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#100685 - 08/17/12 10:30 PM Reader experiment for increasing effectiveness
Andrea Offline
hairtell.com founder
Top 10 Contributor

Registered: 03/22/02
Posts: 4146
Loc: Los Angeles
[Note: I don't recommend plucking before electrolysis. Just shaving 4-7 days before. That way the electrologist can see the actively growing hairs in anagen stage. --AJ]

From a reader:

My electrolysis session yesterday seemed to be a successful test of my whole new approach. During the weeks before sessions I’ve been regularly 1) vigorously massaging my face and 2) exfoliating, to maintain the skin’s healing ability. I’ve been 3) taking a Tylenol Codine 2hours before sessions and 4) applying Lido-cream to my face 1hr before, for pain reduction. During sessions I’ve also been 5) thoroughly icing my face before, during and after treatment, which has some excellent combined effects with the pain meds, and also let my therapist raise the heat setting on the probe. I’ve tried and found that 6) Aveeno “Ultra-Calming daily moisturizer” is nice for relieving my skin of redness and bumpy tension. Together the effect has been:
making the treatments far more tolerable
allowing larger areas to be cleared
speeding recovery,
allowing a higher setting and more permanent hair removal.

In the prior series of treatments my face was so sensitive we had to use low settings and move around a lot. It would still cause bumps that would last for days, keeping me from going out casually. The pain would build up during treatment too, causing some sessions to end pre-maturely. I was using the pain medications, but they were not making the treatment tolerable, and so with the low setting it was hardly progressing.

Now, doing the electrolysis on skin that is “thoroughly chilled” greatly adds to the numbing effect of the pain meds, while also delaying and reducing local inflammation reactions. I think (??) reducing blood flow in the areas being done might also let the “hot spot” at the tip of the probe last a few seconds longer, to have more lasting effect on the follicle (??).

I also experimentally tried 7) clearing my upper lip by plucking, to speed up the process. It was still painful to pluck all the upper lip hairs, but not more painful than electrolysis, and I cleared the entire lip with no lasting redness or swelling. I did both four days and two days prior to the first electrolysis session to clear the area and keep it clear. I think we’ve showed that works well too, at least with my having been on estrogen for 8 months. I was shaving daily before and just stopped shaving there altogether.

Each of the three treatments since have more easily cleared the whole upper lip of hairs, with re-growth getting weaker rather than stronger. It seems to indicate (??) that repeatedly clearing only very juvenile hairs, from an area of well chilled skin, speeds up the electrolysis. The benefit shown in those three sessions was before going to the higher setting, which should only further speed up the process. So next week I’ll try clearing other limited areas by plucking, to then have new areas with only juvenile hairs to clear of hair growth.

My icing technique was to bring a cooler with large and small Ace cold compress gel packs, plus ice to keep the gel packs really cold. I thoroughly pre-chilled the areas to be done next for 15-20 min prior to treatment. Because the treatment was for my face, done from my left side, we started the hour session with 20 minutes on the pre chilled left cheek, while I was pre-chilling the lips and chin areas to work on in the next 20 minutes. While those were being worked on I pre-chilled the right cheek to be worked on last. The “Ultra-calming” cream does help with quick recovery of a healthy appearance the morning after.
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#100686 - 08/17/12 10:56 PM Re: Reader experiment for increasing effectiveness [Re: Andrea]
Brenton Offline
Top 10 Contributor

Registered: 06/09/11
Posts: 721
Loc: SoCal
Originally Posted By: Andrea
Tylenol Codine 2hours before sessions


This is a prescription pain killer. I don't know how likely it would be for a doctor to prescribe this over a topical anesthetic, even if one told their doctor they are going for electrolysis. Not to mention having to drive to an electrolysis appointment while under codeine, it seems better to work with an electrologist who has a setup with a doctor/nurse to provide lidocaine injections. At least here in Southern California, that seems a lot more of a possibility.

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#100701 - 08/19/12 01:59 PM Re: Reader experiment for increasing effectiveness [Re: Andrea]
JessieH Offline
Member

Registered: 08/18/12
Posts: 8
Andrea, thanks for posting this for me. btw, To clarify, the "plucking" I described was to be one and only one time.

