Permanent pigmentation change

The inspiration to start this topic was a conversation that I had will a fellow TS girl last week. We talked about various TS-related topics with hair removal being one of them.

Basically, among many things, she claimed that people undergoing beard removal with thermolysis have to be very careful as there is the risk of PERMANENT pigmentation change to more gray’ish one, which can look like a beard shadow even if there is no hair left! I asked her if she has perhaps mistaken it for the ordinary hyperpigmentation but she insisted that this is a completely different phenomenon. I have also asked her about the source of this information and she clarified that it was her own, galvanic-only, electrologist who explained “all the risks” to her.

After coming back home I became very intrigued about what she was saying. I’ve heard about scars, scabs, wrinkles, enlarged pores, hyperpigmentation etc. before but never about ‘fake beard shadow’ from failed thermolysis. I’ve searched the Internet but it was to no avail.

Now I would like to ask experienced people on this forum: Could there be any grain of truth in what she was saying or is it some complete BS intended to promote galvanic-only electrolysis again?

Blue eyes pale skin here, never experimented any permanent colour change, but I guess I’m not prone to it (or noticing it). I did however experience scars with thermo, but the colour came back to normal after SEVERAL months. It’s bright red at first then changes to darker colours (could be where her ‘‘grey tone’’ came from depending on skin colour).

I would honestly never worry about colour changes as a few experienced people here have always said that it is always temporary. I would however be wary of someone ‘‘bashing’’ a method to promote her own.

Sounds like the Susan Laird nonsense AGAIN. Here’s the problem: with a little personally gathered data people make drastic and over-reaching generalizations. It’s like the old story of five blind men touching an elephant, and then explaining what it is: a rope, a wall, a tree, a snake?

There have been millions of treatment by all the modalities and, by now, if one actually caused bad results we would all know about it.

To answer your question: BULL SHIT!

it’s complete hogwash.
I’m a fellow transgirl, did my own face in blend, and I treat other transwomen with thermolysis every day with no ill effects.No “grey tone” . I agree with michael, it sounds like the susan laird nonsense.

Thank you both for responding. Yeah, that’s what I was suspecting.

However, I doubt the girl who told me this information was referencing Susan Laird as we’re both from central Europe, not US (unless she read that online).

One electrologist told me that there is a transwoman who had her beard removed and there is now a “permanent”(?) mark left of where her beard used to be. So, now people can tell that she used to have a beard. She said it’s because she had all her facial hair removed in one go, so that they had to do lymphatic drainage, because the face swells so much from doing “clear-cutting” instead of “selective logging”. Ie., she believes that treating hairs too-closely spaced to each other in one day caused this. She advocates the “thinning-out” method to avoid this. But, perhaps I have misremembered exactly what s/he said to me, or I am misinterpreting. I don’t know if this is true or not; I’ve never seen this person or any similar case.

There may be some truth to this one: “clear cutting” is awful for the facial skin, and I ended up with pretty bad skin damage around my mouth from this. It didn’t look like I had a beard, but it caused pock marks and atrophy and deep wrinkles that made my lip/chin area look like that of a 65 year old smoker while the rest of my face looked my actual, youngish age. I ended up needing laser resurfacing to fix this. I blame “bulk heating” or overheating of surrounding tissue from having too much high intensity treatment in a very dense, tight area like the lip. The rest of my face, where I had more of a thinning done, healed fine and with no sign I ever had electrolysis. My one regret is undergoing aggressive stripping, but it was very popular at that time and was done along with local anesthetic.

However, I agree that your friend’s information sounds like it was cut and pasted from Susan Laird’s site, and she is not an accurate source for information. Well-done blend or even flash thermolysis are fine, and badly-done galvanic can maim you just as easily as the thermolysis she evangelically bashes.

Indeed, you had damage in the classic danger areas. Why don’t most electrologists know about this?

Because, like you said, people would rather talk about preparation and aftercare than the treatment itself (including figuring out what can really cause permanent damage).

We can throw reasons like ‘‘too much intensity’’ and ‘‘hairs too close together’’, which are probably the truth, but it’s still a bit vague to me.

I don’t think all our skins are that different (unless there are reptilians here), so I’m wondering if there could be some kind of ‘‘danger zone’’ in the settings where you should be very careful as an electrologist. Obviously thinning would be perfect but some electrologists and clients won’t like that (no comment). Could a ‘‘bad insertion’’ have also something to do with it?

It’s actually not a mystery, because these problems are detailed. Our standard text, A. R. Hinkel, is read by all electyrologists and was first published in 1968 talks about this. Other books, e.g., mine, also talk about these problems.

Most of us are “people pleasers” and cave-in to client’s requests (demands). We get pressured into doing too much too soon: too “high” and too close together to clear ASAP.

Transgender clients are the most troublesome because they want that beard off “immediately.” If anesthetic is being used, well that’s the prescription for a bad outcome (mostly upper lip and chin will be left with dermal contraction scars. “dents”).

