My Hair Issues

I actually came to this forum researching all of the at-home laser hair removal systems, but quickly found out that they are over-sold, as is every other hair removal treatment I have ever tried! At this point, I have decided to do electrolysis, and I have read tons and tons on these boards. Some of the “treatment diary” type posts have been extremely helpful in figuring out what to expect.

So I guess I should say a little about my hair and what all I have done to try to get rid of it.

I have PCOS, and started getting hairs on my chin and neck when I was 15 or so. Just one or two here or there. It freaked me out because my mom has always struggled with chin hairs and also fine dark hairs on her upper lip. This is not something I wanted to inherit from her!

She had always tweezed, so I tweezed the hairs out. She told me not to shave, because of all of the standard myths about it making the hair grown in thicker etc.

Tweezing got to be more and more time consuming over the years, and my skin has become a mess. I have tried depilatories (ouch), both hard and soft wax (don’t work), threading (just as temporary as tweezing and expensive), and finally, shaving.

For about a year I was using a Norelco shaver in the shower, on the advice of people on a PCOS forum. But I’ve moved countries, and did not want to have to buy another one (electrical stuff is not compatible). So for the past couple months I have been tweezing like a mad woman. I am now almost 32, by the way.

At the same time, I am finally in a time in my life where I can afford something better. So I did a lot of research into professional laser (very popular here in Australia) and now electrolysis. It’s funny how the laser people are very vocal about electrolysis causing scarring, and the electrolysis people are very vocal about laser not being permanent. But I have been persuaded by the electrolysis argument, I think.

So this morning I went out and bought a nice razor, after reading the shaving forum here. I am not going to pluck anymore. It’s hard, like quitting smoking. Also I have a bad habit of pulling the hairs out with my fingernails. No wonder my skin is such a mess. But I am committed to shaving until I start electrolysis.

And I have sent inquiries to the electrologists I could find, including a cosmetology school in the area. I have gotten two quotes back for price: one is 1.50 per minute, plus $10 for the consumables. One is $2.50 per minute, flat rate. I also asked them about which machines they use, hygiene practices, and other questions, but have not gotten those answers yet. My impression is that people here are typically using the blend method.

I’m in Brisbane, Australia, if anyone reading this has any info or recommendations for electrologists in this area. It certainly would be a great career move if anyone wanted to pursue it, I think.

I can very highly recommend a former colleague, who works from home in an inner suburb of Brisbane. I shall private message you with her details.

That would be fantastic!

Wow, I didn’t actually expect anyone to have recommendations for Brisbane. I’m totally psyched to make an appointment for a consult. Of course, I have to wait a few weeks, but that is not long to wait in the grand scheme of things. I need to build up a little cash, just started a new job.

I have a hair that is so tempting me to pull it out. Need to go shave it I guess.

Hi, honey_bunny!
I’m all the way over here in the States, but just thought I’d say hello as I’m another 31 year-old gal just embarking on the electrolysis journey. We have hair growth in similar places and like you, I was an addicted plucker. I would spend HOURS in front of the TV digging and tweezing hairs out of my chin. It’s been about 3 weeks now and I haven’t gone near the tweezers, and just started electrolysis yesterday. I promise you it does get easier not to pluck when you remember that plucking them is going to severely impede the electrolysis process. I’m so excited for you to start- and welcome!

Thanks sugarmag! I am a US citizen and have only been “down under” for a few months now (moved for work). I hope to start the journey as soon as I can possibly afford it. Do you have a treatment journal yet?

Here is a Before pic. This was after 2 days of no hair removal, and shaving just before that. I know it is not as thick as a man’s beard, but there is a LOT of stubble. It looks kind of greyish under the skin where the hairs have not all come through.

I am just back from my first appointment. It was billed as a spot test, but she was working on me for half an hour!

I had grown most of the hairs on my chin out for 5 days, and the ones on the front of my chin for 2 days. She said the 2-day growth was enough for next time, so that is a relief. I was very uncomfortable going out in public with my hairs so visible.

So, first she talked me through the two procedures she does (thermolysis, and multi-needle galvanic). She also talked me through after-care, which involves not touching the skin or putting any chemicals on it for 24 hours, and using an antibacterial cream on the treated areas, a few times a day.

With all the preliminaries out of the way, we got down to business. I lay down on the table, and she gave me some goggles to put over my eyes so the light would not bother me. She used surgical gloves and sterilized the entire area with alcohol before she started. She also used “binocular” magnification, and a very bright light.

She began with thermolysis, and cleared an area on my chin about 1" square. It did not take her very long. After I had felt about 4 ‘shocks’ I asked her how many she had done, and she said 10. It was pretty fast and I clearly was not feeling a lot of sensation on every hair. Some of them were pretty painful, but nothing I could not deal with.

Next, we tried multi-needle galvanic. She put a strap around my arm that had a gel part that went right next to my skin, so the electricity would work (not clear on the specifics of that). She then inserted lots of probes (her machine has 16, she did 8 of them at a time for the test patch). After a few seconds, the sensation started. It was a relatively mild burning sensation, completely tolerable. She stimulated the skin on another part of the area with a rubbing motion to “distract” my nerves, but I really didn’t need it. The needles had to stay in for 4 minutes, then she removed and reinserted them. The galvanic method is slow, but she says it is more likely that the hairs will only need to be treated once.

By the time this was done, over half an hour had passed. She gave me an ice pack and showed me how to apply it to the treated areas and move it around frequently. After the skin was cooled off a bit, she showed me how to apply the antibacterial cream.

The skin is already completely irritation-free, but still a bit red. It will be completely fine by the morning, I am sure. I made an appointment for tomorrow for 30 minutes of thermolysis, since my chin hairs are already so long at this point.

