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#111512 - 01/04/14 08:29 AM Manual thermolysis
amatthew Offline
Member

Registered: 10/06/13
Posts: 3
Hi all,

I have been a lurker of these forums for quite some time and this is my very first post. I will start by saying that I have found this community to be an extremely valuable and informative one that has helped me greatly over the last year.

I am a 27 year old male in Melbourne, Australia. I began getting laser hair removal in Sydney when I was 20 years old and like many others I experienced hair stimulation in several areas that resulted in a lot of frustration and depression. I continued with laser for years as I really didn't think there was any other way to manage the excess hair, but thanks to these forums I made the decision to begin electrolysis about six months ago.

Unfortunately it has been very difficult to find an experienced electrologist in Melbourne, and none that I have come across seem to use new machines that have micro/picoflash technology. The first electrologist I saw for five months was ok but was 'plucking' quite a lot of hairs (she used a combination of manual thermolysis and blend) - so I made the decision to find someone else. I have been seeing another electrologist for about a month now and she has been practicing electrolysis for about 35 years. While I am happy with the treatments themselves, she only performs manual thermolysis on her very old Sterex(?) epilator. I am seeing her for two hours per week and I am wondering if I am actually likely to achieve any permanent results with his kind of method within the usually quoted timeframe of 12-18 months. I have read that manual thermolysis can take years to be effective. Is it worth continuing, or should I perhaps start thinking about getting my treatments interstate from an electrologist who uses more modern technology? I have often seen comments on this forum that the effectiveness depends on the skill of the operator, but would still love some insights from some professionals in this field.

Thanks so much for your help!

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#111513 - 01/04/14 03:28 PM Re: Manual thermolysis [Re: amatthew]
SeanaTG Offline
Top 10 Contributor

Registered: 08/13/13
Posts: 988
Loc: The Great White North eh
Manual thermolysis is no less effective than computerized pico flash. It may not be able to be epilated per hair as fast but the result, a dead hair follicle is as effective either way.Neither does the age of the machine matter all that much, thermolysis has been done successfully for many years.

That said was one of the electrologists you tried Christine O' Connell in Sydney? She posts here and seems to know what she's doing.I believe she uses modern equipment as well.

Seana

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#111514 - 01/04/14 03:35 PM Re: Manual thermolysis [Re: amatthew]
Arlene R. Batz, CPE Offline

Top 10 Contributor

Registered: 01/14/05
Posts: 1160
Loc: New York City - Queens
Hi amatthew.

Laser induced hair growth is something I personally experienced when I worked for a clinic back in the 90's. I was the electrologist there and then trained to do laser. I was initially a guinea pig for that clinic. Sigh. So, I understand the upset and frustration. There are just some criteria/areas that are not ideal to treat with laser and other body areas where the results are phenomenal. Clarify, you got laser hair removal during a 7 year period? Did they grade your skin pigment? Were the hairs thick overall? Hair color and hair thickness? How frequently did you go? What areas did you see good results? What areas did you see stimulated growth?

More people are discovering that skin color and hair color do not matter for electrolysis. We successfully treat it all. Now that you discovered electrolysis, your new concerns are:
> new machine vs. old machine
> completion of treatment within a 12 - 18 mo. time

If you happen to come across an electrologist who is using a high-end modern epilator and works in a way where the hairs are removed very quickly with minimal/no resistance, great! If you can't find this, then what is the best criteria outside of that situation?

Find an electrologist, regardless of needle type epilator, who can get those hairs to release most easily. The advantage of the newer machines is that the electrologist has many options in the way energy is released. This can mean that more follicles are treated with greater comfort in your 2 hour appointment.
Go for the operator that gets a higher percentage of easy releases - regardless of needle type epilator.

Would you add some clarification on your use of the term, "manual"?
When you indicate, "Manual" do you mean that the epilator was analog (with dials) rather than digital? Do you mean, "Manual" as using foot pedals/finger switch?