I often have this conversation that starts with my saying, "How long do you plan to have your skin? … "

Over the years I have received many frantic calls from electrologists that had a dentist administer anesthetic to an upper lip … and then cleared off the area (usually more than 2 - 3 hours at high intensity). Again, too fast and too close. However, the anesthetic itself (that adds moisture to the skin and shuts down capillaries … that cools the skin) greatly contributes to severe overtreatment because immediate effects are not seen. BAD “Ju-Ju” for sure. And, there is no reason for it except operator error. AND, the operator always says, “But they ‘wanted it’!”

We can NEVER blame the client! Always “our” fault. Lots of times we have to save the client from THEMSELVES!

The local anesthetic (with epi) sort of creates “dead skin,” in that no effects are seen. There are many physiological reasons for this, but if an electrologist is using local, it’s truly like flying an airplane with “no visible,” and only on instruments. For this reason, many in our trade think that anesthetic itself causes overtreatment. That’s not the case. It’s only that judgement is compromised because the operator is working on a “corpse.”

Well if some electrologists don’t know what can cause damage, they haven’t read Hinkel’s or your book, have they!

I agree about saving the clients from themselves. What if the risks were clearly explained before doing an intense clearance on a danger zone, do you think the client would still be willing to risk it?

I’m guessing those who know about the ‘‘danger zones’’ that have clients demanding a full clearance will under-treat the hair… but is that really efficient? I think you already answered this question on some other thread : )

Goes like this. I finished up a M/F transgender about 6-months ago.

When I worked on the upper lip, I left (at first) most of the beard hairs. The client already knew it was going to look terrible (beard hairs that cannot be shaved for a day or two). The client never objected and we worked with it (treatments on Friday night … and hiding-out for the weekend). So, a little discomfort at the beginning = big results later on: perfect skin in the “danger zones.”

Clients can scream and complain all they want … I won’t do what they want if I know it will cause a bad outcome. It makes me sick when clients come to Hairtell (mostly clients and almost zero electrologists … okay 3 - 4), and then have to instruct their own electrologist how to proceed. Is this “nuts” or what?



There’s always room for improvement!

So 2 weeks ago, I finished off what ws a full clearance of a beard on a new to treatment transprson.,. I worked primarily for 5 hours the chin, upper lip, and neck, as 3 other electrologists has already “clearcut” the cheeks.High power synchro. Zero negative effect. No lymph fluid. Start to finish a great treatment.While I can understand being respectful of the “danger areas” this client had already gone through 3 electrologists looking for one who would do what they wanted. Having warned them heavily of the possible negative outcome, they still wanted to do this full clearance as they were off work for a few months and wanted to get it done while they had time. It’s the third time I’ve done a clearance like that on a transperson. I did make sure they understood the risks and made them sign that they had been advised this was a bad idea and not to do it, and took full responsibility and protected me from litigation in the event of a poor outcome.Sometimes, you have to do what the client wants.

What do you expect from a “hack” like me.


As “they” say, “It all depends.”

I know when it’s safe to clear and when it’s not. No possible way I can explain this in text … after decades of doing this, you just know.

A few years ago, I was working in surgery and the patient wanted several procedures at the same time. We got to the first two, and the surgeon said, “Okay, that’s it … she’s had enough.” I can’t tell you how he knew this, but after years of doing your craft … you know.

I secretly wish that person gets scars one day. Just kidding lol…

Also, just an observation, but if the entire clearance took 5h, it probably means that there wasn’t a lot of hair, or that they weren’t very dense, or both! For example, my face takes at the very least 16h, and I’m not even counting the mouth/moustache area!

I worked primarily the chin and neck. The cheeks were already done and my ex-employer had worked for a half hour or so on the upper lip before me ( andshe is no slouch either efficiency wise) . I would say the chin was quite dense, the neck a little less so but still considerable deep thick hairs. When I get going however there are very few electrologists that can keep up with my speed.Especially in a clear-cutting situation like this I can easily zap 10 or so hairs in quick succession and remove them all at once, with dark pigmented hairs giving an excellent accuracy on the angle of insertion, I canremove a hell of a lot of hair in 5 hours. Think in the range of 5000 or thereabouts .

How horrible to have such evil thoughts for her progress! Unfortunately I’m going to have to disappoint you, other than some minor swelling and numbness( chin of course) , no ill effects were noted in 2 weeks time, she has been coming back weekly for 1 hours sessions to snag any regrowth or slow growing/telogen hairs . Her skin looks great.


Interesting, thank you.

Approximately 2,77 hairs per 10 second if I calculated right.

I counted around the same per 10 seconds for my face too. And I mean 5h just covers 1/4 of it. Do I have a very dense beard or something?! Maybe that could be why I got such a strong reaction on the sides of my chin…