Pardon me for dredging this post back up, but I’ve had several people ask me some questions about electrolysis and how they can get the most for their money with this process. As I didn’t want to have to continually repeat myself, I felt that it would be better to bring this post back, add some additional info to the original post and toss it back out for those who need this info.
Being both an electrology client and a practitioner, I have had a chance to see all of the most common problems that can crop up with a treatment – from both ends of the probe. I would like to pass on a few things that can greatly enhance both the comfort and effectively of a treatment, promote healing time between treatments, and get the process completed as soon as possible.
!!! NOTE !!!: Before you start: You need to make the following determination; Do you have both the financial resources and the self-motivation to see it through to the end? Permanent hair removal does not happen overnight and does cost money.
The decision to persue permanent hair removal must be yours and yours alone. No one should try to influence your decision in this area. You are the one who must keep up with the treatment process until it is completed, as well as pay for the services of the practitioner you decide to go with.
Here is a list of the things that need to be attended to while going through the process:
A good initial consultation:
When you first consult with an electrologist, it is essential that you advise them of any and all medications that you are currently taking and any medical conditions for which you are currently receiving treatment. It is also essential that you notify your electrologist of any medications changes or new conditions.
Many medications have the effect of stimulating hair growth or can sensitize the skin to the effects of electrology. Conditions, such as diabetes, can affect your ability to heal properly after treatment, especially in the extremities.
Keeping your medical history current with your electrologist not only insures the best possible treatments, but can protect you from unwanted problems or waste of time and money.
Sometimes an electrologist will decline treatment if he/she decides from the consultation that the client may not be a good candidate for electrology. This may be due to a variety of reasons and does not necessarily mean a permanent downcheck.
If the electrolygist that you are consulting with has integrity, they may indicate that they have observed medical or heredity-determined conditions that should be looked into by the proper practitioner, perhaps a physician or other specialty, prior to beginning treatments. If this is the case, it would be a good idea to get these things checked out and treated as necessary prior to beginning electrolysis.
The electrologist is obviously concerned that these conditions could result in unnecessary risks to your health or skin, or frankly, just be a waste of both your time and money. If you are experiencing a condition that is causing you hair growth quicker than it can be epilated, you will never get the hair-free appearance that you desire. Part of the professional electrologist’s training is to spot these conditions and advise the client appropriately.
An improperly hydrated client is the most common complaint among electrologists. As electrology depends on the moisture gradient for effectiveness, a client who has not been drinking enough water requires a higher power setting or longer treatment times per hair. This reduces the effectiveness of the treatment session. A good electrologist finds this to be exasperating. I know that I like to see my clients get the most for their money.
The best thing that a client can do for themselves is to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day for the three days prior to a treatment. It is also a good idea to avoid the consumption of alcoholic beverages for at least 3 days before a treatment. Drinking caffeinated beverages the day of treatment is also not a good idea. Besides increasing neuro-activity and increasing sensitivity to discomfort, these beverages have a diuretic effect which pulls moisture out of the tissues.
This is one area that is absolutely essential both before and after treatment. While electrology is not considered invasive, medically speaking, it still offers openings for bacteria and other micro-organisms to get through the skin’s natural defenses.
I appreciate it when a client comes to me without any trace of makeup or foundation in the areas that I am about to treat. These products have the ability to hold bacteria and spores and must be removed prior to the area being disinfected and treated. I have had cases where it has taken me up to 20% of a client’s treatment time to get them to the point where it was safe to work on them. This really disturbs me as I am very concerned about my client’s well-being, plus the quality and quantity of hairs that I can treat during an appointment.
Aftercare is also a time where cleanliness is essential. Most problems concerned with healing after a treatment go back to the client’s care of themselves after they leave my office.
The most serious problems that I’ve seen are a direct result of the client feeling the areas just treated. Unless their hands and treatment areas have been through an autoclave or dry heat sterilizer, they have a large population of bacteria and other opportunistic organisms just looking for an opportunity to feed on them at their expense. Running your fingers over an area that’s freshly treated is guaranteed to rub bacteria and other organisms into the follicles that were epilated, furnishing these organisms with an ideal growth environment.
KEEP IT CLEAN, BUT DO NOT OVER-DO IT!
Cleaning of the areas treated should be limited to a gentle washing with a mild soap. No scrubbing the area with a washcloth. Rinse the area thoroughly with warm water and then pat the area dry with a clean, dry towel. Avoid using antibiotic ointments, unless prescribed by your physician, as they not only have the ability to hold bacteria and spores in place but can be an irritant or allergen to many people’s skin.
Avoid exposure to the sun!
Sunburn is one of the most effective ways to damage a treated area that I know of. Electrolysis works by destroying the regenerative tissues in the follicles by means of chemical action, heat or the combination of both. Adding a sunburn to this is just asking for trouble! If you must be outside for the next couple of days following a treatment, wear a hat or other protective clothing to prevent excessive exposure of the treated areas. Use of a non-oily sun block of the highest value obtainable is also highly recommended.
Do not be afraid to give your electrologist feedback on problems.
Sometimes after a series of treatments, you will begin to notice things like slower healing, unusual post-treatment conditions and reactions and other things that cause you concern or discomfort.
It is important to keep a dialogue going with your electrologist. Be sure to inform them of anything you notice that is not normal. Most electrologists are very concerned for their clients and will be more than willing to listen to your concerns and make suitable adjustments to the treatment process as necessary. After all, your satisfaction and well-being are the key to their success.
Stick to your schedule!
Once you consult and agree to a treatment schedule, stick to the plan! Once an area is initially cleared, any regrowth will be the hairs that were either shedding or in the dormant stage before regrowth. This means that any further hairs that are treated will now be in the active growth stage, shallower, easier to treat and have a much higher ratio of effective permanent removal.
There is no such thing as total instant gratification when it comes to permanent hair removal. It will take a series of clearings over the period of about 9 months to 1-1/2 years (sometimes a bit longer - we’re all different) to get an area totally hair free, depending upon the regrowth cycle for the particular area that you are getting worked.
The best approach is to get what ever amount you can afford to have done on a weekly basis. When one area is worked completely, or nearly so, the electrologist can work into other areas and go back and get the few strays or new growth in previously worked areas on a periodic basis, or as time becomes available after clearing the current areas of interest.
Just as having a good electrologist is essential to a good treatment, the client also plays a key role in the process as well. If you complete a portion of the treatment plan and then stop, do not be surprised if you get some hair growth back in the areas that you had worked on. You can not blame the electrologist if you did not stick to it long enough to get all of the hairs properly treated.
I hope that this is useful to anyone considering or just starting electrolysis. I had to learn a lot of these things the hard way!
Best regards to all,