Subscribe & Support This Site!
consumer hair removal forum
Topic Options
Rate This Topic
Hop To:
#125679 - 01/19/18 02:26 PM Newbie With a Few Questions
roslynholcomb Offline

Registered: 01/16/18
Posts: 2
I’m a 53 year old African American woman who has been dealing with facial hair basically forever. I’ve been assessed for PCOS twice and both times they said I didn’t have it, but boy, do I have the symptoms. I had electrolysis 15 years ago, but I don’t think my technician was very good and mostly tweezed my hair. I then switched to laser which made it worse.

I’ve finally found a good electrologist and I go for my fourth appointment tomorrow. She uses blend on the highest setting as my follicles are very distorted from years of plucking, plus I have naturally curly coarse hair anyway. She said the follicle is almost circular. She has it set on the highest setting, and I haven’t been cleared yet. I go every week and each of my sessions are 1.5 hours except the first which was only 45 minutes. I don’t feel any tugging, and she zaps each hair several times. I haven’t had any of them to come back, though she said they would though they would be finer and easier to treat.

None of this is surprising as I’ve learned from this forum and expect this to take about a year. Here’s the problem; it hurts. She has offered to turn it down, but that would probably slow it down even further and I want this hair off my face ASAP.

I’ve ordered some lidocaine cream but it won’t be here until next week. Should I ask her to turn it down for this session then go back up after I get the cream?

Also, I have a lot of hyperpigmentation; not from electrolysis, but from years of tweezing and ingrowns. She suggested that once I get rid of all the hair I should try a chemical peel. I’m concerned about chemical peels on African American skin, so I’m not sure. Is this pretty much standard?



Thread Sponsors
#125685 - 01/20/18 04:50 PM Re: Newbie With a Few Questions [Re: roslynholcomb]
Iluv2zap Offline
Top 10 Contributor

Registered: 11/19/14
Posts: 1548
No one at all wants to take on Roselyn's post for over 24 hours?

I deliberately didnt answer this question Roslyn because i felt of the team of really great electrologists on hairtell, there were others more qualified to answer this question better than I , who have treated a grand total of 2 clients ever of African American Descent.I live in a subsidized housing project amoungst many of similar ethnicity and a million other ethnicities , but they dont come get electrolysis from me, and wouldnt be in a financial position to do so. Those in the US come accross this skin type much more frequently and would therefore be more familiar with the treatment concerns. I will however make an attempt to convey what I do know to you.

When treating those of African American Descent, we can be talking about a vast array of skin tones ranging from almost tan to dark brown. We do see an increase in the incidence of hyperpigmentation in those of olive complexion, typically those of indian or pakistani/middle eastern descent.Hyperpigmentation however is not a treatment concern. While it can and is more commonly known to occur in olive skin tones hyperperpigmentation from electrolysis ALWAYS fadescompletely at the termination of treatment.I treat a lot of clients of idian pakistani descent and they know it can happen, but they have the information to not sweat it if it does.
What is of more of a treatment concern in African American heritage descendants is keloid scar formation or the susceptability to.My first African american client did have some pre-existing keloid formation. Its very difficult skin to perform electrolysis on. Those that treat this skin type on a more regular basis could comment further on how common keloid formation is.

Follicle shape takes on the shape of the hair. African American have very flat shaped hairs which results in very curled hair, and curled hair follicles.

In response to discomfort however, none of these treatment concerns have any bearing. I'm going to paste my canned response to my FAQ regarding pain management. The most important points you cantake from this are: get more than enugh sleep, reduce stress of all kinds.

Is electrolysis painful? What can you recommend to reduce discomfort?