I won’t bother to post pics this time because there really were not a ton of hairs removed. She is not going to clear me all at once, because she said my hairs are pretty dense and she doesn’t want to cause too much irritation at once. We will see how I do after the first full treatment. If I decide to have some galvanic treatments, she has two machines, so she can treat 32 hairs at once.

Congratulations. That is the most difficult part out of the way !

Yay, congrats!

Regarding irritation: Usually it goes down pretty quickly the day of the treatment, but then a day or two LATER is when you see red marks (or some people say they get little pinprick scabs). So don’t judge your reaction based on the hours following the treatment, and don’t be too disappointed if you DO notice some healing-reactions appearing in the days to come. Facial treatments tend to leave fewer marks than body treatments, but you may still see something later on (especially with galvanic).

I’m back from my first REAL treatment, 30 minutes of thermolysis. She worked on the front part of my chin only, mostly on the left side of my face. Those hairs went slowly because I have been VERY diligent about plucking that area, since I’m right handed.

I have some small whiteheads on the places where we did the multi-needle galvanic treatment yesterday. There wasn’t much noticeable trauma from the thermolysis yesterday, she just said the skin appeared a little ‘bumpy.’

Here are some “after” pictures for today. Most of what they show is how very hairy I am, and what a long way I have to go.

(just to reiterate, this is a WOMAN’s face!)

I am SO HAPPY that I can shave in the morning. My next appointment is Tuesday (Monday for you people in the US).

Hi Honey_bunny:

Actually, other than the hairs being a bit thicker and darker than normal it doesn’t look like it would be that hard to clear out the entire area which is the good news.

Have you ever considered possibly going for a longer session which would allow the area to be fully cleared?

Tea Tree Oil overnight would usually keep that area from having the white bumps/pustules. I agree with AliciaDarling. I could clear out this entire area in one session and go straight into maintenance phase with you. What ever it takes, you should work to clear the entire area, even if you do one hour every other day for a week. (No way it would take me 3 hours to do this small area, but I know you are not working with me.)

Oh my gosh, that is a small area. I agree with James and Alicia: Get it cleared asap and you’ll never be hairy again! No use in moving slowly if you’re handling it very well and it’s just the one small area.

My electrologist was afraid I would have too much irritation with clearing the whole area at once. She has said that after my skin is more used to it we can do sessions up to an hour. I’m very interested to see how much we are able to clear at my appointment on Tuesday. I do have to work though and would rather my face not be totally wrecked after a particularly long session. On the other hand, my skin doesn’t seem to be overly sensitive. There is some localized swelling on the left side of my chin (left of the cleft) where she concentrated yesterday, and the area feels a bit numb. But it’s not something that you would notice by just looking at it. The whiteheads from Wednesday are mostly gone as well.

James, she has given me some Sterex cream to use. Do you think I should be using tea tree oil instead? One issue here is that it is very humid, so you really can’t avoid sweating during the day. It’s getting toward the end of summer here.

During our very humid weather, which lasted for a couple of months this year, I was advising clients to wash with a warm salt solution, using cotton wool and then to tissue dry. Then applying their aftercare as usual. This is only important, if you end up perspiring - It doenn’t take much effort these days !

Treatment 2 was 1 hour. So I am no to a total of 2 hours treated. It was not so bad, but I found the area right in the middle of my chin (under my tongue) pretty painful. I didn’t have to take any breaks during the hour. There were fewer deformed follicles, so it went faster. She did not clear me, but tried to interleave the hairs she was removing, because I am going back for another hour tomorrow.

The white balance was different on these photos. The second one is truer to color, but the first one shows the skin more clearly. It’s quite agitated tonight but hopefully will calm down in the morning. She gave me a zinc-based cream to use tonight and whenever we clear so much hair at a time.

I would advise to buy witch hazel and to use that several times a day. Also tea tree oil at night would help heal too.

Make sure she doesn’t overtreat any one dense area. Don’t treat anything that hasn’t completely healed.

The skin was all back to being smooth by my treatment today. The treatment today was more painful but not overly so. In an hour today she cleared about 90% of the hair. We ran out of time and my skin was getting too sensitive, so we stopped. So far I have had 3 hours of treatment and I am finally almost to my first clearance. There are a lot of deformed follicles from years of heavy plucking, and the hairs are very dense and strong.

Overall I think it’s going well. I will wait til tomorrow to take more pictures, when the skin has calmed down a bit. I am not having any scabbing and not having any more whiteheads (none since we tried the multineedle galvanic). I don’t think it will be long til I can do shorter sessions, which is very nice.

Oh, for those that wonder about money, for 3 hours of treatment (including 1/2 hour free consultation) I have paid $258. My electrologist is very experienced and quick, considering that her machine is a Sterex and not the Apilus that is apparently a lot quicker. In this area, one facial laser treatment costs about $250.

I’ve been too busy to take more pics. The swelling from the 2 hours of treatment in 2 days went down within 48 hours, and the pinprick scabs started disappearing within about the same amount of time. Since 72 hours, I have been shaving in the mornings. The stubble is much more sparse, though I can definitely feel and see it by night time.

I am not plucking, I am not picking at my chin hairs, and the skin on my chin is actually starting to clear up. Because of my schedule and my electrologist’s schedule, this week we are taking a break. It will be interesting to see how much new growth there is after a week off. I know that this is a long journey, but I’m very happy to already be getting some relief from this problem that I have obsessed over for years.

In other news, I bought a motorcycle and I am really enjoying learning to ride. I already have my full license (motorcycle endorsement in the US, which transfers to an open license in Australia), but I’m only now actually able to build up my experience.

It’s amazing how much more time I have in my life now that I am not obsessing about my hair as much!