I totally agree it would not help at all if used repeatedly. Clearing a small area with plucking once (and only once) did seem to let me stop shaving it entirely, and then clear it each session by electrolysis once a week thereafter. So, I'll have to see if it really quickens the whole process, as it seems at first.

The best trick was the thorough icing, though, before, during and after! It saved my sensitive skin a LOT of pain and injury.

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#100959 - 09/01/12 09:04 PM Re: Reader experiment for increasing effectiveness [Re: JessieH]
JessieH Offline
Member

Registered: 08/18/12
Posts: 8
After a couple more tries with **electrolysis on well chilled areas of skin** I can confirm it's definitely a lot less painful, and results in a lot less inflammation afterward. Chilling numbs the skin, is one obvious thing, the more thorough chilling the better. That it also reduces the blood flow to the injured location evidently has a lasting effect too. So, ice or cold compresses can be more effective before than after. I also believe vigorous massage in the days before also helps.

The catch I didn't expect was my technician and I would decide to raise the temperature setting, and not realize it could then be dangerously high. She got carried away and started to concentrate on areas that had not been chilled, and then didn't get to some chilled areas till they had warmed up! I should not have been polite in ignoring the pain, as I still have sores three days later.. Need careful planning to have it work.

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#100962 - 09/02/12 09:26 AM Re: Reader experiment for increasing effectiveness [Re: JessieH]
ekade Offline
Top 20 Contributor

Registered: 02/14/10
Posts: 306
I have a question about chilling the area by ice before electrolysis treatment. Maybe it does numb the area, but isn’t the skin will be in goose-bumps, which shrinks the follicle opening and make the insertion more difficult?

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#101141 - 09/14/12 12:23 PM Re: Reader experiment for increasing effectiveness [Re: ekade]
JessieH Offline
Member

Registered: 08/18/12
Posts: 8
Chilling the skin seems not to restrict the follicle, as the technician is not slowed at all. She is able to actually both work faster, by doing more closely spaced strings of follicles in a row, and with a higher setting. So it seems more gets done that has more lasting effect, with less disturbance to my skin too.

So it's actually it seems to offer a quite big benefit, risky only in that it's takes care to make sure only well chilled areas are done. I do clearly notice the day after which areas were not well chilled when done. They may have been chilled enough to not hurt badly, for me, but have lots of welts that take a day or so to go away.

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#101142 - 09/14/12 12:33 PM Re: Reader experiment for increasing effectiveness [Re: Brenton]
JessieH Offline
Member

Registered: 08/18/12
Posts: 8
Yes, I don't think the prescription Tylenol-Codeine so important. I had a supply, and it seemed to keep the build-up of pain from becoming intolerable. The ice packs do that too.

My initial problem with electrolysis was that the technician had to use such a low setting to get anything lasting done! Even with a thick smear of the Lido/Lanocane cream for an hour before, my facial nerves seemed to remember every sting. As a build-up of pain that reaction made me end sessions pre-maturely too. If others have that problem, it's important to solve it somehow.

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#101143 - 09/14/12 01:00 PM Re: Reader experiment for increasing effectiveness [Re: JessieH]
JessieH Offline
Member

Registered: 08/18/12
Posts: 8
I think I solved another problem this week. This method lets my sensitive skin get hit very hard, without immediate reaction. It also seems to leave the skin a bit more sensitive to cosmetics for a few days.

I found some weeks I got serious flair-ups of red spots, two days post-treatment. Initially, the night and morning after treatment, my skin showed little reaction, so I thought it was healed. Not so. The next night and day I sometimes got lots of bright red spots and followed by lots of scab formation, taking the whole week to heal.

I'm not completely sure I've solved it, but I think it was my use of expensive "high quality" cosmetics, my calming and healing moisturizers and make-up. A hint to the source of the problem is that it was the cheap, old fashioned stuff, Aloe and Vaseline and the stuff you have to shake before use, that didn't cause the reaction. So it might be the chemical emulsifiers doing it, though I'm not sure.