In any event, it is not the machine that will determine the better treatment. It is the way the tech. is using it.

You worry that the speed is a little slower and that you might not be completed within a year to a year in a half. What time frame did the electrologist give you?

Please clarify, in your 2 hour weekly appointment, is your electrologist clearing over and over again all of the areas that you want completed? Are new areas being treated in this 2 hr. appointment? Those areas that were treated first and is consistently being treated, might very well be hair free in under 2 years. What did your electrologist tell you about overall treatment time?

All the best,


_________________________
Arlene Batz, CPE: Educator, Board Certified Electrologist, NYS Licensed Esthetician.
http://endunwantedhair.com

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#111579 - 01/06/14 11:15 AM Re: Manual thermolysis [Re: Arlene R. Batz, CPE]
amatthew Offline
Member

Registered: 10/06/13
Posts: 3
Hi Seana and Arlene,

Thank you for your responses!

Seana, I am aware of Christine in Sydney and would LOVE to be treated by her as I have heard such wonderful things, but unfortunately I am in Melbourne (1.5 hour flight away...)

Arlene, to answer your questions and give you some background;

- I have not had my skin tone graded, however I am of mediterranean background (Italian). Most of the year my skin is pretty white, however there is always a very subtle olive colouring regardless of whether I have been exposed to sun or not. I would guess I would be a III or IV. I can develop a nice tan gradually but still get burnt occasionally.

- I have only ever been treated with a Candela GentleLase (Alexandrite)

- In 2006 I began laser treatments on the following areas: lower and upper legs, lower and upper arms, chest and stomach and back of neck. The hair was thick, black and dense on my legs (more so lower), lower arms and very centre of my chest. The hair on the periphery of the chest, entire stomach, upper arms and back of neck was light brown and quite 'fluffy' - but as I was hair-obsessed I wanted it treated thinking laser would get rid of any hair with pigment in it (this is what I was told by the clinic). From 2006-2008 I was getting treatments every 6-8 weeks and am not sure of the settings that were used during this period.

- When I first started treatments I also had a few 'stray' light black hairs on my shoulders and these spots were 'zapped' during my regular treatments. Over time, there seemed to be more darker hairs appearing in this area and I would say after about 12 months, I was getting my entire shoulder area treated. After 24 months, I was getting the entire upper half of my back treated as well.

- 24 months after I began treatments, I would say I had a 40-50% reduction of hair density on the legs and chest. Arms did not really change - maybe a few very small patches with little/no growth. At this point I had experienced stimulation on the back of my neck, upper arms, shoulders and upper back, and possibly on the peripheral areas of the stomach and chest. The hair that was stimulated was light to medium brown, but quite dense - the worst areas for stimulation were the shoulders and back of neck. There were also a few random nasty terminal hairs that popped up on my inner arms that were very thick and black.

- I moved interstate in 2008 and from this point I only got the 'problem areas' (i.e. upper arms, shoulders, upper back and neck) treated. Generally I was happy with how my legs and chest were looking - the hair was sparse and not very noticeable if I clippered it. For the first 6-12 months of 2008, I was being treated on 12-18J, 18mm spot size (gradually increasing the joules at each treatment). From 2009-2013, I was being treated on the 'highest setting' - 20J, 18mm spot size. I was getting these treatments every 10-12 weeks.

Although I have stopped laser on my 'problem areas' in favour of electrolysis, I recently started laser again on my lower arms only at higher settings (16J, 18mm) in October 2013 and I am noticing some improvements. I have had two treatments so far at 12 week intervals and the regrowth seems to be a lot sparser and lighter. I have my next appointment in a few days - but I'm a bit worried about the laser going back over those 'bald patches' or areas where the hair has thinned dramatically following the last treatment. I don't want to be back at square one...

Now for electrolysis...

