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Electrolysis Report


Jeanette West

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Hello All,

 

Yeah, I got exhausted, dehydrated, and frustrated all about the same time. A little rest, time to think, and here I am, back with renewed desire. I appreciate everybody's pointers, shared advice and experience, and encouragement.

 

Sincerely

Katie

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Dear @Katie23, I feel you that it is super easy to get discouraged, when facing all of the obstacles ahead of us and get trapped in a web of negative feelings. I know I struggled with this too, especially early on in my journey. There was a time I was convinced I would need every treatment, every surgery, and everything else under the sun to be able to pass or feel happy. But I am realizing that my perspective is changing over the last year, as I have begun to live my life how I have always wanted to. The joy I feel from doing that has filled me with a lot of confidence in myself, a feeling that eluded me for the longest time. Confidence is very much connected to how attractive we feel we are, not just to other people but especially to ourselves. Before transition, there was never a time in my life where I would have considered myself attractive. Now I can see that when I look in the mirror. Yes I can still see the five o'clock shadow and still hear my own voice, and there is still dysphoria, but there are positive feelings now that I never knew before. Please know that we all believe in you and are cheering for you as you set out on your path! 🤗

 

By the way, I had a two hour electrolysis session on my upper lip (mostly) yesterday. That is about 10-12 hours total on that area and those hairs are resilient like nothing else. I am hopeful that they will diminish over the next couple sessions. I really want to move on to the dimples, upper chin, and lower lip area because it is so hard to shave well with the curves and crevices there!

 

Love,

~Audrey.

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1 hour ago, Audrey said:

 

 

By the way, I had a two hour electrolysis session on my upper lip (mostly) yesterday. That is about 10-12 hours total on that area and those hairs are resilient like nothing else. I am hopeful that they will diminish over the next couple sessions. I really want to move on to the dimples, upper chin, and lower lip area because it is so hard to shave well with the curves and crevices there!

Hey Audrey, 

 

I had my upper lip cleared for the 4th time last week. I still have some fine, light blonde hairs there but it’s hardly noticeable unless your real close. It gets better. It is way worth it.

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Thank you Audrey! Yeah, I think the getting exhausted and a few other things threw me off balance. This is clearly a journey and many of us I am sure chew through some of the same roadblocks or emotions. I am usually pretty good with all of this. I also had a run in with someone from an electrolysis shop as well. I have not found a local electrologist yet. 

 

I am better now. I had a couple of days to recuperate and get my perspective grounded again. I am curious as to how the estradiol will impact my hair growth. I have been doing the IPL on my legs and I think it is working pretty well. I have done it for almost 2 months. I held off on the face (my facial hair trends towards gray, but the growth is not as strong. I am intrigued my electrolysis. I guess I do have a phobia about facial hair. My cousin was telling me about a new laser called the Cutera laser. Supposedly it can go after lighter hair. I still like the idea of going to PHR. I am not getting younger and I wasted a lot of years. I just wish there were faster more effective options for all of us. 

 

If I go the local route, what should I look at for a good electrologist?

 

Sincerely

Katie

 

 

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5 hours ago, Katie23 said:

If I go the local route, what should I look at for a good electrologist?

 

I would say the most important thing is how comfortable you feel in the electrologist's clinic and around the staff there. The best electrologists will know that the transgender community is among the clients that would seek out their services, and will strive to create a space that is welcoming, accepting, and supportive of your goals. Sometimes you can get a sense of this from a web site or over the phone, but the best way is in person during a consultation. Trust your intuition, and you will know whether you are in the right place. Electrology is also a licensed practice in many places so you may also want to check on that.

 

As for what you might expect on HRT and how it affects hair growth... you might notice a slower growth rate and some thinning on your body hair after a while. I find that I can go about a day or even two days longer between shaving my legs, arms, and back, but a little less on my chest or abdomen though. HRT will rarely have any impact on facial hair. One of the reasons I favored electrolysis from the start is because I have a lot of grey and white inclusions in my facial hair that would likely be unresponsive to laser treatments. It is easy to be discouraged by the slow progress with electrolysis (see my post above), but with consistent treatments there is noticeable progress. I wish you the best in finding a clinic near you, Katie! ❤️

 

Love,

~Audrey.

