I need advice...

Hello all!

I have been scouring this forum to try to understand my predicament. Since I couldn’t put it all together, I have decided to just ask.

I live in a very small, almost rural town which has not a lot of choices for electrology, as you might imagine. I am a blatantly pudgy female with PCOS, and thus a fair amount of black hair in a sparse but dark “beard” on very light skin. I am not wealthy by any means and must sacrifice a lot in order for the weekly treatments.

I have been going 6 months now, with one hour a week sessions. (I had 2 hours a week the first weeks.) Around 25-30 hours total. I have not missed a single week in 6 months. I like the electrologist very much, and I know that she uses one of the highest settings on a thermolysis needle on me. I am pretty much ambivalent to the pain, except right under my nose. It stays red on my chin for almost the whole week, but clears up somewhat. It does not hurt, or blister or seem overtly damaged. It just stays red and slightly dimply. I assume this is normal and will fade when given the chance?

My problem is that it seemed like the hair growth had started to slack, and she could do a full clearance in 45 min-1 hour, no problem (the appointments have never been less in all these months.) But the last 2 weeks, the hair seems to be coming back like it did in the beginning. In fact, my last appointment, she finished only half my face and said the hour was up! She said she lost track of time. I was horrified to have to go out with half my face still hairy-- I had hoped she would do the darkest ones in the whole area instead of just all on one side, but I didn’t get the chance to say anything before she announced she was done because she had not watched the time more closely, and there was so much extra growth.

So, is this normal? I am nearly in tears because of the huge expense and time committment of the last 6 months seem almost for naught with the growth being almost just as full and annoying as it was when I began. I thought this was a permanent solution? Am I being duped? I am torn because I like her so much, I don’t want to accuse her of anything if she is doing everything right and it is just me-- she seems very very professional, etc. I do notice many times, I do feel her tugging the hair out, and I understand that is not a good sign-- but I also know she has zapped that hair 1 or 2 times, and still it tugs, so what is to be done? I always feel the hair being removed, either way. Just some hairs require more of a tug than others…I never feel that they are sliding out without any effort at all.

With no other options, and being broke by the cost, what would you advise? I read of success stories online which seem to take much less time than mine…I mean…maybe 6 months to a year, but not necessarily at 1 hour a week. I would not mind making the monetary sacrifices if I felt 100% confident it was leading to permanent removal…but I am just not seeing the results I expected-- am I expecting too much? How much longer do I “ride it out” to determine if it is a waste of time? Shouldn’t there be a great improvement after 6 months? With almost total clearance each week? I am just not sure what is to be expected, or if this is perfectly normal, and I just need to do it for a year. This 6 months of treatment has cost me almost $1500, and it still looks like it did in the beginning and I really am just devastated. Originally, I had only saved enough for 3 months, and she said there would be significant improvement in that time…but there wasn’t, so I continued, squeezing out every extra dollar I could. Now she says at least a year, if not more…am I just being led down the path?

Please set me straight, and give me some clear thoughts on the matter if you could.

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

my first question to you (since you know you have PCOS) is are you taking any medication for it, and also any medication that’s supposed to stop the NEW hair growth?

I am taking metformin, but I cannot take the spiro etc. as I am allergic. Is it just a hopeless cause if you have PCOS?

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

No, it is not hopeless.
In any event, you can get to the point where you are getting rid of the hairs as fast as they are coming in, and no one but you and your electrologist ever see your hair. Come to think of it, you can even get to a point where not even you ever see them, as your electrologist can remove hairs you never even see.

You will also want to read The Diet Cure by Julia Ross. It will help you potentially find some things you can do to stop new hairs from coming, so that your old ones are all you need to remove.

Thanks so much for the advise and book reference! I will check it out for sure. So, you think that all that can be done is being done, and it is not a total waste of $$? Because since the hairs are so dark, I can’t imagine a point where we can get to them before they are visible…but it is discouraging to go 6 months and have bascially the same amount of hairs still coming back and watching the money go out the door.

