis for years because I read it was the most expensive option. However, I wish I had done it sooner. Unlike Monarch Med Spa, which only promises a permanent hair reduction (any amount) and requires an up-front fee in the thousands for 10 sessions, you pay $20-90 per session for electrolysis. You can pay as you go along, and you are not tied into any contract. Laser requires you to shave before treatment, and this is harsh because shaving does cause more hair to grow. For electrolysis, your don’t need to do anything before the appointments. I am writing this post to document my journey through electrolysis. I will update this post at least once a month, with pictures so you can see if this is for you.

I have been getting electrolysis done for almost one year. I live in the Philadelphia region. When I first started doing electrolysis around March 2014, I went to an electrologist in Springfield named Kay Ann Mcnamara.

The first time did not hurt at all, she gave me a free 5 minute trial during which she cleared part of my chin area. I believe she gave me a very mild current. The subsequent times, it hurt- although not intolerable, especially compared to laser. After a while, the treatments became more and more tolerable (perhaps my skin became used to it). I couldn’t wait until each session. After each session, most of my face would be cleared, and the hair would slowly grow back by the next appointment. I saw her every week for half an hour, religiously. She is incredibly busy, so she wasn’t able to see me a few weeks. On occasion, before a big event I would see her for an hour. Her costs are listed below:
30 minutes= $50.00
45 minutes= $72.00
1 hour= $88.00

About Kayann: I only saw Kayann for my face about 2 months (March-May 2013). Kayann has been practicing for decades, but she is very up to date with all the latest technology. A couple of times, it was difficult to get an appointment with her because she would book up fast. I only stopped going to her because she booked up fast, and then I didn’t get an appointment for a couple weeks, and by that time I had lost my job and couldn’t afford weekly treatments. I can’t comment about the effectiveness of her treatments, because I only saw her for two months. However, she never left a single scar or mark on my face. She never cancelled a single appointment. She is always on time. When I went to her facility, she is respectful and she knows what she is doing. I always felt like I was going to the spa. She always updates her technology and she is very safe. You can be assured that her equipment is clean, and that she is giving you the best treatment. She gets the thickest and most obvious hairs first, and does an even job just in case you run out of time. Only minor issues I had is that she uses a timer, so if she doesn’t get to certain hairs, you are completely out of luck and have to wait until next session. Still, she is great. Keep in mind I have gone for only two months, so I can’t give an opinion about reduction of hair. But she answers all your questions, she is extremely polite, and she is probably the best I have seen. I would wholeheartedly recommend her. As soon as I get a job, I plan to go back to her. Currently, I am seeing her once every couple of months for half and hour to tweeze my moustache and hairs on breastbone and nipples. That’s all I can afford right now. But for those of you who are not worried about money-- go to her if you can! If you are worried about not being able to get regular appointments, just schedule them a couple weeks in advance. You can always reschedule for free if you give her 24 hour notice.

Since May 2013, I have been seeing a Philly electrologist. “Electrolysis by Mindy” on Bustleton Ave. Mindy is a nice Jewish electrologist who has been practicing for 17 years. Mindy’s prices are much lower, and her schedule is far more flexible. I have been seeing Mindy since May, and have almost never missed a week. For each of my half hour sessions, Mindy charges $32/half hr. For those of you who are broke, I would definitely see Mindy. Mindy gets more hairs done than Kayann. Much more hairs. Kayaan takes more time with each hair, and only gives you exactly as much time as you pay for. Mindy doesn’t keep a strict time. Sometimes, she finishes your session 5 minutes early, sometimes she gives you 5 minutes extra. But I don’t think that is a big deal. If you want her to get a couple of extra hairs, she will always do that even if she is over your time limit. If you have the cancel, she is pretty flexible and doesn’t charge you.

I had Mindy do under my chin and my chest and stomach region. I decided not to have Mindy do my chest because my breast bone has tiny little marks to this day. It is a very sensitive area, and most electrologists I have done a session with has left tiny, minor scars. (If you are doing breast bone- I would recommend KayAnn, because you are less likely to have a scar with her, even though breastbone is very delicate and even KayAnn has left one or two marks on me, which look like tiny freckles). Mindy never leaves scars on the stomach. She did my lip once, and it did leave one little scar (so tiny you can’t see it except in certain light), so I don’t let her do my moustache anymore. She does under my chin/neck pretty well. There are little tiny marks on my neck from the electrolysis, but most people won’t notice it because they just look like dark freckles. Mindy doesn’t believe those are scars from electrology, but I know they are because I didn’t have them after Kayann, and because it’s my face so I keep record. I believe you can get rid of these tiny (never serious) brown specs with turmeric and yogurt. I will try it next month, and keep you posted on a future blog. So for under chin and neck and stomach and arm- go ahead and use Mindy. For moustache and breastbone- use KayAnn.

