Transition Basics: Electrolysis

Except for a blessed few, facial hair is a major curse for transwomen. It is painful, time-consuming and expensive to remove, and it looks unsightly for days after it is removed. Furthermore the hair needs to grow out at least 1/8th inch for the electrologist to remove it. Andrea James' respected consumer site, cautions that, aside from some kinds of laser—which is isn't permanent for all patients—only (properly done) electrolysis permanently removes hair.

The three main kinds are: galvanic (usually multiple-needle), thermolysis and Blend (which combines the two). While people respond differently to these methods I've always found multiple-needle galvanic the least painful and most effective. It cleared my face in five months with almost no regrowth. My prior experience taught me that badly done thermolysis or blend hurts worse, had a lot of hair regrowth, and damaged my skin so badly I needed a chemical peel in '91.

Total Eradication, One Whisker at a Time
My 1982 Arizona driver's license shows just how bad a problem I'd had. The center photo is from Summer 1989, halfway through my electrolysis and about eight months into HRT. Unfortunately it is not close or high-res enough to reveal the scarring; my skin had the texture of an orange peel. The rightmost is from April 1991 and shows the final result after my face had been fully cleared. It is also a month after I had a chemical peel to erase damage from poorly-done thermolysis before I'd started multi-needle galvanic. I needed heavy sunblock for months afterward when the skin fully recovered.

Transition Basics: HRT