I had saved up, because it was a big deal, I mean, I sacrifice A LOT for this, and I did so, after being told that it would be much better in 3 months. You know what I mean? We do things based on the info given to us. If I had been told I could go 6 months and never see progress, I would not have started it because I knew what it would mean to my budget. If I was told that I could be going in forever, just getting the new hairs so I look OK…I certainly would not have started because I know I cannot afford “forever.”. But now that I have started…it seems a grave decision to stop and let it grow back (a wasted $1500 will give me an ulcer) or to continue in hopes…hoping each time that I am not just wasting more money until the time I have to stop in the future.

Is this really all PCOS? My sister has the same condition and lives in a bigger town (more choices), and was completely done in 4-5 months. She also takes metformin.

Sorry to be such a sad sack…but I am really weighing my choices carefully and am very grateful for all your advice. I will most definitely pick up the book suggested.

Thank you! H.

Since you are in violation of pet peeve number one here on Hair Tell (no location in your profile) we can’t help you to find the best person in your area.

If you got good treatment and appointments that were long enough, and frequent enough, you could quickly see a difference that would be plain to see and have smooth skin that looks like it never grew hair.

Truse me, I know, I clear out men’s faces. If they can get caught up in a short time, while still having full maleness you sure can.

you will not be completely done in 3-6 months just because of hair cycles. they all won’t be completed in that time frame. it takes at least 9-12 months. HOWEVER, you’ll see a difference within the first 3 months for sure. once you get the first clearance especially, you will only be going in to ge the new hairs, so you’ll pretty much be mostly hairfree most of the time.

Um…that’s my point. I have gone every week for an hour for 6 months, and the hair is pretty much the same as it was when I began. There is a slight delay in growth, but by the end of the week it has returned full force.

So you are telling me, I should have been pretty much hair free at 3 months? That’s why I came here in the first place…it just doesn’t seem right to go for 1 hour every week (double that in the beginning) and to see very little results. Am I crazy to be questioning this? It seems to be unusual? The problem for me is the cost. I don’t mind going every week, but shouldn’t I be close to done, and not right back at the beginning?

I know from reading here, I should go at least 9 months, but how can I go from still fully hairy to hair-free in 3 more months? The last 3 months are the miracle months? I just thought I should have seen some significant progress by now.

I am not sure how you are using the word “clearance” but she takes out ALL the dark hairs every single time I go, and yes, it is all back by the next week. Or, if not the same hairs, an equal amount of new ones (I don’t know how it works.) I thought the times should get shorter and shorter, and the hair less…but not in my case.

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

PS. I did not mean to violate a rule here by not telling my location, it is just completely irrelevant-- there is only 1 electrologist in town, the nearest other one is an hour’s drive, which I can’t do.


Can you describe your electrolysis session to us? What kind of equipment is being used - does she turn knobs or push buttons? Does she use magnification - a circle lamp or glasses like surgeons and dentists wear? Do you feel the hair being pulled out - is there resistance felt for most hair after it is treated and lifted out? What method is she using - thermolysis, blend, galvanic? I like to hear that she can clear you each time.

A lot of my work is with PCOS clients and the average case takes 5-6 hours just to clear, so we are talking about a very hairy face being brought under good control within 5-6 weeks. Thereafter, we get full clearance each time with the hair diminishing to a scattering of patches that can be treated easily every 2-3 weeks instead of every week. Session time is less, too. The first 6 months is the biggest hurdle and then you should be coasting to the end.

I can only describe what is possible and tell you that this is the usual beginning and outcome for almost all the cases that I see. I can’t begin to know your internal medical condition, but would think the medical issue that is being dealt with would coincide with the external help you are receiving with electrolysis.

The money thing is about as distressing as still having the hair. Most electrologists could have had you almost finished for $1500 or under. It happens everyday. I really think you owe it to yourself to drive somewhere else, even if it is an hour away. Visit www.electrology.com and read their FAQ’s section and other parts of the website.

Lastly, have you had a discussion with your electrologist about your concerns. Please talk to her, as she can see you face to face. Never hurts to communicate.