So to avoid the reaction, for two days I now only gently pat my face with mild cleanser and rinse, lightly applying make-up you have to shake first when going out, putting off everything else for two days.

Two make-up brands that seemed OK were "New York Color - Skin matching foundation" $2.50 for 1.3oz, and "Berkowitz Dermiseptic after treatment lotion" $10 for 1oz, from my electrologist

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#101150 - 09/15/12 05:32 AM Re: Reader experiment for increasing effectiveness [Re: JessieH]
LeahC Offline
Contributor

Registered: 01/16/12
Posts: 21
Loc: TX
Thanks for sharing for your experience, Jessie. I have thought about pre-icing before but I've not actually tried it yet. However, I've recently started treatments on my legs and if the first couple of sessions are anything to go by, I may yet employ the ice-in-advance trick when it comes to the ankles! (ouch)

So far, though, I have only used ice at my electrologist's on 2 occasions, both times after brief treatments on the upper lip area (not very coarse or dense, just dark hair noticeable in pale skin). Each time she slathered me beforehand with a lidocaine lotion she keeps on hand (much stronger than the stuff I buy myself at the drugstore), and that is generally sufficient to make it virtually painless everywhere except dead center under my nose. She makes me ice afterward, though, and however strange it may sound I think the holding the ice against my skin for a long period of time is more painful than the zap of the probe! Do you not have any trouble exposing your skin that way for an extended time? I mean, there is numbing but then there is a pain sensation from being *too* cold.

I can't help you on the cosmetics issue, sorry. I don't have any experience trying to use them so soon after a treatment. What I can say from my experience is, the less you "do" to a treated area, the faster and less troublesome the healing process seems to go. Wherever you've been treated, try to not even touch that area. At bedtime do your aloe & tea tree oil (or whatever your personal aftercare regime is) and then leave it alone. I usually give it at least 24 hours before a first cleansing with soap, and that as mild as you can find. My favorite brand/product for this is Philosophy's "Purity Made Simple" facial cleanser (but it can be used all over) because it is nice & neutral -- very gentle, no exfoliating beads and fragrance-free. Normally my fave is Burt's Bees deep cleansing cream but that is somewhat thick & more difficult to rinse, so I avoid it right after treatment when skin is feeling so delicate.

One other thing I would look at specifically, since this treatment has been on the face: how do you sleep? In your latest post you say you were healing well initially, and the red spots/scabs are turning up not after a session but only after you've been home for a couple of days. Are you sleeping on your back, with only your hair & the back of your head against the pillow... or do you sleep on your tummy/sides, with your just-zapped face rubbing up against fabric for 8 hours overnight? If the latter, it ought to be a just-washed pillowcase! Preferably one with soft, breathable fabric that's as face-friendly as possible. (That is one of those things you maybe don't think about in terms of your "follow-up routine" but I have seen it repeated several times on this board and once somebody tells you then it seems obvious. lol)

One last thing, if I may ask, Jessie, since the original post seems to hint that you were having more than the usual trouble with sensitivity: have you tried some of the other techniques discussed here on the forum for pain management? (e.g. caffeine avoidance) If yes, were those not helpful in your case? Or had you tried some other tactics that just didn't work for you?

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#101151 - 09/15/12 05:38 AM Re: Reader experiment for increasing effectiveness [Re: Brenton]
LeahC Offline
Contributor

Registered: 01/16/12
Posts: 21
Loc: TX
Originally Posted By: Brenton
Originally Posted By: Andrea
Tylenol Codine 2hours before sessions


Not to mention having to drive to an electrolysis appointment while under codeine,


Brenton, that was my first thought as well about the codeine –- that's a moderately strong (prescription) painkiller and I would NOT want to drive myself to an appointment & back while using such a thing. If you are going to do that regularly, Jessie, I hope you have a friend waiting with you or at least dropping off/picking up. To a lesser degree that goes for anybody taking first-gen antihistamines to block inflammatory reactions -- those things can make you relaxed & very drowsy, very quickly... great on the treatment table, not so much on the road. Be safe!

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