By 'manual', I meant that the unit my current electrologist is using is not digital or 'modern' in any way - my guess is it would be about 20 years old. It's very small and has a single dial to adjust the current. The current is released manually with a finger switch. She works efficiently and I feel absolutely no resistance or pulling - I am pretty confident that she is zapping those hairs quite well, especially compared to my previous electrologist. She is quite obsessed with making sure she is approaching the hair from the right angles and has me changing positions quite a lot (she is also moving around a bit too to get the ideal position for the area she is treating). I guess time will tell!

As for the 12-18 month timeframe, this is what my previous electrologist quoted - however she also said that it would take about 10 hours to entirely clear my upper arms, shoulders, neck and half back and it took about 50 hours minimum. My current electrologist is kind of hesitant to quote a timeframe - she's just used previous clients as examples and said it can take up to a few years.

I currently have two one hour appointments each week and the goal is to clear and re-treat. We do not move on to new areas until regrowth in the previously treated areas have been cleared again. My feeling is that we will only need a single one hour appointment each week in about 6 months time (hopefully!)

All best,

-amatthew

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#111583 - 01/06/14 01:37 PM Re: Manual thermolysis [Re: amatthew]
SeanaTG Offline
Top 10 Contributor

Registered: 08/13/13
Posts: 988
Loc: The Great White North eh
Analog thermolysis machines work fine in the hands of a skilled operator.That your electrologist has that much passion for getting the angle just right, tells me you have a winner.

Seana


Edited by SeanaTG (01/06/14 01:38 PM)

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#111588 - 01/06/14 03:15 PM Re: Manual thermolysis [Re: SeanaTG]
Michael Bono Offline

Top 10 Contributor

Registered: 01/11/11
Posts: 3220
Loc: Santa Barbara, CA USA
Analog and Digital?

Think about this for a second folks.

When you step into a brand new Mercedes or BMW and look at the instrumentation what do you see? You SEE analog indicators. You do not see a “digital read-out” any more, because the top designers understood that “the old fashioned speedo,” for example, made more sense to people.

Still, there is nothing “analog” in a Mercedes’ system. The speedometer is not attached to the wheel with a cable (early 20th Century) or to the distributor (‘til the mid-1980s) because there aren’t distributors any more in ANY cars!

Likewise, there are no “analog” electrolysis machines any more. All machines are microprocessor controlled. Hell, you CAN’T even buy “analog components” any more (maybe in some random antique store?). Indeed, several manufacturers are using analog “dials” to satisfy the demands of their clients (and doing this is actually more expensive for them).

Furthermore, the CURRENTS used are not “magically digital.” There are no “zeros and ones” going into the follicle and the follicle is not filled with “pixels” … no ... this is Galvanic DC (producing lye) and HF (heat producing). Humans are “analog” and so is the actual current! There is nothing digital about a “burn.” (Electrolysis is a controlled burn!)

What makes machines interesting is their use of programming … very interesting and worthy of note too. I am not “knocking” the "computer-controlled" units … please! I think they are terrific and I support the new technology.

However, the whole “digital age” nomenclature is significantly overused these days. And, of course, historically, every era does this.

At one point we were in the “Atomic Age” and, YES FOLKS, the electrolysis machines of the period stated that their “output” was RADIATION! RADIATION! Yes, everybody wanted an “Atomic Age epilator!" (Seriously, there was never a reactor in any electrolysis unit!) And, at one time, we were all going to drive “atomic powered cars!” (Probably not a good idea?)

Same goes for the “Radio Age.” Ever wonder about "Radio City Music Hall," or why early movies always stated “Radio” in the title? Did you know that originally “RKO Studios” called themselves “an RKO RADIO Movie.” Why? Because we were in the “Radio Age” and everybody got into the action. Is there anything about a movie that’s, well, RADIO?

It’s not that “analog machines still work fine …” It’s just that there aren’t “analog” machines any more.

