Rough Start

My 13-year-old girl has an appreciable amount of whiskers on her chin. Most of them are white but a few are black. I took her for her first (30 minute) appointment with the electrologist and 50 hairs on my daughters chin were zapped with a gold needle. At the next appointment another 60 were zapped. There isn’t a whole lot of difference in appearance yet, so this process will be long. My daughter says it hurts, and doesn’t want her moustache done because of the pain (the moustache isn’t as bad so she waxes it or shaves).
At the end of the last appointment the electrologist did something so that the swelling wouldn’t last as long, but my daughter has many small dots on her chin. This process is very discouraging, can someone offer hope? At 50 hairs a week there doesn’t seem like there is an end in sight.

50 hairs in 30 min. is not much. Also swelling for more than 30-60 min. afterwards is not a norm. And scabbing on the face too. Younger people tend to react more because they have more moisture by the skin surface, however. I never treated anyone that young, so I cannot really speak from experience here.

Anyway, you may want to take your daughter to an endocrinologist to see if there is an underlying hormonal cause for the hair. Maybe not, but rather be safe than sorry.

Also, you can’t do harm by shopping around for a good electrologist. You will see that everyone is different, and you may be able to get faster and gentler results elsewhere.

Good luck!

Hi worriedmom.

I have and am currently treating teenage girls, usually for upper lip hair, but have zapped a few chin hairs here and there. As yb said, teenage skin is very moist and as electrologists, we need to be very aware of the heat and timing that we choose for this type of skin. Starting at very low levels and very gradually increasing the heat until the hair slides out is paramount. Observing the skin reaction while zapping away is a must as is cooling the skin down soon with cold 100% aloe vera gel followed by an ice pack. I like the fact that the practioner is using gold on your daughter’s face.

There are three wonderful times in a woman’s life that hair can be targeted and stimulated to change from unnoticable to noticable hair: puberty, pregnancy and menopause. At puberty, hair growth results from increased amounts of male hormones (androgens) that causes hair to appear on the underarms and pubic region. Hair appearing in other body locations depends on the woman’s heredity and her sensitivity to the androgens that are floating around in bloodstream.

Being that your daughter is just thirteen, could reflect a simple temporary imbalance of hormones as the the adrenal glands and the ovaries struggle to coordinate and balance with each other. If the hair is long and soft it may not be necessary to treat them with electrolysis as they may disappear once the adrenals and ovaries come into balance with each other (when her menstrual cycle becomes regular). However, if some hairs on her chin or upper lip change to dark, thicker hairs, they will need to be treated as these hairs will not regress back to soft light hairs.

If your daughter has a lot of concern about these hairs, then they can be treated. Otherwise, if she can wait it out a little longer and use temporary methods such as shaving or a depilatory (neet, nair) to disguise the hair, that might be worth doing until the menstrual cycle regulates. TWEEZING and WAXING is a NO-NO as that will eventully lead to those scattered coarse hairs I see in older women all the time. No Waxing!

As for the amount of hair removed each time, every electrologist is different when it comes to the speed at which they remove hair and the method of electrolysis they use. If your’re not happy, I guess that’s why you shop around. Electrolysis takes time and patience because of the hair growth cycles. No way around that. There are 500-1,000 hair follicles per square inch on the face. Thank God they are not all activated, but a good deal can be. Going in each hair follicle one by one takes time, not to mention, they are all not growing in that stage of growth where they can be more vulnerable for the kill.

Skin reaction is something that you observe after treatment and give feedback to the electrologist in those early sessions, so adjustments can be made as you proceed. Your electrologist is trying to get to know your skin’s special reaction to electrolysis, while at the same time she is trying to get enough heat to the bottom of the hair follicle to destroy the tissue that feeds the hair. I don’t like scabbing on the face, but it does happen at times. It can be electrologist driven, it could be client driven or some people just scab no matter what either does.

Pain. Teenage girl’s differ in their response to the sensation of electrolysis. Just the thought of the probe being inserted is enough to make some change their mind while on the table. Others are so highly motivated that they get through their 20 minute session just fine. Topical anesthetic creams (LMX or Emla) certainly take the edge off a treatment for the highly sensitive girl. I have found that just having the right epilator, changes the whole scenario. I use the VMC Silhouet-Tone which is a great piece of equipment. My upper lip clients do very well as far as discomfort goes and the skin reaction is barely noticable.

Some teenage girls are not ready for electrolysis, especially thirteen year olds. They want the hair removed and will come and go, then come back and go again. As they mature and hair problem intensify’s, they may come back and stick with a routine schedule until success happens.

One of my clients is 14 years old and doing wonderfully well. She is consistent (every two weeks) with her appointments and follows the aftercare instructions. After 4 sessions, she does not have to do her temporary measures to disguise the hair. We’re getting close to that first clearance and will go into maintenance mode soon.

There is hope, lot’s of hope. If your daughter is motivated, all the better for success. Don’t concentrate on the 50-60 hairs removed each session. Focus on the end result and what has to been done to get there. Encourage patience and consistency. Just the action of doing something about the problem offers hope.