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  • 7 months later...

I don't want to start a new thread for this, so I'm hopping in here with my electrolysis report...

 

It hurts!

 

I just finished my second session. First session was one hour and wasn't very bad at all. Second session was 90 minutes and it was worse. Not unbearable, but close to it. I've got another session next week and I bought some of the topical numbing agent to try and make that session go a bit smoother.

 

There were definitely moments where I was trying to convince myself that I could live with the facial hair. I'm already 51-years-old so I'll be dead someday and then who cares if I don't have facial hair.

 

But then my provider commented on how the lack of regrowth from my previous session was "amazing" and that gave me hope. I've been on hrt for six months, so maybe my hair growth is slowed down overall? I've noticed it has slowed on my arms and chest, but I didn't think my face would be affected.

 

Luckily my pain does not extend beyond the time of my appointment. I'm puffy for a day or two, but that is all.

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@Mara.something You've got this!!! There is just nothing fun about electrolysis. I have the numbing cream applied 30-45 mins before my appointment time and then I also make sure to take some ibuprofen and antihistamines to help with the pain, swelling and redness for the day after. I have gone from someone who would need to shave twice a day to look clean shaven, to now having my appointments 3 weeks apart to let the hairs grow long enough to kill. My cheeks and chin are pretty much clear and we are working mostly on my neck. The numbing cream is your friend!

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I don't know how universal this is, but I've found either it doesn't hurt as much as you go along or you get acclimated to it, but as the months go by I find I don't have to ice up afterwards and don't need as much aftercare in general as I used to. Not that it doesn't hurt sometimes as it's happening!

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@Mara.something Hang in there.  No one said this would be easy or pain free.  As DeeDee says take a painkiller a half hour before your appointment.  Also avoid caffeine in any form (coffee, tea, chocolate) for a few hours as it will heighten your nerve sensations.  

With time you won't be swollen for long after an appointment.  When you start the root of the hair is seemingly large and that also hurts when they are extracted.  As you go regularly the roots become smaller and the hair comes out easily.  There will be areas where your nerves are close to the surface and they will get zapped occasionally.  I had a small spot under my left nostril that was unnerving!

 

Regrowth on your body will slow as you stay on HRT but this will not affect facial hair.  Stay the course and be consistent with treatments.  Thats how you rid yourself of hair!  

Best of luck, 

Jani

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Numbing cream is your friend!  Use lots of it, and cover it with Saran Wrap for an hour before your appointment to keep it from drying out.

 

Having music in headphones helps.  I found that with a bit of practise, I could zone out into the music and not pay attention to the zaps.

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1 hour ago, KathyLauren said:

Having music in headphones helps.  I found that with a bit of practice, I could zone out into the music and not pay attention to the zaps.

 

Thank y'all for the encouragement! I know I need to keep going. I'm pretty sure I will.

 

When I was laying there in pain during my session today, listening to 70s soft rock radio, it occurred to me that eventually I am going to become triggered by James Taylor and Stevie Nicks. Just hearing their voices will remind me of the difficult early days of hair removal.  I definitely wouldn't want to ruin any of my favorite music by tying into these memories.

 

But I do need something to focus on because so far I am mostly just repeating "are we done? are we done? how many more minutes" over and over in my mind.

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10 hours ago, Mara.something said:

When I was laying there in pain during my session today, listening to 70s soft rock radio, it occurred to me that eventually I am going to become triggered by James Taylor and Stevie Nicks. Just hearing their voices will remind me of the difficult early days of hair removal.  I definitely wouldn't want to ruin any of my favorite music by tying into these memories.

 

I wouldn't want you to ruin your favourite music.

