Friday, August 23, 2013

Up For Electrolysis

A couple of weeks ago, I drove up to Pennsylvania for more electrolysis, a two day session that would include my second full facial clearing by James Walker of Executive Clearance.   I talked about my first clearing in this post about my experience in June.  328 miles is a long drive but I am very motivated to get the most effective hair removal in as short an amount of time as possible, especially on my face.  The main office is located in Buffalo, NY which is 610 miles from my home in Rocky Mount, NC.  I will actually be driving up to Buffalo in mid October for my next clearing and, because it is new territory for me, I know the trip itself will be an adventure.
Big Ben style clock on a church right next to I-95 in Richmond, Virginia.  I pass it while going through downtown on every trip north. 
Traffic is almost always a nightmare around Washington, DC, but on this trip I got lucky with it.  I passed the capital area between 4 and 4:30 pm and was able to maintain the speed limit on I-95 almost all the way through the area.  I hit Baltimore during rush hour and experienced a couple of slow downs but nothing like the stop and go (mostly stop) traffic I ran into in the DC area on my last trip up, in June.  I made it to my hotel in York, Pa in 6.5 hours, which included rest stops, one fuel stop and a picnic supper at the Maryland-Pennsylvania border.

I was actually able to cover up the 4 days of hair growth fairly well with concealer, so the trip north was not as awkward as my first one in June when I didn't even make an attempt to cover it.  It had been about 10 weeks since my first full clearing, and only in the last 3 or 4 weeks had any significant facial hair returned.  Even then there had been a tremendous reduction and a couple of weeks before this trip I was worried that there would not even be enough growth to warrant driving so far for a clearing right now.  There had been a return in the last few weeks of the need to shave daily, but I could tell a big difference after the first clearing.

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We got a late start on the electrolysis Thursday, which worked out well for me because I had forgotten my Lidocaine cream that is used on the sensitive areas around the lips and, for me, the neck.  I had to make quite a few calls back home to my doctor's office, Wal Mart Pharmacy back home and the local Wal Mart in York.  Finally, at 4 pm, James had made it to town and set up the equipment and I had my prescription in hand and headed over to the house he works out of when in the York area.  Even with the late start, we got a couple of hours in that first day.

By mid afternoon Friday my face had been completely cleared of hair.  A total of almost 9,000 hairs removed in 6 hours of electrolysis.  That is almost 1500 hairs per hour and I understand the industry average is 300-400 hairs removed per hour.  The fact that he is much faster than anyone else I have found, as well as the fact that I find the quality of the work is second to none and he does full clearings in one extended session, is why I chose James Walker and Executive Clearance to do the rest of my electrolysis.

I already had about 32 hours of electrolysis before my first clearing in June.  In June I bought some prepaid time from a friend at a reduced rate because she could not afford to travel right now.  So, this time I bought 100 hours of prepaid electrolysis for myself.  You get a significant discount for buying a block of that much time and I feel like that will not only finish all my facial electrolysis but also be enough to clear some areas of my body as well.

15 months of hormones have caused my body hair to become much lighter, thinner and be much slower growing.  I had fairly light body hair anyway and what few hairs on my back have disappeared completely from HRT.  My arm hair is very light now and I rarely shave it; I am not sure I need to anymore. I have reached a point where the hair on my legs is very light and grows slower than my ex spouse's.  My sparse chest hair could barely be seen even if not shaved.  Still, I want my chest hair gone, because that is one place that women do not have hair.

Friday afternoon I also got my chest area cleared and we started on my underarms.  Some have asked me why I want my underarms cleared because women do have hair there.  I just feel my hair is a little thicker there than anywhere else and it is sort of a pain in the butt keeping it shaved with no stubble.  I know women that have had laser or electrolysis on the underarms and one genetic female friend who had her underarms cleared with laser told me it is starting to come back.  This is one example of why I feel laser hair removal is not nearly as effective as electrolysis, the hair tends to come back over time.  Laser can be a decent way to clear a large area in a quick time, such as when someone has heavy beard shadow and is going full time right away.  But they need to realize that eventually most of those same hairs will return and need to be removed with electrolysis. 

Luckily, I never had heavy beard shadow and now I don't have shadow at all, but I do have to shave.  I cannot wait to see how much reduction I got on this clearing though and will be right back at it with another clearing in October, then another in January. 

It turns out that underarm hair is tricky to remove with electrolysis.  James had no problem clearing all of it, it was just slower going than the face and this is apparently because of the skin in that area and the fact that hairs can grow in different directions under the arms.  I found it to be a sensitive area, almost as sensitive as my neck but not quite.  I think everyone agrees that the upper lip is the most sensitive place to have the electrolysis needle inserted and it is the one area I Have to have lidocaine to make it through.  James' technique is Much less painful than anyone else I have tried and the upper lip is the only area that I really need lidocaine on, but I also use it on my neck and now, underarms. Some say they need to have Lidocaine injections to make it through electrolysis and others complain about how painful it is, but with the right technician using the right equipment I find it to be quite tolerable.  I have experienced electrolysis that was very painful and I stopped going to that person because of that and because I was getting some scarring on my chin.

Overall, I had a total of 10 hours of electrolysis on this trip, 6 on my face and the other 4 completely cleared my upper body except for the arms.  I thought all that would take quite a bit longer so I am very pleased with the results.  I did get a couple of bruises on my neck where my skin is unusually extremely sensitive but they have faded away now.  This is the same area I had big trouble when I got the one laser treatment so I am happy to escape with a couple of temporary bruises.  Considering how sensitive my skin is, electrolysis is not as hard on my skin as I thought it would be or as tough on it as it was in the beginning.  Finding the right operator made all the difference and that's why I am willing to travel so far.  I know I am going to Buffalo next time but my real question is where do I go next, on me, for electrolysis? 


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I have to say that in my two visits, I have found the people of York, Pennsylvania to be extremely friendly and it seems to be a really nice place.  It's about the same size as my hometown of Rocky Mount, NC; maybe not quite as big but the area seems to have about the same population.  I find a lot of similarities between the two cities but the architecture is different, especially the older, historic houses and buildings which remind of the styles seen in historic Philadelphia or Baltimore.  I wonder what Buffalo will be like?  I will find out in October and I do know they get a LOT more snow than we get in Eastern North Carolina.  Rocky Mount averages 2.37 inches of snowfall annually while the Buffalo, NY average is 67.81 inches.  Yes, that's quite a big difference so I believe traveling up there this winter is going to be quite a "white' adventure.  Luckily, I love cold weather and snow.  Next time I will really be going UP for electrolysis.





Views of Downtown York from the Waterway Grill.

Pretty, rolling farmland in York County, Pennsylvania.