Hair removal

Laser vs. electrolysis

Following are two recommended websites for information about laser and electrolysis hair removal:

Electrolysis Versus Laser Hair Removal

Epilator Girl

Q: Choosing the right electrologist

Choosing the right electrologist is important since you'll probably be seeing her for months, if not years! The male beard averages 25,000 hairs and can take 200 to 400 hours to completely clear, though laser is faster. The electrologist will be physically close to you while she works (In your face is an accurate description) and may work on your genitals. If you don't get along, or don't feel comfortable with her, it won't work. You may have to interview several electrologists, either in person or over the phone, before you find the right one for you. Most offer a free complimentary treatment. Electrolysis is an art, as well as a science, and electrologists have varying expertise and experience. If you don't know where to start, try looking in the yellow pages under "electrolysis." Support groups, and other trans people, can guide you to good electrologists.

Questions to ask prospective electrologists:

Do you work on transgender people?

Obviously, if the answer is no there's no sense in going any further. Since a percentage of most electrologists' clientele is going to be TG/TS, I don't see why one would refuse to work on them, but discrimination takes many forms (If you're very passable and not planning on genital this question may not be necessary).

Do you use the blend or thermolysis, or both?

The blend method is a combination of galvanic (DC) current and heat (thermolysis). The probe (needle) is inserted into the hair follicle and electric current is applied. At the peak of the current's cycle a short burst of heat is applied. The theory being the combination does a better job of killing the hair root.

Thermolysis is a short burst, or multiple bursts, of intense heat. It's not necessary to leave the probe in for DC current.

Flash thermolysis. If the electrologist doesn't give you a grounding device to hold in your hand (completing the electronic circuit) you're getting flash thermolysis. I had flash once and it was very painful.

How much do you charge?

Hourly fees can range from $25 an hour to $80 an hour, or more. Generally, you get what you pay for. You may think you're getting a good deal with someone who only charges $25 an hour, but a more expensive electrologist typically has more experience and expertise and is usually faster, has a higher kill rate and less chance of scarring.

if you're on a tight budget most electrolysis schools have students who will work on you for significantly less than a pro. They will be slow and monitored by an instructor (Look in the yellow pages under "electrolysis schools"). You might luck out and find a student who'll work on you for free, since they're required to have a certain amount of hours before they can be licensed (I met a student electrologist at a support group and had some work done at no cost. She turned out to be very good).

How many years of experience do you have?

An electrologist with 10, or more, years of experience is usually going to be better than one with only 2 or 3. The bottom line is whether you choose the blend or thermolysis, the success of your hair removal depends on the skill of the electrologist.

If you're planning on having electrolysis don't tweeze your face! Tweezing causes follicle distortion making it harder for your electrologist to make good insertions.