I have to admit, this is the kind of post that I find distressing because I know there is a way to solve your problem within a good time frame that will not force you to eat beans and peanut butter for the rest of your life. The keys to such a happy scenario is finding a SKILLED MODERN PRACTITIONER with decent speed. The situation can be made even nicer and sweeter if they use modern tools such as a computerized epilator and quality magnification and lighting.


Dear Holly,

There is no doubt that those of us with PCOS will see slower results with electrolysis and total treatment time is longer for us, however, if you feel that the hairs are consistantly being tugged, you might very well not be getting adequate treatment.

Also, please keep one thing in mind. Although I have up to date modern equipment, I have worked with enough electrologists and enough old and new equipment to know that new equipment over old equipment is no assurance of receiving adequate treatment. The advantage of modern epilator equipment is that it enables us to work more quickly and provide a more comfortable treatment for our clients. As a matter of fact, one of the most famous electrology offices in the country, the Fino Gior office, still uses the older epilators and they claim great results.

Living in a small town as you, you are indeed limited to acccess so don’t feel bad about finding an electrologist with old equipment; just make sure to communicate with the electrologist and ask why you feel so much tugging on the hairs as with most people, most of the time, those hairs should just glide out with no resistance.

Keep us posted. Good Luck.

what you’re describing kinda sounds like she’s just plucking the hairs. i would drive for a good electrologist if i feel my money was being wasted. can you describe what machine and method she uses? do you feel like the hair is being plucked?

Thanks guys-- here is more info, I hope:

She turns knobs, and the machines seems older. There is a foot pedal. There is no computer component as I have heard described on this forum. It is thermolysis. She has a lighted, magnified mirror on a big arm. The office seems professional.

I feel each and every hair being removed. It is hard for me to say if it is precisely like when I pluck it myself or not. She pulls, and then I feel it release. Some easier, some less. It is not like I don’t feel anything at all. Only some of them really hold on and she zaps them again and tries pulling to see if it is still so resistant, and those I feel absolutely clearly-- they do not want to come out. I mean, I can feel my skin tugging. On most hairs, my skin does not tug, but I do feel a little pull of resistance, I feel it release from what it was hooked to and then come out. It doesn’t smart exactly like when I pluck, so I have no idea if it is normal and I am just more sensitive or what. And sometimes a ‘pop’ then release when she pulls it out (not when it is zapping.) I have never felt like the hair just slides out “effortlessly” as elsewhere described. Not like it would just fall out on its own, if it was not removed with tweezers.

I would think, being she has done it for over 20 years, she would know if it is improper or not? I want to trust her because I like her, I guess, but this is what I am wrestling with.

I have asked her, trying politely, why I feel the tugs, or why it is taking so long, and she says “everyone is different.” Because I really like her as a person, I don’t think she would ever do it on purpose, but I have just had this nagging desire to ask other people if this is normal for treatment.

I have had 25+ hours, and my beard is not very thick, seriously…sparse, but dark. I suppose, though, there is a lot of hair in reality, when you look under a magnifying glass. It simply is not NEARLY so close or thick as a man’s. I did wax for a few years and I know that is horrible! (Now,I know-- haha!)

She has zapped a few on my lip which seem to stay away! I had only 3 or 4 black ones there and one might re-appear every 3 or 4 weeks. So, I have to think, she zapped them successfully. This adds to my confusion about the length of time on my chin. Does it make a difference that my chin is pudgy, say, different than someone with a chiseled, taut jaw? (I have no idea about these things, sorry if that is a silly question!)

I appreciate all your input!

Thank you, H. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

it’s hard to know if she’s doing a good job without having a treatment by 1-2 others. that’s when i was able to compare. i feel like you need one treatments with 2 others to compare. in general, it sounds like it’s done properly, although not with a new machine. is it painful? maybe settings are a bit low. Also, yes, you probably have a lot more hair than you think. First, it’s hard to tell how much underneath the chin, hard to see there yourself. also, even if you let if grow out before, you would only see about 1/3 of what’s actually there to be treated. plus, each hair would probably need to be zapped a couple times at least, especially since you waxed before. I never touched the hairs on my upper lip, only bleached, and only needed 5-6 treatments there. But on the breast area which I plucked before, I needed at least 10-15 for a lot less hairs.

