Transsexual facial hair removal

One of the most difficult, yet important steps in transition for male-to-female transsexuals is the removal of facial hair. There are several good resources specifically devoted to this topic:

TS Road Map on hair removal

Electrolysis by Susan Laird electrolysis guide

Electrolysis has the best track record for permanent removal of hair, but it is critical that you find someone with the expertise needed to do electrolysis this tough. Otherwise it will take much longer, and you could end up with scarring.

Newer methods have shown promise in some patients, and may serve as useful supplements (or even substitutes) for electrolysis.

TS laser hair removal

Vaniqa use in TS women

I don’t recommend home electrolysis, but for some, it’s a financial necessity. For this reason, here are some tips to make it easier:

Hairfacts: Home electrolysis tips

TS-specific home electrolysis info

[ May 06, 2002, 11:10 AM: Message edited by: Andrea ]

I am a 50 year old transgender person who had such a dark, heavy beard that even right after shaving I had 5 o’clock shadow. In the course of 14 months I had almost all of the dark hair in my beard removed by the SONA Laser Center in Tigard, Oregon. All I have now is a few dark hairs left on my upper lip and the 30% of my beard that is grey/blonde. The process was somewhat painful but since I have very sensitive skin it was better than slashing myself daily or twice daily with a razor blade. I’m looking for an electrolysis person to work on the rest of my beard. I’ve heard the horror stories about lasers but not from any of the SONA customers that I know.

wow! what kind of laser do they use?

daniel,SONA uses Apogee lasers.

SONA: Corporate site

They make a lot of claims about 90+% reduction of hair, but these results have not been demonstrated under clinical conditions in published data and are likely overpromise.

Congrats on your successful treatments, Angela. When was your final treatment?


by the way, andrea, have you ever heard of case with the light sheer laser being used for male facial hair?
a local clinic said that they dont because they imagine that the pain would be unbearable…
are lasers like the apogee among the only lasers that practitioners will use for male facial hair???

im just curious cos it seems that the light sheer is being praised as the most permanent of the lasers. (is this true?)

who seems to be my actual future practitioner, seems to be okay with using her laser for male facial hair. thats if im remebering correctly…

she uses the palomar slp1000…

since palomar used to make lightsheer (or at least own a chunk of its brand name?) was any of technology used to develop the light sheer applied in the development of the slp1000??

MTF consumers have attempted to remove heavy facial hair with all the major lasers and flash lamps, with widely varying success.

It is very unlikely you will be able to remove all your facial hair permanently with laser alone. Even those who have considerable success usually follow up with electrolysis.

Some MTF consumers have had nearly complete removal with just a few treatments. Others were still going in after 40+ sessions.

There is likely a point of diminishing returns with laser for MTF facial hair, meaning that if by about six treatments or so, you have probably reached the maximum benefit you will get from laser and will need to switch to electrolysis to remove the rest permanently. In patients with light skin and dark hair, it’s hard to predict a typical result. Operator skill and many variables will make it tough to predict outcomes until many more MTF consumers have completed laser treatment. A rough anecdotal estimate of results would probably be in the range of one-third to two-thirds of hair removed permanently after six sessions.

As with all consumers, those with light skin and dark hair can expect the best results, although this is not a guarantee of success.

It is absolutely essential to go to a practitioner with experience in dealing with male facial hair and MTF facial hair. Your choice of practitioner is probably much more important that the type of laser they use.

Having said that, anecdotal exidence suggests that some lasers may be more effective for this difficult task. It is extremely important that the laser used has a state of the art cooling system to help reduce side affects and allow for higher treatment levels.

Some practitioners working on MTF patients with very heavy dark hair suggest an initial pass at a lower fluence, due to the pain and possible skin damage that can occur when lasering very thick, dense, dark hairs.

The laser that has had the consistently best anecdotal reports of effectiveness are the alexandrite lasers with spray or contact cooling systems. Rubies and diodes have also had some good reports, and flash lamps and Nd:YAG have probably had the fewest good reports. Keep in mind that a few MTF consumers have reported unsatisfactory results with each of the lasers available, so there is no guarantee that laser will be effective.

The laser that has had the consistently worst anecdotal reports of side effects are the diode lasers. Side effects include blistering, pustules, burning, and discoloration and are typically from overtreatment at energy levels that are too high for the patient’s skin. Flash lamps have also had a lot of reports of side effects, followed by ruby, alexandrite, and Nd:YAG (long considered the safest and definitely the least effective).

If I were going to attempt laser (which I couldn’t because I have red hair), I’d probably use an alexandrite, but I’d make my first goal to find a practitioner recommended by a MTF consumer who is done and happy.

How to deal with MTF facial hair removal is one of only a handful of truly essential decisions in transition. Be sure to do your research and choose carefully. It will have a lasting impact on your appearance for the rest of your life, and it is often the procedure which will be noticed by others over anything else you do. Removing it quickly and completely at the onset of your transition should be one of the very first things you start doing.

Start now! You can never start soon enough on this. Ask anyone who has transitioned.

[ July 14, 2002, 01:19 PM: Message edited by: Andrea ]

wow! thankyou, thankyou. :smile:

Here is the updated link to Electrolysis by Susan Laird: