Hair is not just hair. Everyone has hair and skin characteristics that differentiate them from the next person. While most fall into general categories, it should still be noted that no two are exactly alike. So it goes without saying that the treatment for eliminating them is never exactly the same. This is why I like my work.
Hair is generally classed into two primary groups, sebaceous and terminal. The picture you see here is a sebaceous hair, though of an extreme kind. It possesses a shallow root, often emanating from a sebaceous gland itself, and it is generally white in color and grows quite slowly. It is the same type of hair that generally causes “peach fuzz” that most people have no great problem with, unless they become large and wiry, like these two.
Sebaceous hairs can often appear later in the facial electrolysis time-table after the need for serious shaving has passed. Some sebaceous hairs grow so slowly, that they will not rise above the skin for nearly three months after the last shave.
The Swedish Moustache
This culprit is incredibly deceiving. It is usually blonde or at least a light brown. The client tends to be of Norwegian or Swedish extraction. At first glance, this project seems like it should be very easy to eliminate. Wrong. What follows the first clearing is a round of regrowth that appears as dense and as robust as the original. Following the clearing of the second regrowth, another mustache, a carbon copy of the first, grows. The potential for severe upper lip skin damage lies in the attempt to kill the hair by higher and higher machine settings. The “re-growth” is NOT a product of insufficient settings or bad work. It is the emergence of a great many dormant hairs. With Scandanavian extractions, visible hairs represent about 10-15% of the total hairs visible at any given time. Truly challenging. Strangely, the remaining facial hair is not as difficult as the upper lip.
Magnified at 100 times, the skin begins to look coarse and scaly. A very fine body hair exits a small follicle.
You are very lucky. The hair is usually very dark and noticeable, yet it removes so easily that I can often run with about half the power and achieve just as effective results. The apparent density at the beginning should not be cause for alarm as far fewer subsequent passes will be needed to render the skin completely hair-free. Covering the shadow until treatment is done is the worst of the problem. Regrowth is very fine and easily dealt with.
Note here the relative size of the hair emerging on the bottom with the size of the hair root on the top. This is generally the cause of the dark color of the skin. Only quality electrolysis will remove the coloration.
Mexican or South American
Generally South Americans tend to have more skin subsurface moisture. This makes galvanic electrolysis tremendously effective against the hair. While the initial color of the skin is dark, from the hairs and roots, removal is easy and permanence is good.
Central European or English
Well, those whose ancestry escaped the ravages of Eric, the Norseman, anyway. This type of hair represents what is “average” in terms of density and difficulty to kill. Usually the hair is quite deep and not easily done in. The regrowth can be significant. Typical number of hours to “do” a complete face is about 200. The first 100 to 150 are for clearing, but the last 50 hours may take place over 2 years for the occasional clean-up.
Getting even closer, this 200 times magnification again shows a fine body hair. By now, the skin has become quite another place.
Red Hair (English, Irish or Scandinavian)
For the most part, red hair dies quite readily. Generally regrowth is fairly normal but visibility is minimal. Because of minimal visibility or shadow, many Reds decide that they would rather shave than zap. This often leads to sessions running years longer than normal if they are motivated to complete at all. Bad move, I think. Hairs can still be felt, though not visible. Reds generally have quite fair skin and a properly done job can yield a most excellent complexion. On the other hand, skin damage is a very real possibility with the wrong operator.
For those who have been told that laser works on Red Hair…No, it doesn’t.
Closeup of the lower follicle and “dermal papilla” of red hair. Note the completeness of the follicle surrounding the hair. These hairs will not ever grow again, as the entire unit has been removed.
Eastern European, French, Dutch. More difficulty encountered here with quality removals. Difficulty and regrowth tend to be similar to central european. Some clients have very deep roots and the results of bad electrolysis can produce dark debris under the skin that may plague you for years, if not for life.
Regrowth, however, tends to be thin and easily removed on subsequent passes. There is something about black hair that seems to make it easier to remove than brown. Again visibility is an issue as the skin tends to look blue. What is actually visible is not the hair. Because of the lighter shade of skin tone, the transparency of the skin allows the shade of the root to be visible. Some cosmetics can cover it, latex paint works best.
I have seen laser work well on this type of hair provided that the skin tone is as close transparent as possible. HOWEVER, it should be well noted that black liquid keratin found at the dermal (base) of the hair can be scattered throughout the area and it is this “steam explosion” by-product that can result in permanent “jail house-tatoo” style of shadow that cannot be shaved off or easily covered……you have been warned.
Black, curly. To be honest, my experience with curly hair has been on Scandinavians and Italians so far. But I learned some things. I would emphatically recommend that the work be done with galvanic. No Thermolysis or Laser. Here is why. Lasers (and Thermolysis) can wreak havoc on the melanin layer in the skin. This could result in discolorations caused by the work. You may also have a tendency to keloid and this type of scarring could be very damaging.
Curly hair exiting the skin. Note two things, how the hairs tend to curve back into the skin, causing problems with ingrowns. Secondly, how the skin is discolored below the surface by the hair shaft. The closest shave cannot eliminate shadow because of this. Galvanic will “follow” the curvature of the follicle and the results should be more effective.
Curved hair. Note the curvature of the hair and the follicle as well.
Lately there has been a number of incidents of damage to clients with black, brown or tan skin from the use of laser on people of color:
American Indian, some Chinese
Generally, very thin beards and moustaches, however, the roots are exceptionally deep and difficult to remove on the first pass. There is a humongous problem with roots that continue producing hair while they die. This results in black keratin (the stuff of hair) wadding into the skin, no longer hair shaped. This black blob can be quite deep and difficult to remove.
Usually the second or third pass can be difficult, too, until every hair has been hit once. After that, the roots weaken and the regrowth is easily dealt with and speed picks up as well. Patience is the rule for those first clearings. They are difficult to do, but done properly, can result in high quality results.
Gray Hair (anyone)
I have also noticed that gray hair is yet another matter separate from all the above. The root systems will increase about 50% in depth and the texture or shear characteristics of the follicle will change also. Hairs with color that were easily removed at a given power setting may require an additional 25-30% when gray. Of late, I have noticed that gray hair has not presented nearly the same difficulty as it did in the past with the Blend Method. Galvanic is truly effective with gray hair, and completion times have approximated that of normally colored hair.
I was recently informed of a process called ELOS Laser for the treatment of gray hair. Result? Total Waste of Money !!!