Electrolysis treatments works different for each client and so I treat each client slightly different depending on the type of skin, hair and results desired. I work very hard to understand each client's goals, background and pain tolerance so that the treatments are effective, as painless as possible and cost-efficient. If I do my job right, your goals will be met with as little time, pain and money as possible!
For new clients I like to find out the following information before starting treatment:
1) Treatment Timing
Depending on the client, this could be one to two times per week to as infrequently as once a month. It really depends on the client, the hair and the amount of hair to treat. During the first contact I like to learn from my client what their goals are and plan with them accordingly and with realistic expectations.
2) Effects of Electrolysis
I explain electrolysis and how I approach treatment, and then try and learn from them how much of a concern redness and swelling might be to them. Sometimes this is a major concern, sometimes minor. It is better to explain that an extensive treatment to the upper lip will cause redness and swelling now rather than after the treatment! For gender clients this is a biggie. If they aren't ready to share their transition, we can plan accordingly.
3) For Gender Clients : Do the people in their life know they are transitioning?
As mentioned above, if this is a concern, better I know right away. This way we can create a treatment plan that maybe is a little less noticeable if they are planning on keeping that information confidential for the time being.
4) For Gender Clients : Hormones
A common question I get is: "If I take hormones will it make the hair go away faster?" It’s the Androgen blockers that really slow down the hair. Hormones play a very large part in how hair grows, and as time goes by and treatment progresses, hair growth can slow and become more sparse on the body, but it doesn't disappear. I try to recommend to clients to start with the face first and let the hormones work the magic! Once the face is cleared during each session we can branch off to other parts of the body.
5) For Gender Clients : Surgeries
This is also something to keep in mind if surgeries loom on the horizon. Sometimes surgeries can take a lot out of a patient and some surgeons request that their patients hold off on electrolysis while they heal. This is especially important when dealing with a client who may be considering jaw reconstruction or genital reassignment surgery. I want my clients to get the results they want, and knowing this is coming helps us devise the best treatment plan.
6) Treatment Plan
Once I get a clear picture of where each client is coming from and where they are going we decide where to start treatment. In the case of some of my local men and women it is a clear cut choice as they only have one or two areas of treatment. However, with my gender clients sometimes they have five, six or even more areas they would like to see hair free. Choosing the most logical strategy in this case is key.
Electrolysis has a nasty reputation of being really painful. This, like my clients, varies person to person. Some clients have no problem handling the sensation for several hours at a time while others can stand only 15 minute blocks of time. When a client finds that they can't tolerate the amount of time that is required to get the results they want we explore pain control options. Currently I like to suggest these options:
- Zcaine & Super Trio
I like to use this for the lip for short treatments of 15-30 minutes. It's great for short treatments because it takes such a short time to take effect.
- EMLA & LMX
For longer treatments I prefer EMLA or LMX. This takes longer to take effect so I apply to the sensitive areas first and work my way back to those areas while the product begins to work. That way when I get to the more sensitive areas it has had a chance to work its magic. Sometimes the cream can work within 10 minutes, but others it takes 30-60 minutes to feel the effects.
If this cream is something that works really well for a sensitive client I ask them to explore the possibility of obtaining a prescription from a doctor - but if that isn't possible I sell tubes of it in the office for a reasonable price (lower than even pharmacies!). This allows clients to arrive early for appointments and apply the cream so I can get to work right away on the sensitive areas. Clients tend to tolerate the more sensitive areas earlier in the treatments better than at the end.
I love dental blocks for extremely sensitive clients. Especially if I'm doing more than an hour on a lip. With many of my clients I could take 2 to 3 hours to work on their lip - which can be an eternity if they are really sensitive. I’m tremendously lucky to have an oral surgeon across the street that will do the dental blocks for me. This is something we can discuss if the area is very sensitive and pain is intolerable.
Laser hair removal is something that many electrologists don't want to talk about. But, to be honest, I can work with you if you are having, had or will have laser treatments. I'm going to let you in on a secret – one that you will be really surprised about – laser sometimes works. Are you surprised? Did you think that I would tell you to forget laser and that it doesn't work? Well, here's the rub – it works *sometimes.*
Laser treatments have come and gone through the years. Time after time I get clients, like Lauren (link to my video testimonial) who spent a lot of time and money getting laser treatments and then needed to do electrolysis to permanently remove the hair. The thing they don't tell you at some of the fancy laser treatment places when you are setting up your appointment is that not all hair can be treated with laser. You will likely need to do electrolysis to permanently remove your unwanted hair.
In the end, there is a reason why electrolysis has been around for so long – it's the only proven method to permanently remove unwanted hair. Period.
Planning for any surgeries that you may have during your electrolysis treatment is very important. Sometimes surgeons will ask that you give your body time before and after surgery to heal and rest before resuming electrolysis treatments. If your planing to have major facial bone reconstructon you might want to consider putting off the surgery until the electrolysis treatments are not as aggressive. Once we are able to clear your face and it stays clear for longer periods of time between treatments you may be happier with your time healing and without treatments. After bone surgery the area that was worked on is very sensitive to pressure and just holding the skin taut for insertion is uncomfortable let alone the treatment itself. If you are counting on electrolysis to keep your skin hair free, sometimes taking the required 3-6 weeks to heal from surgery can put a crimp in your hair-free dreams!
Here is what I suggest for my clients: Talk to your surgeon. How long after surgery do they want to to wait before resuming electrolysis? If we know this, and have a treatment plan in place we can time your treatments to give you the maximum amount of hair removal as late and as soon as you will be ready to start again. One mistake that clients can make is planning a treatment too soon after surgery – this can be really hard on you, and I suggest consulting your surgeon and waiting until they advise you to resume treatment and you feel up to it before resuming treatment. Rushing your recovery can make you take longer to recover. Some surgeries like major facial feminization surgery can take up to 3 months to recover from so planning ahead will really help keep your treatments as comfortable as possible.
For M2F gender clients, one of the biggest concerns is genital reassignment surgery. If you have selected a surgeon to use, consulting with them in regards to genital electrolysis is very important. In my experience, each doctor is different in what they want you to do, or in some cases what they *do not* want you to do. If you can consult your surgeon before we map out a treatment plan that is very helpful for me to know.
A good rule of thumb is to plan as far in advance for this sensitive area since it can take time to clear it completely so that you don't have hair growing anywhere you don't want it!