She does have an appointment with an endocrinologist, but there seemed to be no point in waiting to start treatment on her face. Thanks for the suggestion.

The hair on her chin is exactly like a man’s beard, except that it is mostly blond and the rest of her body hair is dark brown or black. When it grows out it feels like a man’s face that needs a shave. The electrologist said that eventually the hair that she is removing would have turned black; I have no way of knowing whether that’s true, but since some had already turned black it is certainly possible.

The electrologist said that the progress is so slow because the color of the hair is light and that she is just trying to remove the hairs that are whiskers (she had a technical term for it) and not the downy hair that is also there and looks similar. Does that sound reasonable?

My daughter is almost 14 and is wants this done, I think she isn’t as worried about her moustache because her peers have problems with that area so she doesn’t feel as freakish about it, for now waxing is fine. I’d like her to take care of it while we are doing everything else. But it’s her face so I’ll drop it. The moustache is not like a man’s it is mostly fine hair, but it won’t surprise me if that changes.

Thanks for all the input, I’ll ask for something for pain and ice it afterward. We had been using antibacterial ointment, just in case.

Seeing the endocrinologist is a very good move, as the hairs you describe are much bigger than what the average teen girl has. These sound like terminal hairs and those kind of hairs certainly won’t regress into those soft downey hairs that are of no consequence.

As I cautioned before, waxing is not fine. Shaving and using a depilatory is what you want to do, temporarily. Waxing will rip away the unwanted hairs, but will also rip away the soft downey hairs that are not a problem. Now you have created a situation of causing good hairs to go bad. Who needs more trouble? Repeated waxing of this area will cause the hair to grow thicker, deeper, darker and then guess what??? — when you turn to the electrologist for help, she now has to use MORE energy to destroy that thick deep hair. More heat energy for that hair means more discomfort for the client, more insult to the skin, more healing time. NO WAXING is my friendly advise. I would still gently encourage her to start electrolysis because she will need to treat her upper lip anyway at some point. Whether her peers share a common bond with her or not has nothing to do with her as an individual. If the pain factor holds her back, that’s where the topical anesthetic comes in. If she’s not motivated now, at the very least she should be made aware of what could unfold for her in the future if she waxes this area repeatdly. At least she will have been warned. I agree it’s her call, and having four teenagers of my own, I know you have to back away at times.

As for the antibiotic ointment use for aftercare, it would be better to use 100% aloe vera gel (not lotion)immediately AND for the first couple days. Dermatologists and plastic surgeons are against the routine use of ointments containing antibiotics for electrolysis. Also, if she is prone to acne the ointment could worsen it.


Thanks for the answer, I have missed the “no waxing” advice the first time around. I’ll have her just use Nair on it, and work on her to agree to the moustache done when we finish the chin. I’ll get the Aloe also. The electrologist did call the chin hairs terminal; I couldn’t remember what she said originally.

Do you know whether they would have turned black eventually? Does the electrologist’s explanation of the slow pace (the hairs are light against my daughters light skin make it hard to distinguish the terminal hairs from the ones that are supposed to be there) sound plausible? There isn’t another professional for 80 miles, so switching would be difficult, but if this isn’t the best treatment we’ll make the trip.

Right now we pay $70 per hour (or pro rata) in a half hour she has been able to get 60 or so hairs.

It’s hard to say for 100% certainty if the hair you refer to now that is light would eventually turn black. Some do, some don’t. I see a mixture of colors for coarse terminal hair from clear to black resembling cat whiskers. No matter what color it is, if it’s noticably coarse like a man’s beard, you’ll want to get rid of it permanently with electrolysis.

We always remove the coarse hairs first regardless of the color and then go for the medium ones that appear as if they might be headed for a change for the worse.

Perhaps the process is slow going because light hairs can be harder to see than darker hairs. If the light source being used by your electrologist and the quality of magnification utilized isn’t up to par, it may slow her down as she struggles to find the light hair against light skin. Good equipment factors in greatly when doing electrolysis. Not knowing what she uses makes it hard for me to say if this is what she meant by her statement regarding light hair light skin.

I wouldn’t switch and make that 80 mile trip just yet. What she says sounds fairly reasonable. Just be vigilant and educate yourself about what constitutes a good treatment and know what is normal to expect after a treatment. Of course, hairtell is always a source of help as questions and concerns arise. If at a point in time you feel the need to check out other electrologist’s to compare, that is always a big recommendation around here if you have read enough past posts.

Perhaps the endocrinologist can find and control what is medically causing this situation and treat it so that further hairs are not targeted.
Let us know how things turn out.

Thanks Dee.

You and the other pros who have stepped up to the plate have made it easier on me around her for sure!

May I also add, NO DEPILATORIES! Those will thicken and darken the hairs as well. Your daughter is really better off shaving them until she has them removed.

Furthermore, electrologists using lower light sources, and low power magnification with no depth perception have the worst time doing your daughters type of hairs.