So you’re saying you’ve been going every week for 6 months?

Your problem is… you are being plucked. It’s great that she is nice, but twenty years +++ of experience doesn’t equate with good, effective electrolysis treatment. Practitioner skill is number one whether one owns a circle lamp and a knob job or modern computerized equipment with surgical loupes. Practitioner skill doesn’t always equate with years in practice. Skilled electrologists are the ones who care to educate themselves and constantly analyze their work to see what they do correctly to reach excellent outcomes for their clients. Don’t be fooled by the number of years one has been in practice. Fancy credentials and initials can also be a fooler as well in some cases.

We electrologists respectfully differ at times on the equipment issue, but we still love each other all the same. If I may digress for a moment and try to clarify my point? Let’s try this approach: pick any field of work like science, business, education, medicine, engineering, law, aviation, military, music, etc. and you will see that the tools of the trade that were used in the 1970’s and 1980’s are now either obsolete or have been vastly improved. We don’t listen to 8-track tapes anymore, do we? We’re all about cd’s and ipods. We don’t type our thesis on a typewriter, we use a word processor on a computer. Even our war machinery is laserfied as opposed to WWII equipment. Electrolysis is no different. We have better epilators, better probes, better eyewear, better lighting, but not all electrologists have decided to move forward. They are not required to and will only do so if and when they choose. Imagine, if an electrologist is skilled with the “old knob job”, then just think what she could offer the trusting client with that perfected skill using a computerized epilator. I hope that clarify’s this equipment issue for you, as I certainly would be unhappy with myself if I were to confuse any consumer with this issue.

As I said, and I passionately stand by what I said, if you find a practitioner with skill and modern equipment, you are on the road to great looking skin and permanent hair removal that is very tolerable in the shortest time possible. If you can’t aim for the highest possible standards, then you will have to settle for what is available and at the very least, convince your practitioner not to pluck you anymore.

This is why sites like hairtell exist. Your questions are good ones. Please try out some other practitioners if you can.


Thanks so much Dee–

I appreciate your input about the equipment as well as being plucked. I suspect that only some small percentage of hairs are being eliminated each time, and thus my long drawn out problem. The worst is that she told me that plucking was an absolute no-no! So it is probably stimulating more growth, and that is why at 6 months, I had a surge in excess hairs (?)

I understand about the equipment, of course before I started this journey, I did not know anything about the different machines, etc. I guess I kind of expected to be educated about the whole process by the electrologist that I went to (plus I kind of assumed there was only one universal machine!) I don’t think mine has any interest in updating the equipment, actually, just by some comments she has made about possibly leaving the business eventually. But still, if she trained on this older equipment, I would presume the technique has not changed, if she was getting results. But I cannot say if she was. I do get kind of worried when she tells of patients she has been working on “forever.”

For what it’s worth, it is not for lack of will that I do not drive to another town to try someone else to compare, it is really due to the fact that my car is on its last legs and I can only use it for essential travel of short distances. As I have said, I sacrifice a lot for my treatments, and I originally joined up under set of information which is much different than what I have now…and now I am in this emotional and financial limbo, with no real results. I had saved enough for 3 months of solid treatment thinking after that, the times would be shorter and shorter and less and less costly, but in fact the whole thing has backfired and I am still doing almost the same amount of solid treatment I have been doing from the second month onward. (The first month had double treatments.) And consider, I had total clearance at the end of the first month, and here it is 5 months after that and the hair problem is basically the same, if not getting worse some weeks. So the cost simply doubled, and now looks like it will be a year or MORE, without subsiding in time or cost when initially I was told there would be significant improvement in 3 months.

I just don’t know if it is better to quit or continue, considering the substantial investment I have already made.

I must say that I am very grateful to have this sounding board and all the kind and concerned people here have been (and are) a great resource for me to better understand the whole thing. Reading other posts in this forum, as well as all your comments to my post has yielded a wealth of information. Thanks so much, and I will continue to check back in case there are any more insights.

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

I know The American Electrology Association is aware we have a problem with standardization and follow up in this profession, but it’s not clear to me what their plan is to address this issue. I just know they are working on it.