The amount of hairs since my initial visit in May 2013 and the thickness has not decreased since I have seen Mindy. I recently read that you have to see an electrologist for about 2 - 3 years before hair growth stops. Because of a snow storm in Jan, I did not see her for 2.5 weeks and after that I saw there were just as many hairs as I had started with. I get sad whenever I see the same amount of hairs that I started with.

However, here is the good part: 1. Hair never gets thicker (unless the electrologist is tweezing), so there are no disadvantages to doing it 2.Mindy is quite affordable and flexible 3. I used to go every week, but now I only need to go every 2 weeks. The hair grows back at a slower rate. For hairy people like myself, this is extremely important. It is painful and disheartening to have to remove hair every other day, so the fact that hair has started growing back at a slower rate is promising. When you get thick hairs in between sessions, just cut them using a tiny scissors. Mindy says not to use Nair, because this can make it worse, and I believe her. For those of you out there with blonde peach fuzz, I think it’s okay. But for those of us with black facial hair that is thicker in diameter, I would follow Mindy’s instructions and only use scissors in between treatments, as necessary. You can certainly use facial bleach (which will not work on thick hairs, but will work on thinner facial hairs).

I plan to go to Mindy for under my chin for another year and a half. I will document with pictures my progress every month, not just post sessions, but also in between sessions so you have a good idea of the electrolysis journey of someone who has been doing this for some time.

Keep reading future posts, as they will be available soon, with pictures.

Welcome to Hairtell, hairygal.

Thank you for your descriptive account of your attempts to get rid of your unwanted hair. Some boyfriends have no filters and just blurt out what they observe like a four year old.

I have a couple of comments. Just to set the record straight, shaving does not cause more hair growth. It just feels that way because the thickess part of the hair is cut and it feels like spikes at the skin’s surface. There have been several studies done since 1922 and they all confirm that shaving does not cause increased hair growth.

You are right. The skin does acclimate to the sensation of electrolysis and many people feel more comfortable as time goes by.

When clients say their hair GREW BACK in one or two weeks, I need to grab the duct tape (I feel like my head is going to explode!). Hair can’t grow back in one or two weeks if it was treated correctly. If it was tweezed or removed with an epilator, it can take anywhere from 6-16 weeks for it to re-appear. If the hair broke off a little bit below the surface of the skin, then that is what you could be observing, but I don’t think that your Electrologist would allow that to happen. We all know that we need to see a full hair structure when we lift out that newly treated hair. Sooooooooo, it is more accurate to say that the next group of hairs have come the surface. They are NEW hairs, not seen at the last session. The hair didn’t grow back!

Mindy and Kayann sound wonderful. (By the way, I don’t understand why Mindy was described as a nice Jewish Electrologist? What does her religion and cultural background have to do with her electrolysis abilities?)

We talk a lot about marks left on the skin after electrolysis. When you say “scars”, do you mean temporary normal skin reaction? Scars imply marks that will be there forever. If you are a woman of color, you could get tiny brown spots that will fade away with time, naturally. It’s not the electrologist’s fault. She or he can’t change your immune system response to injury. This happens to some people, but rest assured that it will resolve as new skin cells replace the shedding dead skin cells.

Yes, you need to go through the process of eliminating hair follicles as the hair appears on their own time schedule. This will take about 9 - 18 months. For people that tweeze or use other temporary methods, it could be 2-3 years? Whatever the time span, when people reach the end point they are wonderfully happy that they are smooth. Only electrolysis performed by a skilled person can assure a successful outcome. Sometimes the skin won’t look so perfect after a session. If you are concerned about skin outcome, please give feedback to your electrologist. She/ he can explain and teach you about what is normal.

I like when people use scissors, too. Bleaching is fine with me. I don’t like Nair for thick hair or thin hair if you are doing electrolysis (my opinion).

Again, thanks for your detailed account. I’m sure many look forward to seeing your pictures and hearing about your experience.

Hi dfahey.

Thanks for the comment! Are you a professional electrologist or someone who has gone through this situation? It is nice to hear from you.

As to my comment about her religion- it totally does not matter what her religion or background is and completely irrelevant to my post. I suppose it was subconsciously on my mind, because she and I were discussing culture that day.