 

But I found that listening to music and really getting into the experience of it took me away from the pain.  The music can't trigger me, because I don't associate it with pain.  I associate it with getting away from pain, leaving it behind.

 

I start by visualizing the musicians on stage, and an audience around me.  Then I listen for my favourite passages.  A recording is better than radio, because you can choose it by your mood that day, and you can become more familiar with it. 

 

Instead of thinking about the pain, I am thinking about whether Wynton Marsailis is going to hit that astoundingly high note on the piccolo trumpet without his lips bursting.  He always does - it's a recording after all - but I want to be there with him, flying with the music, as the passage climbs higher and higher, finally bursting cleanly like a fireworks rocket at the top.

 

That's where I am instead of being in the electrologist's studio.  It took a bit of practise to be able to do that, but I did electrolysis for five years, so I had lots of practise.  I have about half a dozen of my very favourite classical CDs that I used to play in rotation on my appointments.

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I've just started my fifth month of electrolysis. So far great progress on my neck, under my chin and left and right cheeks with hardly any regrowth, and down to only very fine regrowth on the left jawline. This Tuesday my electrolysis tech will try to get 30-60 minutes on my center chin, upper and lower lip areas. 

 

Wish me luck!

 

Michelle 

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  • 2 weeks later...

This past session was my third. They spent they whole 90 minutes above and below my lips. I was not feeling very happy at the end of it. I think I will request some check action next time.

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  • 2 months later...

Can anyone give me some idea of what to expect from electrolysis treatment on the face. 

I'm starting HRT next month, so I hope this will help a bit to reduce growth. 

I have a course fast growing beard that is mostly light colored. 

How many sessions should I plan for to achieve noticeable changes. 

How does the process feel, is there any discomfort during or after treatment. 

How long will a typical treatment session take. 

How long do you go between treatment sessions. 

Finally, is it better to have some growing stubble for each treatment. 

I appreciate any advice, thanks!

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1 hour ago, _Kira_ said:

Can anyone give me some idea of what to expect from electrolysis treatment on the face. 

I'm starting HRT next month, so I hope this will help a bit to reduce growth. 

I have a course fast growing beard that is mostly light colored. 

How many sessions should I plan for to achieve noticeable changes. 

How does the process feel, is there any discomfort during or after treatment. 

How long will a typical treatment session take. 

How long do you go between treatment sessions. 

Finally, is it better to have some growing stubble for each treatment. 

I appreciate any advice, thanks!

Hi, Kira.

 

I won't lie to you: electrolysis hurts.  Get a good lidocaine-based topical anesthetic (I use Emla).  Apply it one hour before your treatment, and cover it with plastic (Saran) wrap.  It looks weird, but the plastic keeps it from drying out.

 

You will have about 30,000 hairs on your face, and each one needs to be zapped 4 or 5 times to kill it.  A good electrologist can do maybe 750 in an hour.  I found that an hour at a time was enough.  Some folks book all-day sessions, but those require aggressive professional pain relief.

 

I went for an hour a week, every week for the first couple of years.  I eased off to once every two weeks for a couple of years, and then once a month.  It's a long haul, I'm afraid.

 

You do need some stubble.  Depending on how fast your beard grows, you might have to grow it out for 3 days initially.  Later on, as HRT has more of an effect, you might need to grow it out for 4 days.

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Another thing to consider with electrolysis is the quality of the service. I went to someone who would zap a spot and try plucking multiple hairs around the site. It was totally ineffective. It can be hard finding electrolysis service.

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My electrologist says your hair should be 'tweezer length'. I don't know what that means, but I usually do last shave two days before my appointment. Some areas hurt more than others for sure. 

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Welcome to the long haul of hair removal.  As Kathy Lauren said, pain relief is key.  The better the pain control, the higher the frequency (power) your tech can use to kill the follicle. More power = better chance of killing it on the first try. Also, the better the pain relief, the faster they can work.  Topical creams can help. I got my PCP to prescribe a custom made cream that you can get a compounding pharmacy to make which was 6% lidocain, 6% tetracaine and 20% benzocaine. (AKA BLT). it works much better than emla which is 4% lidocaine only.  That said, certain areas around the nose,lips and up toward the eye can be especially sensitive.

