Should I find a new electrologist?


I’m new to the website, but I read some of the posts here and you seem very knowledgeable. :slight_smile:

I’m planning to get electrolysis done, but I had a recent appointment with an electrologist that seemed odd. It felt more like a consultation than an appointment. To make a long story short, I am African American and I wanted to have electrolysis done to treat my underarm bromhidrosis.

The electrologist seems great. Has her CPE, disposable needles, great reputation from other electrologists in the area. Seasoned (over 25 years of exp.). Etc. She only does electrolysis and is located in a clinical office, not at a spa.

She booked an appointment with me over the phone and said her rates were from 15 minutes to 1 hour at a rate of 30 - 75 USD. This sounds normal. However, when we started talking before my session. I discussed my reason for having it done, plus filled out a questionnaire relating to health, past methods for hair removal, etc. One of the questions asked if I’ve ever had keloids. I wasn’t sure, so I said, yes, as I think I had a possible one. Well, we spoke about this and when I showed her what I was talking about, we didn’t really think they were keloids. Despite this, she said she would not do a full appointment with me and said she could do 5 minutes and to wait 2 months before my next appointment. This was weird, as she never said I’d have to make that long drive for a 5 minute appoint (@20 USD). She also never mentioned that this would be an issue and I had no idea (I did tell her I was an AA beforehand). She later said if I wanted 15 minutes, she could do that, but I refused - what’s the point - if I have to wait 2 months to come back?

Additionally, she made me sign a (handwritten - random) waiver, saying I understand keloids could result in our treatment. She did this despite saying she had several AA clients in the past. Regardless, I agreed to the 5 minutes and she got no more than 3 or 4 hairs removed. She said an entire underarm would take 3 hours (at that rate??).

Not only did she waste my time, I feel like asking me to come in in 2 months and her slow process (blend) is telling. She’s seemingly nice and I do feel comfortable with her arrangement (ie. clinic vs spa), but something seems off. Perhaps, even inconsiderate. Should I wait 2 months or see someone else?

I appreciate your help! :slight_smile:

Since you say you do NOT know what a keloid is, take a look at this and get back to me, I will wait:

Glad to have you back. Now if you understand that YOU told her verbally, and on paper in writing that your skin does THAT, can YOU understand why she said do a small treatment and come back in 2 months? Put another way, although it would have nothing to do with her good work, do you think that the gentleman in the picture on that page might get a rather large settlement, had his face gone from normal to that following an electrolysis appointment?

She is just trying to protect herself from a possible lawsuit. As for everything else you describe, this is typical of a first time consultation and sample treatment. One would expect a full treatment to yield better results. That is, once she is sure that you are not going to end up looking like this.

I have treated MANY people of African decent and NEVER had complaints about keloids. James you are super funny to show a picture like that as related to electrolysis, but I think you were trying to tell this poster that the electrologist smelt trouble.

The electrologist made the right choice, working with the fact that you said you keloid. You are being protected from having an armpit full of keloids.

We are told that it can take up to 2 months for a keloid to form. That is why she is waiting 2 months. For many of us - if the client does not already have a keloid in the area, then we begin treatment.

As far as I know, there has never been any instance of electrolysis causing the formation of keloids, as the “injury” we do to the skin is not like piercings or other cutting actions.

Hi James,

Thanks for your response, but I will admit it’s quite rude and a lot of assumptions are being made on your part. I’m not sure if you’re attempting to help me or make me feel ignorant, but you have done neither. I’m not even sure you understood my initial post, to be honest. If you did misunderstand my post, please ask me Qs and do not assume I’m ignorant. Would you speak to a stranger like that in person? Hopefully not. Why do it online? It’s very off-putting.

I never said I didn’t know what a keloid was nor did I say my skin had those (extreme examples) you’ve shown. Why would she give me an test spot if my skin looked like that? I assure she would not. I said we were not sure if what I had was in fact a keloid. Yes, that’s right: SHE WAS NOT SURE (either) after looking at the (possible) very tiny scar on me. I have piercings and many other scaring incidences (w/o keloids); however, a couple scars took a while to heal, but that could be scar tissue, I wasn’t sure, so I showed her. Neither of us are dermatologists and it’s possible that it’s a mild form, but highly unlikely. Again, she could not tell me, despite looking at my skin. I showed her to be on the safe side.

And yes, everyone understands why I had to sign that waiver, but that is not the point. I was turned off by it because it was obviously informal and nothing she has done before, despite claiming she’d worked on “several” AA clients, in which this risk is relevant for all of them. Plus, she never mentioned this would be an issue over the phone. She never mentioned coming in for a consult, either. She never ever mentioned 5 minute procedures, either I came in for a consultation, it seems, (I agree and that’s what I said, too), but I asked for a full APPOINTMENT. Her website says her consultations are complimentary, but I had to pay her 20 USD. That bothers me and it SHOULD. She did a trial on me as a TEST. She knew it would not benefit me at all, so did I, so I did not allow her to charge me for 15 minutes… After further research, I looked up the possible reason for her asking me to wait 2 month (hair cycle, etc), but the problem is she NEVER explained this to me. And yes, I have the right to know. She should have the decency to tell me.

I agree again, I should have come in for a consult - she should have ASKED me for this and not said I had to drive this far for a 5 minute consult that isn’t free.

Thanks for your input (and confirmation). I will never recommend this type of behavior in an electrologist. It has nothing to do with her reasoning and everything to do with her lack on consideration and professionalism.

Hi dfahey,

I’m pretty sure they are not keloids and she should honestly make all AA sign waivers, as the risk it there. Additionally, she should have been more upfront in the beginning.

