I’ll take a shot at sending you my opinions on your topic.
First…without knowing how much hair you have on your back, I have to say that if you have only gone for 5 treatments in 6 months, you are in for a very long time to completion, even if your 5 sessions were fairly long.
Certainly nothing wrong with going to an electrologist who charges less if all things are equal. Therein lies the rub. Quality of work first, then cost…since the less expensive electrologist might be doing poor quality work, costing you a lot more overall to get done. I am not saying either of your electrologists are doing poor quality work, only that lower cost (per hour) doesn’t always mean lower cost to finish you up.
I am a believer in educating my clients thoroughly. By the time they have been coming to see me for a short while they know exactly how everything works, and what to look for to know if they are getting good quality treatment. So when I hear of an electro who chooses not to be informative, I feel like they might be missing the boat. She certainly did in your case! She lost you!
To address a couple of the things you mentioned…
Blemishes: Are you talking about redness (temporary) or brown, freckle like spots (scabs) that are indeed temporary (but ot acceptable to me), or last, are you talking about actual darkening of the skin (hypo-pigmentation)? Hypo-pigmentation of the skin may or may not go away…and if it does, it can sometimes take months to disappear. Better to not get it in the first place.
Sterility: I am in California. Here, the state does not require disposable probe usage. Some electrologist use probes over and over. In truth, if they follow proper cleaning and sterilization techniques, there should be no risk to you whethter they use the same probe on you that they used all the times before, or a probe that was used on someone else before you. Again, proper sterilization is the key here. And since you are not around to see it happen, ycan only trust the electrologis to do it correctly. Personally, I wouldn’t have an electrologist work on me if I couldn’t watch her/him open up a fresh probe in front of me. But that is just my opinion and preference.
Attitude/privacy: While some electrologist seem to take very little consideration of a clients privacy, as in your case I believe this can lead to a great deal of discomfort on the part of the clients in the room. I have a totally separate waiting room from my treatment room, and do not even put up a sign on my outer office door. This calls for additional instructions for my first time clients when they are locating me, but they all say they like it.
Takes longer per hair: It is possible the first electrologis was using Thermolyses (heat only) which typically takes only 1-2 seconds per hair. The second may busing Blend (combination of heat and chemical treatment) which takes longer per hair. Ask someone who treats with either method and they will likely say their treatment is the best. I learned from one of the finest teachers in the busines, and without going into all the details, she switched from Thermolysis to Blend as her treatment of preference. I have pretty much continued to use Blend, almost exclusively and get fine results. I do believe however that effectiveness is more a matter of the proper insertion, than of the method used. Can’t tell you what the hissing sound is…never heard that in my years of practicing.
If the hair follicle is treated properly, the hair should release without any, or at least very little resistance. So in my opinion, you should not feel a plucking/tweezing sensation. Of course we all get that once in awhile, but it should be the exception during your sessions, not the rule.
To sum up answers to your last paragraph:
I tell clients to look for clean neat office/treatment space. Clean neat electrologist…dirty fingernails for example might indicate a lack of caring for sterility and sanitation. Look for some sign that your electrologist has gone to and passed a quality course of instruction, and has a current state license if one is required in your state. Regarding settings: There are many machines and each has it’s own settings. You pretty much have to trust that your electrologist knows the maching and is using the proper setting. I have a theory or two however…first “no pain, no gain” is never truer than in electrology. You are going to have some stinging if you are going to get results. I go for the highest setting my client can comfortably tolerate that causes no adverse skin reaction. I call it the “optimal Setting.”
As to side-effects: If you are black, hispanic, asian, phillipino, or any other nationality with a high melanin content in your skin, beware of hyper/hypo-pigmentation. This takes about 6 weeks to show up, but usually months to disappear, and sometimes never goes away. Scabs in my opinion are unacceptable. Scabs are a result of heat reaching the surface of the skin, causing a burn. They should be a signal for the electrologis to question what is being done wrong and correct it. I’ll probably get lots of opposition on this opinion, but none of it will cause me to change my opinion. Scabs are unacceptable.
I don’t know if I have answered your questions well enough, but feel free to write if I can be of further assistance.