We just can’t assure the public that any electrologist they go to in any size community will deliver “the goods” to the trusting consumer. It’s deplorable and depressing for the many wonderful electrologists that work hard to deliver the best service and skill to people like yourself to hear these kinds of stories, but like I said, no one is monitering offices and work habits and forcing anyone to raise the bar.

I’m sorry for your plight, Holly. I understand the car situation, but if things change in the future and you ever have the opportunity to sample other electrologists, you may be very satisfied. Electrolysis can end your problem if you find the right person to help you. Let us know how things go for you in the future.


Fino Gior

Hmmm. Arlene, I recall trying a bottle of Fino Gior '98 a few years back (one of those North Fork Long Island vintages methinks).

The wine looked fine: a deep plummy color, not quite inky, but fairly opaque.

I swirled the glass and stuck my nose right down inside to smell it. The wine’s nose gave a fair promise of things to come: oak, oak, more oak, a smidgen of eucalyptus, oak, some indeterminate fruity smells, oak, and, at the finish, a medium-to-large helping of oak.

Despite what my nose told me, I ventured a taste, and was shocked to find that the wine’s flavors were a muddled jumble of tendskin and the smokiness of barbequed hair follicle. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/shocked.gif" alt="" />

To be fair, I had my nose hairs lasered right before the tasting and the emla cream might have messed up my palate. I shall give the aforementioned vintner one more shot. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />


Your electrologist has been around for 20 so she knows what she is doing and you haven’t been scarred.

Tell her you feel like you are being plucked. She can’t do anything if you don’t mention it. If she were bad she would be out.

However, her equiptment might be around 20 years old. She doesn’t need to replace it; just adjust. It doesn’t matter what brand or how computerized it is–time and heat created by the machine itself get the settings off. This can happen in less then 5 years or not at all.

If you let her know what you feel, she will leave her comfort zone and adjust her settings or send her machine in for a “tune up”. After 20 years of good service she may not see the change.

It is an easy thing to forget no matter what machine is used or who you are. She is doing what has worked for years and now it needs adjusted.

If you can talk to her, you would be doing yourself, the profession, and your community a favor.

It would be sad if an isolated electrologists or her clients gave up and small communities no longer had this service available.

Print this if you feel comfortable giving it too her.

I am an electrologist who wants to help other electrologist; I want to keep your electrologist operating and effective.

Loops and magnifies come in all qualities, so don’t let this determine your treatment.

Buttons or knobs aside, all manufacturer’s make good equiptment and supplies; don’t let this keep you from treatments.

The “latest” equiptment still comes with a foot switch so this isnot a determiner either. It is a choice.

Thanks to my friend who alerted my to this thread. I would not have read it otherwise. And thanks to Mr. “B” who reminded me about heat and adjustments. I had forgotten.

Do you really believe that an electrologist that has been at this for twenty years knows what she is doing if she has to be told by the client she feels plucking for almost every hair? If this woman isn’t aware by six months of weekly treatments that she is tugging on hair after hair, even when the heat is turned up all the way, this is worse than I thought. This consumer has 30 hours! and $1,500! of hard earned money invested in this and no hint at the slightest improvement at 6 months.

You leave me to believe that your concern is not for this trusting, consistent client, but rather for your own personal agenda.

okay Dee, she can give up on electrolysis or she can tell the electrologist she feels a pluck. Hmm Dee. didn’t you say you would like to know? “With out client feed back to guide you”
Then the electrologist can adjust, retire, tell the client to hit the road and enjoy her hair, send her machine in for a tune up, buy new, or purposefully pluck away.

I know I would want to know. I would be doing reduced/free treatments on this client, If she were mine. and she is not she doesn’t match anyone and I don’t match the above description. Except the 50 mile thing and I know about the service and machines used there and they don’t really fit either as that town has 3 choices.

My personal agenda? (for starters I haven’t been around this long) Promote electrolysis, educate one another, provide accessable, affordable hair removal to all.

What is your agenda? Reread what James and Arlene suggested to her.

Holly, hows it going?