I’m a fair blonde woman in my late forties. I’m losing my hair on my head (thin and fine) but getting darker hair in places I don’t want it – upper lip and chin. This year I began to get a faint 5’o’clock shadow. It’s gotten to the point that I’m now shaving daily to avoid embarrassment.
I recently had dinner with a longtime friend who is transgendered. She transitioned into being a woman 17 years ago. We became friends five years after she “switched teams” so I’ve only known her as a woman, not a man. The transgender issue doesn’t really come up for us much. However, the topic of electrolysis did. My friend told me that before she “switched teams,” she spent two years getting extensive electrolysis at Mishael’s Electrolysis in Atlanta, Georgia. She drove four hours round-trip from Birmingham, Alabama to Atlanta, Georgia for electrolysis because Mishael’s was so highly recommended in the transgender community.
Mishael’s did a beautiful job. My friend has no hair whatsoever on her face. She had me touch her face – it’s baby soft and smooth … Nothing like mine these days!
My New Year’s Resolution was to get laser in 2011, but lasers scare me. I know of two people who had very good experiences with laser hair removal, but I also know of two people who will never use laser again due to serious issues (neither of these two had laser hair removal, however).
My biggest electrolysis concern came after readng this thread where a number of women reported upper lip scarring/wrinkles after electrolysis:
I called Hanna Behrens at Mishael’s Electrolysis, who treated my friend in the late 90’s. I think they do thermolysis rather than galvanic. Anyway, I explained that I have sensitive skin and concerns about hyperpigmentation and scarring/wrinkling. Hanna couldn’t promise this would never occur but said said we would go very slow in the beginning, only doing a little of the upper lip and keeping the first session confined to 15 minutes to see how I do.
I also called Professional Electrolysis Service (“PES”) in Atlanta. The owner trains people in electrolysis and is recommended by local medical institutions. There was an initial $50 consult fee with PES, so that’s why I opted to see Mishael’s Electrolysis – Mishael’s requires no initial consult fee. However, my attraction to PES is that they offer all three modalities of electrolysis. I read somewhere on the internet that galvanic is actually kinder and gentler on the skin than thermolysis. Naturally, I’d rather go very slow and end up with no scarring/wrinkling/hyperpigmentation than go fast and risk the alternative… Also, unlike Mishael’s, PES assured me that no scarring/hyperpigmentation/wrinkling would occur with their electrolysis.
While I haven’t ruled PES out, I went ahead and had a 15-minute session with Mishael’s Electrolysis this morning. I drank lots of water (recommended by someone on this board) and took a couple Advils 30 minutes before my session. I didn’t shave for 4 days, as requested by Mishael’s.
Mishael’s office was immaculate and professional. Hanna was lovely but didn’t chat while working on me – which I appreciate! … The pain wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I once had a brow threading session that was far more painful than Hanna’s electrolysis this morning – the threading brought tears to my eyes and I prayed for it to end! My electrolysis session today was very easy in comparison … So electrolysis was uncomfortable, yes, but not what I would characterize as “painful.” Fifteen minutes was all I cared for, though. I wouldn’t fancy doing this for 30 minutes myself.
I didn’t ice afterward. Hanna said that icing only alleviates swelling and doesn’t do much to accelerate healing. She instructed me to keep my face clean and not put makeup on it for 24 hours. (I’ve since swabbed it with witch hazel a couple times.) We scheduled a second appointment for mid-February. Hanna invited me to drop by her office to get more upper lip work done in the interim, if I felt the need to.
She thinks a 15-minute session each month will bring quick improvement for me. This is less than I imagined it would be, so I’m happy. A 15-minute session only costs $40.
My upper lip and chin were swollen/rippling and slightly red as I left the office. There were welts and lines of raised swelling on my upper lip and beneath my chin. The swelling was very obvious to me, but I don’t think it was obvious to anyone else. I had a hair appointment several hours later and no one noticed anything amiss. The redness disappeared within 2 hours, but the swelling has been slower to go down. My chin looked slightly mishapen as I was getting my hair cut but, again, I don’t think it was obvious to anyone else.
I’m hoping the raised areas – welts/rippling swelling – are fairly typical for electrolysis?? … I do wonder if the galvanic method would be gentler on the skin and would produce less swelling?? … It’s been nearly 12 hours and the raised “lines” of welts are still there, but not obvious unless I stretch my mouth out in an exaggerated way.
I haven’t seen scabbing yet, but I imagine that’s on its way. Hanna told me the scabbing wouldn’t be bad and can easily be covered with a little makeup. I’m religious about sunblock (no wrinkles!). I’ve been prone to cold sores all my life but am taking Lysine tablets to prevent this – and praying!
In view of the welts/raised ridges of swelling on my upper lip, I’m thinking about postponing further treatments on my upper lip for 9 months or so. It’s not that I don’t have confidence in Hanna. It’s that I have very little confidence in my skin’s reaction to things. (My dermatologist placed me on 7 days of steroids because my skin overreacted to an garden variety Oil of Olay product in early December.)
I read that scarring sometimes doesn’t show up until 6-12 months after the electrolysis session.
I am definitely proceeding with electrolysis on the chin, however. I imagine any issues would be less visible on the chin and far more forgiving – assuming any such issues occur.
I also plan to do a consult with PES to see what their approach is toward upper lip work. However, as it stands today, I’m happy with Mishael’s and will continue chin work there for the upcoming months, if nothing else.
Any comments from the professionals here are welcome. I’m a newcomer to all of this.