I guess the dark spots on my brown skin bothered me because I never had any after my sessions with Kayann. The only place I had a slightly dark spot with Kayann was on the chest-bone area. Face wise, my face was slightly red and bumpy after each session but I never had any brown spots. I do understand that people of my skin tone might get a few brown spots, but underneath my chin is filled with them. I am not super worried about it because it is under my chin and therefore not super noticeable. I don’t let Mindy (though I love her dearly!) work on my lip area because the one spot she pulled a hair from has a brown mark that never healed- and I don’t want to risk such spots on my upper lip. Kayann had done my lips a couple times and there were no spots. Unfortunately, I can’t afford her currently, but I plan to go back to continue lip and chest treatments when I become more financially stable.

I did try to tell Mindy about the scabs and brown spots (that still have not disappeared after several months), but she politely informed me that I had those before, just freckles. I am quite aware of my skin having carefully observed it, so I knew it was not true- but I bit my lip there was really no point to argue.

A couple of marks here and there wouldn’t bother me terribly (especially under the chin)- but I have a lot of them now. While Mindy is doing a good job- I trust Kayann’s skill is more advanced.

I don’t know whether the several studies are conclusive or merely indicative. For example, when I was younger and had never shaved my legs, the hair was hardly noticeable. After I started shaving, they grew back in thicker almost within several months. I am not arguing your position, I am just saying I don’t know and therefore don’t want to rely completely on the sparse study based evidence that exists. But for what it’s worth- your analysis might definitely be correct- it makes sense. Mindy insists that using Nair or shaving will set me back between sessions- and since I am paying out of pocket while going through a financial trouble as it is, I just follow Mindy’s advice because I don’t want all the money I am spending to go to waste. I only use scissors to cut the hairs. It’s also possible that everyone’s hair responds differently to different hair removal methods. I am one of those people who would get a 5’o clock shadow if I were to start shaving my face, because my hairs are thick and would probably grow back spiky!

Actually yes- you are correct. “New hairs” sprouted back on the same part of them skin from exactly where that the electrologist treated- and not than the old hairs which she removed- because something that’s been removed can’t grow back.

I used to use an epilator on my chin for about an year or two. I used to use nair too. I stopped doing all of these things since around December 2012 and haven’t done so since. I feel like the prior epilating caused more hairs to grow and thicker. Is this possible? I have brown skin abc black hair. My face is okay, even my moustache is okay- but the hair under the chin is deplorably thick!

You can try a vitamin K based cream after your treatment.

What specifically is the Vitamin K based cream beneficial for?

It is the active ingredient in Auriderm which is supposed to help heal bruised/hemosiderin stained skin.

@ Camero… thanks I will try it out. Pics coming next week. Stay tuned!

Face Update #2

Today is Thursday, March 19. The past few weeks I had been going through depression again. On 3-3-2015, I had a half an hour session as usual. However, the very next day there was a lot of hair sprouting again. I kept cutting them every day with a small scissors, but they grew long and curly. (My hair has always been straight and short).

I was very sad as lately the hairs have been growing at a faster rate than in November. I had started out doing a session every week, and then I was doing every other week. I think I have to go back to doing a session every week. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to until I get a full time job. It is a little saddening that I felt the growth rate was reducing at one point and having biweekly sessions, to go back to weekly sessions.

I also feel alone because no one knows I am going through this condition. I am embarrassed to tell my friends and family. My mother would tell everyone (she never keeps secrets to herself), and I don’t feel comfortable telling my friends that I have to go through this. I feel like it is yet another thing I am going through that I have to keep inside. When the hairs grow in, I cut them but they grow back by the end of the day!

I think it’s tough for women, because outside of peach fuzz and thin hair, most women don’t have so much thick hair growth on their face. I am not saying it is highly uncommon to have it, just that majority of women don’t. I could tell people I have eczema (which I do), and it wouldn’t be awkward. However, thick stubble is often associated with men. To have a hairy face and a hairy chest makes me feel masculine.

As Mindy turns the voltage up, I get more and more dark little spots. After the little beep, sometimes I feel her pulling out the hair, or pulling out the wrong hair accidently. I feel like as a result of Mindy’s pulling (and sometimes working on thin hairs that don’t need attention or hairs higher up on my face that I don’t want her to work on, the hair grows thicker). KayAnn never yanks hair out. If after the first beep, the hair doesn’t come out easily, she beeps again and then the hair comes out easily. KayAnn is much slower though and has to miss more hairs. Anyone who has been through the process have any comments as to this? I am hoping I am mistaken about the feeling that hair is being pulled, and that if there is a beep then it is okay??? Can someone confirm this or set me right?

I had another session 3-17-2015 for half an hour. Mindy did as best as she could. Today, there isn’t too much growth yet (2 days after). Hopefully, it won’t grow back too fast. I have been getting electrolysis done for over an year now.