Yes, I have talked about this a few times before … but, I know this will never get any traction. You cannot change the “talk of the period.” But, I’m just “saying … “

And besides, this is my “morning book.”
(Seana, I'm just going outside to remove some snow ... tee hee!)

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#111589 - 01/06/14 03:30 PM Re: Manual thermolysis [Re: Michael Bono]
SeanaTG Offline
Top 10 Contributor

Registered: 08/13/13
Posts: 988
Loc: The Great White North eh
You're absolutely right Michael. I should have said " non-computerized units" work just as well as ones with fancy routines. It's a bit nitpicky though isnt it?

Seana

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#111590 - 01/06/14 03:52 PM Re: Manual thermolysis [Re: SeanaTG]
Michael Bono Offline

Top 10 Contributor

Registered: 01/11/11
Posts: 3220
Loc: Santa Barbara, CA USA
No, "words" are my craft.
I love the English language.

Most of us (well, mostly Americans) are sloppy with our usage (butchery?) … sadly; the British seem to be catching up to us. (This statement only relates to the general “populace at large.”)

To me "analog" denotes electrolysis units with vacuum tubes and hand wiring.

Remember the days when "everything" had a TRANSISTOR? And, predictably, the electrolysis manufacturers declared their revolutionary units: "TRANSISTORIZED!”

The Clare Company (now called Clareblend … and I did work for them for a few years) proudly advertised “the first transistorized electrolysis unit in the world.”

(Thing is, you could pretty much only buy transistors … and vacuum tubes had already become ancient history.)

In the 1950s, a battery-powered radio itself was called a “Transistor!” I don’t think we use that term any more. Does anybody know what a transistor is, or use the term? If you said, “I’m going to buy a transistor,” people would think you’re nuts. At one point in history that did mean something!

Words change. Meaning IS important. Crafting language is vital and not all that easy to communicate your message. (Remember too that all my thinking is usually based on the "history of the thing." It was my university training.)

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#111591 - 01/06/14 04:00 PM Re: Manual thermolysis [Re: Michael Bono]
stoppit&tidyup Offline
Top 10 Contributor

Registered: 05/04/08
Posts: 1807
Loc: London, UK
Can I say 'test patch' again?
_________________________
31/F/UK
Laser for reduction on Underarms, Bikini, Full Legs & 3/4 Arms. Skin type IV
Electrolysis - Further details in: My sister's electrolysis diary
[27hrs of Blend, April 2008-Dec 2010 in UK, for coarse hair on lower sideburns, coarse chin hair, completed upper lip, shaped eyebrows]
[Sept 2011 to date, once yearly sessions with Josefa. Completed reduction of facial/neck fuzz in approx 27 hrs TTT]

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#111592 - 01/06/14 04:30 PM Re: Manual thermolysis [Re: stoppit&tidyup]
Michael Bono Offline

Top 10 Contributor

Registered: 01/11/11
Posts: 3220
Loc: Santa Barbara, CA USA
Sure. I think everybody knows what “test patch” means? Clear, unambiguous and to the point. The language changes all the time, meanings change, it’s all about communication: overt and “subtle.” (Notice I used a lot of sentence fragments … it’s what we do today.)

In the old “Soviet days,” the Russians wanted to give the world the “blessings of communism.” Communism had a different meaning in the West!

Today the operative word “democracy” has wildly different meanings. In the West this is our cultural icon of the “holy grail.” In the theocracies of the Middle East, “democracy” has the meaning of uncontrolled people living sinful lives.

A friend that grew up in Syria said he was instructed in school that if “we have democracy, all the women will become whores and all the men homosexuals.” Which is REALLY funny if you think about it!

It’s all about meanings, and if people understand your meaning as you intended. This is no easy task. And, I’m certainly no arbiter of language. Damn!

As Churchill once said, “This is the sort of language up with which I shall not put!” Now, let’s all get back to pimples, swelling, regrowth and all that other “fun stuff!”

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