vellus all over

I’m wondering whether any clients or practitioners have focussed on treating all-over vellus hairs. Any thoughts on whether the cost/value balance of electrolysis in this case makes emotional, psychological, and financial sense?

I have 3-5 mm fine, light brown hairs covering my back and shoulders; longer ones of similary quality addressing my belly, chest, breasts (with terminal hairs along nipples, around belly button, and a few on breastbone, and of course, a dozen or so around my neck and chin, and not to mention, a stachio). My upper arms have darker, nonterminal hairs, about 1cm long.

I’ve decided (!) to start treating the terminal hairs with electrolysis.

The rest of it really bothers me, but I’m not as sure about using electrolysis with it… wondering whether using occasional waxing/epilating (once a month or so, just to keep length under control) would excite vellus hairs into becoming terminal ones.

(The vellus hairs have been with me my whole life. Terminal ones came with puberty.)

Greetings rain!

I’m not clear whether you are female or male, so I’m going to answer this with a female perspective.

Waxing your body will “probably” not cause vellus hair to become terminal UNLESS you have something hormonal or genetic that makes vellus become terminal.

Your description of hair growth on your belly, chest, neck and upper lip would indicate that you might be one of the women who have hormonal or genetic hair growth, so waxing would be a gamble.

It is a decision that you will have to make – to invest in having hair free skin or not. With electrology treatments, you can know that when you are old and can no longer see to remove hairs at home, the potential growth will be minimized by the permanent removal in your youth.

Best to you!

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?

You would be wise to avoid sweating in the treatment area for 24 hours at the very least. It is the salt in the sweat that causes many of the red dots and scabs some people experience.

Hello Rain -

Everyone has vellus hair all over their bodies. We are born with about 5 million hair follicles. Of those hair follicles, we might grow hair from 1 or 2 million of them.

Are your hairs accellerated vellus? These are hairs that grow long, but remain fine and are usually light in color. These can grow longer due to heredity or from anorexia.

Regarding waxing prior to electrology treatments: Some electrologists recommend this. It clears the area of hairs that are waiting to shed, and gives us growing hairs to treat.

Not everyone sweats a lot with cardio work - so you can figure out yourself if you’ll be okay working out the next day. Heck, my hot flashes give me more of a sweat than my jazzercize class!

Best to you!

wot r vellus hairs? im new dont really know wot some of the words n abbreviations used on this site mean! i have really bad hiruitism all over my body… it bothers me most on my face! i hate havin to wax it evry few weeks! im considerin electrolysis…but ppl have told me to go for laser instead! can neone give me some advice on wot i could do? im 20 n really fed up of waxin!

Hi Barbara,

I would guess that I do have accelerated vellus hairs (Priya: Like Barbara said, these are the fine hairs that cover our entire body, and are usually invisible on women, at least.) …

They are a light brown colour, and are longish. Now that I’m looking, jeez… I’m seeing some on my shoulder that seem to be about 1 cm.

My guess is that they’re just genetically programmed to be that length – I was younger than 10 when I first noticed them. If I tanned or bleached, they might not be visible. (I wouldn’t tan though, and loathe bleaching, which creates the most natural concealing effect of all the temp treatments I’ve tried, given my skin sensitivity).

Argh, I hate them. Source of so much shame. Right now I’m not sure I can afford to do that extensive a program, though.

I’m wondering – much of the info on the net about the kind of hair removal I think I’d like to (eventually) do comes from the experiences of ts women. (Who I think are amazing and brave, truly – few of us have occasion to live in that kind of honesty…).

But in terms of the technical stuff, how much could I, as a genetic female, draw from what they have to say about things like scheduling, average removal time, etc.? With my situation – if I took on the stomach, back, breasts, arms, chin, neck, and upper lip, and given 52 hours of treatment a year, would the (ballpark) timeframe (to say, 75-80% improvement) be similar to that of a genetic male’s transition?

Thanks James, looks like it’s one New Year’s resolution pitted against another!