Thank you for replying, Barbara!
(yes, I am female, despite appearances to the contrary…)
I’ve had the vellus all my life, which makes me think it’s genetic (though this doesn’t exclude the possibility of hormonal business, or any of the other witchy things that are involved in hair causation… whither the hair scientists???)
I’m put off by the whole process of hormonal testing, though. You need a seriously good doc for that rigamarole. I’ve had bloodwork done in the past, and was told I was “normal”. I could theoretically be at the high end of what ‘objectively’ counts as normal for x or y, but still be affected if I’m sensitive, couldn’t I?
I guess the cause might be unimportant, because I wouldn’t go on the pill or any other hormone cocktail again. The alternative is mechanical removal anyway. (Though you’re right, it would be good to know whether I have the potential for “werewolf” vellus hairs or not.) Have waxed before, and don’t know what effect if any this has had on my vellus hairs.
I finally went for a consult/first appointment, and am very excited to be starting this project…
I liked the electrologist, and who offered solid and reasonable explanations of the/her process (e.g., it might take more than one treatment per hair; clearing is her preferred method; blend is what she likes to use, as it’s easier to modulate intensities for different areas and skin reactions…)
She treated the terminal hairs on my chin and neck. (the approx. 10-15 that were visible).
Plan: to get those guys first; move to chest area if time permits (via .5/hour weekly sessions – should be doable, she got all those ones in ten minutes), and later treat “treasure trail”.
I’m not so concerned about my stachio, I think because I’m just used to dealing with it, lots of women are bothered by that, and I’m less embarrassed by that than by the dark hairs on breasts, chest and chin…
I’m thinking that I wouldn’t want to use the clearance method on the upper lip, though; I anticipate serious reactions there. Bleaching, tweezing, waxing, and -gasp - shaving for nearing on 20 years will have created the conditions for major pain…
About the vellus – she said that with a patient attitude on my part, it would be possible to thin it out on the stomach, which is the only part I had time to ask about – I was the last appointment of the day. Didn’t have a chance to ask her what she thought about using temp methods on upper arms, back, and neck in the meanwhile…
For any fellow newbs out there – the day of, my skin was a bit red at the points where hair was treated, but I’ve done worse damage to myself with tweezers. Used witch hazel and polysporin. Next day: slightly irritated, area looks a bit like acne. Not difficult to hide, as neck and lower jawline are the last things people notice.
Tonight (the day after treatment) I washed with Dove soap as usual, and applied a cream meant for soothing after bikini hair removal. I later learned that lidocaine, the active ingredient, doesn’t do much for skin healing, as it’s an anesthetic.
Pain issues – I’ve had more painful facials. [I’m talking those “extraction” facials, though…] I was expecting root-canal level pain. Nothing like it. Speaking of teeth: my fillings shivered in an uncomfortable but not painful way when the current went through…
query: would it make sense to wax, to get a good crop of anagen hairs going? Forgot to ask my electro this. Why do questions come to mind too late?
query 2: i’m thinking it’s not a bad idea to wait until a day after treatment before doing serious cardio exercise (b/c of sweat irritation). Is more required? Am I being paranoid?