Hi Barbara_CPE,

No, I think I should have performed a proper consult and informed me (via phone) that being an AA and having the potential to keloid would cause delays. She simply should have been more upfront in the beginning, as well as more informative about why I had to wait 2 months. She did none of those things. I do not feel that I am being quick to anger here, as I have no reason to be.

Being heard

This poster brings up a very important notion: being heard. Sometimes we “experts” know our job so well we don’t listen any more. Have you ever been to a doctor with NO “bedside manner” at all? All of the frustration, and probably what this person is feeling, is actually not what the electrologist did or did not say — but she did not feel she was heard!

The most important part of the consultation is listening. Listening and understanding what the patient is saying. Listening, followed by empathy and actually understanding. Our patients are not “just another follicle.”

Yes, indeed they need to be heard. :confused:

Yes, I think empathy and listening would have helped, tremendously, I agree. I let her know of my disorder and she didn’t seem to take that into consideration. She said it might not help me, despite saying underarm electrolysis helps with sweating and odor when I talked to her in the beginning. However, I think she just didn’t want me to have an expectations, it seems.

I’m pretty sure I don’t keloid and I’m going to schedule some follow-up visits with another electrologist. Unfortunately, very few perform galvanic or blend, which is why I chose the electrologist I initial went to. She seems to be the most well-known.

How far did you drive for a five minute appointment? If you put your location in there may be others who could share who they have seen with a similar problem using blend or straight galvanic.

You could also try laser with a good laser specialist who uses a Yag laser.

I understand your frustration; however, I think the point James was trying to make is that unfortunately, we live in a VERY litigious society and if there is even a REMOTE possibility of something going wrong, the electrologist needs to protect herself AND you. Could she have explained things better? Probably…was she wrong? No, I don’t think so…you weren’t definitive with your answer, so she aired on the side of caution…I think that is a sign of a GOOD electrologist. Can you imagine how pissed you would be if she worked on you, something went wrong, then you would have said, “well, she is the professional…she should have known!” As far as paying for the appointment. It was her time…whether you sat there and talked, or she worked on you…it is time she wasn’t seeing someone else, she absolutely should have been paid for her time! Do you work for free?

Well, the appointment itself was actually much longer than 5 minutes. I’m sorry if said it was a total of 5, it wasn’t. She did electrolysis for 5 minutes on me; however, we spent over an hour discussing my background, etc.

My total drive was an hour and a half. Honestly, I don’t mind driving far, but I would like to know under which pretenses the drive is for. I would never have paid her 20 dollars for what seems like a consult, especially if she has it listed as complimentary. This was just unexpected and she never mentioned prices for 5 minutes. I honestly wanted more disclosure from her. I felt stuck, as well. She would not treat me without the 5 minute test spot and there are only 2 electrologists in my area ( 1 hour radius) that do galvanic. She seemed the most open to it, as well.

I don’t want to disclose my location, as I do not want to give away her identity (especially) or my own. However, I do know this procedure has been effective for cases like mine when the galvanic or blend is used. I’m not sure about thermolysis, but I think it’s more painful (she did a test spot of that and blend).

I have heard good things about the Nd:Yag for bromhidrosis treatment and hair removal for dark skinned clients. It could be an option… I’m just not sure how laser would interfere with the tried and true method that electrolysis brings, if I decide that it’s not effective. I have heard some suffers of bromhidrosis give it poor reviews, but it really depends on the technique. Using it to treat bromhidrosis has a separate technique than using it for hair removal, so I’m unsure about it…

She has her consults listed as free on her website. So yes, I expect it to be free. Furthermore, I have no problem with her reasoning. I only ask that she be upfront with me. There are many aspects of that appointment that I find off-putting and frankly, I’m not even sure if I can trust her.

You just said she spent over an HOUR with you…I am sure a “consult” typically is 5 minutes…it sounds like you have some issues that needed to be addressed in which case, it was nice she only charged you $20…I have never heard of a “consult” in ANY industry lasting over an hour…sorry, but I think you are out of line on this one… It sounds like you would be doing you BOTH a favor to find a different electrologist.

Thanks for your input, helpme37. However, I do understand what I’m talking about. I didn’t want to spend all day, actually. She chose to keep asking my question after question. I came in for electrolysis. And frankly, you do not know me nor am I the one who has a screen name that says “helpme”. I’ve heard more than enough from you, thanks.

Is your hair coarse? This area is easily treated with laser (you’d need a Yag due to your skin type) in about 6 treatments at around $50 each spaced 2 months apart.

This area is very easy to get great results with with laser. If someone you heard of didn’t, it was likely due to type of laser or settings used.

I would like to add that dermatologists treat bromhidrosis with the Nd:Yag laser, but I have yet to find a dermatologists in the US that would do it… It has not been approved and it’s a fairly new method that I’ve only seen practiced in Asia.

Yup, my hair type is very coarse (thick), but not really curly here… It doesn’t curl, it has more of a wave. My main reason for doing hair removal is to treat my bromhidrosis. The hair doesn’t bother me and I don’t really mind shaving… The Nd:Yag is the best for both (i.e. hair removal for dark skin and treating bromhidrosis), but I believe they use a different technique for hair removal. To treat bromhidrosis, you’d need a simliar technique to tattoo removal, but I’m not sure about this.

From what I’ve seen, it is more expensive than electrolysis (per treatment), as well, but I’ve seen amazing package deals from GroupON. I’m just unsure about the technique they use.

I was not nasty to you in my responses, nor did I make any obnoxious, inappropriate comments…I am sorry you didn’t like what you read, but given your obvious temper, I suspect your “hair” situation is the least of your problems…good luck to you, and I my condolences to whoever ends up treating you! (Assuming you find someone)