I got over 100 hours with this strategy over the course of 18 months in 60 or 90 minutes sessions every week or so. I wasn't even 50% done at that point. 

I switched to the all day treatment option by going out to Chicago where they will give you some IV sedation, then do a boat load of injections to numb your face and 2 techs will work on you all day.  Because you are 99% numb, they can crank through things and I found it to be much more effective. I saw huge results after each treatment. I doubled up the treatments to have the genital work done for pre vaginoplasty. I still have about two face treatments to go I think. I'm taking a break for a few months to recover from my vaginoplasty.

They were able to completely remove all the genital hair in 4 full day treatments (the last day was only 4 hours). That shows how effective they can be when you are completely numb.  The downside to this is that you need a large amount of $$ for each treatment. $3k-$4k.  Also, you will be a wreck afterwards. It is tremendously exhausting and you will look like you were hit by a train for a week.  The other positive is, you only have to grow your beard out for about 4 days once every 2 months.  If you are doing this weekly, 3-4 days a week you can't shave and the day after you will be a bit red and raw so most of your week kinda sucks from a facial hair dysphoria standpoint.  

My personal recommendation is to save up the money to do a Chicago trip.  Knock one out and start saving for the next one. After 2 or 3, the time they need to clear the hair goes way down so each trip gets cheaper.  Most people have 90% cleared in 5-7 trips. It feels like a lot of money doing it this way but because it is more efficient and effective, you will save money in the long run.  Depending on where you are, a 60 minute session will cost $65-$130. (mine is $130 in DC area). The average person needs 200-400 hrs of treatments done in the traditional way done over 2-5 years. So that's $13,000 to $52,000 which is a huge range. If you have thicker hair like red heads and or simply a lot of hair it takes longer. If you are blessed with finer and lower density it will be faster.  Going to Chicago for the high volume method 5-6 times will probably run $12k-$20K not including travel. Once they've cleared 90% just see someone local for the final clean ups.

If you are thinking about bottom surgery, definitely go the Chicago route for that hair removal.

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

After reading this entire topic I'm really curious about this PHR place in Chicago. It will be tough for me because I'm yet another person with insurance that won't cover any of this. I might be able to scrimp and save and try this. I'm almost at the point of contacting them for more info. 

 

One thing I discovered; it seems they've changed the name of the business. Cirine Hair Removal and Skin Care. I'm pretty sure it's the same people, can anyone corroborate this?

 

I've already had about 20 hours of electrolysis in once-a-week sessions with a local electrologist. I'm about to change to a new one because I'm starting to feel the one I've been with is a bit clumsy with her technique 🙃 

 

I noticed that PHR (Cirine?) has two locations, Wilmette and Chicago. Have y'all been going to Wilmette...has anyone used the Chicago one? 

 

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8 hours ago, Abigail Eleanor said:

 

One thing I discovered; it seems they've changed the name of the business. Cirine Hair Removal and Skin Care. I'm pretty sure it's the same people, can anyone corroborate this?

 

I noticed that PHR (Cirine?) has two locations, Wilmette and Chicago. Have y'all been going to Wilmette...has anyone used the Chicago one? 

 

Yes, they just rebranded themselves. All the same people are there from what I've seen. The Wilmette location is where you go if you are doing their comfort protocol long sessions. I'm heading back for more facial work in March

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1 hour ago, Bri2020 said:

Yes, they just rebranded themselves. All the same people are there from what I've seen. The Wilmette location is where you go if you are doing their comfort protocol long sessions. I'm heading back for more facial work in March

Maybe I'll see you there.

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2 hours ago, Bri2020 said:

The Wilmette location is where you go if you are doing their comfort protocol long sessions.

Ok! Good to know...I'll reach out to them to find out more, fingers crossed I'll figure out how to afford it 😀 

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