In general the discomfort felt from electrolysis treatments is fairly tolerable. Some areas are more comfortable that others and the amount of discomfort felt is individual.
​Inquiries about reduction of discomfort in electrolysis is a question we receive often at the clinic . We utilize multiple techniques to reduce discomfort and to make treatments more tolerable.
The number one step to reduce discomfort is to reduce stress on mind and body. Stress of all kinds serves to increase the response to discomfort and pain. For this reason we recommend taking direct steps to reduce stress of all kinds immediately before an appointment. Stressful reviews at work, and stress in the home, are a good reason to be booking your electrolysis appointments at another time.
Getting enough sleep the night before your appointment will help to reduce stress and discomfort, and allow for longer duration electrolysis sessions.
Forms of distraction can help to reduce discomfort. These can include music over headphones, use of a stress ball, and several over techniques.
Caffeine, like stress, can serve to heighten the body’s response to pain or discomfort, and should be reduced or eliminated in the 24 hours prior to an appointment.
All forms of electrolysis utilize moisture in the follicle and the more moisture that is present provides for better results, and also serves to reduce discomfort. For this reason we do recommend that you are sufficiently hydrated. This is of important note most especially to our transgender clients who utilize spironolactone as an antiandrogen. Spironolactone reduces moisture in the body and you must be careful to stay hydrated. This can also be overdone however, and should be done in moderation.
A Tylenol or Ibuprophen taken 20-30 minutes before an appointment can help reduce pain.
Topical anesthetics such as EMLA or 5% Lidocaine applied to the skin before an appointment can reduce or eliminate discomfort, but caution should be used. 5% Lidocaine in the “Xylecaine” brand can be purchased at most Walmarts for approximately $15 at the pharmacy counter, EMLA costs approximately $80 at Shoppers Drug Mart. Occlusion should be used (plastic wrap over the skin to prevent the anesthetic cream from rubbing off on clothing and surroundings). We recommend using Glad Press n Seal wrap for this purpose as it can be cut to shape and sealed against the skin in uncovered areas. While generally safe, we recommend you do not cover an area larger than an A4 piece of paper, and summon medical assistance in the case of a rare adverse reaction. Lidocaine and EMLA work better the longer beforehand they are applied, up to 2 hours before to get maximum effect.
Discomfort increases with the length of the session, but tolerance increases over time and is particular to the individual. Some may find long sessions quite tolerable, while others will have more difficulty. For this reason we normally recommend new electrolysis clients book appointments of an hour or less, and then allow for longer sessions as they are able to.

I hope you find this information helpful Roslyn.

Seana Richmond
Certified Electrologist.
Electrolysis By Seana

#125686 - 01/20/18 08:39 PM Re: Newbie With a Few Questions [Re: roslynholcomb]
Michael Bono Online

Top 10 Contributor

Registered: 01/11/11
Posts: 3513
Loc: Santa Barbara, CA USA
Great job Seana!

#125689 - 01/21/18 09:32 PM Re: Newbie With a Few Questions [Re: roslynholcomb]
C O'Connell Offline
Top 10 Contributor

Registered: 05/17/09
Posts: 740
Loc: Sydney,Australia
Bear in mind Roslyn that your first few treatments are the worst of the worst. In a couple of weeks time you will begin to have a little regrowth from these very distorted follicles and they will slide out easily, so not all of the treatment time will be spent on first time, extra challenging distorted hairs. I have very little experience of treating this hair type personally but must say that those hairs require extra skill and patience. Your practitioner sounds great and I wish you a speedy few months until you will reclaim your naturally smooth skin.
Christine O' Connell, D.R.E., F.I.E. ,M.B.I.A.E. (UK)

#125692 - 01/22/18 05:57 AM Re: Newbie With a Few Questions [Re: roslynholcomb]
stoppit&tidyup Offline
Top 10 Contributor

Registered: 05/04/08
Posts: 1822
Loc: London, UK
Hi Roslyn,

Just a few things from a client's point of view.

If you don't feel any tugging and the hairs are sliding out once she's treated the follicle, it's a good indicator. However, I would say that I hope that the majority of the treated follicles are irreparably damaged and do not produce a hair again - those that do should be a minimum and rather an effect of unintentionally undertreating the follicle. Perhaps you will have more than her other clients if she finds the distortion of the follicles means they are more difficult for her to treat.

I would not recommend asking her to reduce the settings to make it more comfortable. I would assume she is using those required to get a good release and anything less will be under treatment. Do use Lidocaine or EMLA following Senna's instructions. It does start to wear off pretty quickly once the occlusion is removed so I would advise peeling back and wiping off the cream bit by bit as the treatment progresses.

In my opinion, there's very little a client can do to minimise the pain and discomfort. The majority of the things that can be done are from the electrologists side; to aim to get a good release by introducing equipment/techniques etc that allow for less aggressive settings.

I think you will find that the hyperpigmentation will improve as treatments progress. Although you may get some new PIH from the electrolysis itself. Once you've finished treatments, you can assess whether or not you need to think about peels or other treatments (I'm sure there are lots of options for African American skins)... although I think you'll find that they will just fade with time anyway.

Happy to be corrected on any of the above.

Edited by stoppit&tidyup (01/22/18 05:57 AM)
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 Nov 2013, once yearly sessions with Josefa. Completed reduction of facial/neck fuzz in approx 27 hrs TTT]


Moderator:  Andrea 
Sponsored Links
Recent Posts
Pro-Tec Probes Recommendations for Apilus
by Deedra
Today at 10:06 AM
PCOS over-diagnosed
by Michael Bono
Today at 10:00 AM
Unwanted hair - help/advice!
by Michael Bono
Today at 09:36 AM
Apilus Platinum Pur for Sale
by laraisk
Yesterday at 09:14 AM
Something wrong
by blueberry
10/18/18 09:11 PM
Top Posters
LAgirl 9994
Deedra 9725
James W. Walker VII 8055
Andrea 4158
Michael Bono 3511
Who's Online
0 registered (), 112 Guests and 3 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod