As a user of this site for the last seven months, I just wanted to share my own experiences and maybe help those who may be in the position I was in seven months ago.
I am a 25yr old female of part South Asian descent. Due to my ancestry, I am naturally hairy. My mothers, aunts, and female cousins all have facial and body hair, but, for some reason, it was particularly bad with me. It was tolerable, but it was noticable, and I was first checked for a hormonal imbalance (which I don’t have) when I was thirteen.
For about twelve years, I dealt with my hair situation by assiduosly tweezing, waxing, and epilating. Most of the noticeable hair is on the upper lip (many fine, black hairs), cheek and neck (a few hairs, but very dark and coarse), and sideburns (a bit of both). I also have thick eyebrows, kept in line by daily plucking, and many fine, long black hairs on my arms and legs. I also have fine, downy black hair on my cheecks and on my stomach, which is noticeable pretty much only up close. It goes without saying that my bikini line is out of control, as is my “snail trail.”
For a long time, I had thought that tweezing & plucking served to weaken the hair roots. Thus, I thought that by regularly waxing and plucking I was “winning the war.” But last year, I started realizing that the hair growth was not only NOT going away, but it was getting stronger: I was losing the war, big time.
After doing a lot of research (including reading virtually every post on this site), I decided that electrolysis was a better option for me than laser. I have darker skin and fine hair. And I tan easily. For those reasons, and for the cost, I figured electrolysis would be a better option for me. Plus, I just wanted to get a few smaller areas (e.g., upper lip) taken care of first. From what I hear about laser, I think this has been a good decision.
My first consultation was terrifying. I’m a shy person to begin with, so to walk into a stranger’s office and reveal to her what you consider to be your least attractive trait actually takes some courage.
This first practitioner was a good fit for me. I saw her twice a month for five months (for a total cost of about $600). I first just started with upper lip, but then began having my chin, neck, and sideburns treated. If she had time, she would also work on my abdomen and chest. She used the blend method, which was very gentle to my skin. I had virtually no scabbing and only mild redness that would last maybe a few hours. She was also very quick and could get around to all major sections of my face within an hour session. I did, however, feel the “plucking” sensation more than I would have liked.
What surprised me about the treatment was how long it took to achieve visible results. For about three months, it was a strain to make it from session to session without tweezing. I had so much hair coming in that I found it hard to believe that she was killing all the roots each session.
Another thing is that growth fluctuates. One week I would be really happy, thinking that I had finally turned the corner…and the next week I would have so much hair that I’d have to trim it down.
Around month four I was finally able to see improvements and was able to go without plucking and trimming. Don’t get me wrong, I still had a lot of hair, but I don’t think it was noticeable to anyone but me.
After five months with this practitioner, I moved cities and had to find someone else. This person used thermolysis and was much slower than the practitioner I saw before. I could tell that she was more effective, however, because I never feel any plucking.
The downside with this practitioner is that my skin tolerates thermo less well. It’s more painful (making appointments very uncomfortable) and irritates more. I have been overtreated at least once with this person, whereas I never was with the blend. Redness lasts two or three days, as opposed to a few hours with the blend. But overall, I feel like I am making good progress and the increased irritation is probably worth knowing that every hair is being killed.
It’s been seven months since I started electrolysis, and I’m extremely close to full clearance on my upper lip and chin. The work on my checks and sideburns is progressing, and as is the lower abdomen, and chest. The hyperpigmentation that I have from coarse ingrown hairs is also disappearing (albeit slowly). Once I get these areas cleared, then I might consider my arms and bikini area. The total cost of my electrolysis treatments so far has probably been about $1200.
As for long-term skin health, I know this is a huge concern for some, but I have had very few problems. Mainly, my skin is oily and more prone to breakouts after electrolysis, so I have to be extra careful. I’ve been using Eucerin Foaming Skin Cleanser for Acne prone skin in the past month and have found it better than others I’ve tried in the past (Cetaphil, Neutrogena, etc.) I also used Dessert Essence Tea Tree Wash for a while and liked that as well (though I think it can be harsh to more sensitive skin). My homemade tend skin has kept my skin less oily and helped accelerate the sloughing off of hyperpigmented skin.
I wish I had had electrolysis before–maybe even when I was a teenager. There is no reason to wait. I’m not saying that I’m a 100% fan of the electrolysis industry or of the expense and irritation associated with the process. What I’m saying is that there are those of us for whom excess hair will be a LIFETIME problem. I’m viewing my electrolysis treatments as an investment in my happiness and self-esteem. It’s a lot of money and it’s not fun, but the results will be worth it, especially considering that they will last me my whole life.
I also wanted to say that I haven’t told anyone about the last seven months of treatment, not even those closest to me. It’s something that I’m just too embarassed to discuss. This site has really helped me learn more about the process and find others similarly situated.
Anyway, I hope the above narrative is helpful to some.