Although every journey will be unique, transgender women invariably see the face as their primary focus for initial surgery and enhancement. Breasts, genitals, hips, and everything else can be concealed for now, but the face is ‘skin exposed’ and the face is where you will be judged male or female.
Hair removal prior to facial feminisation surgery
Surgery of any kind can easily take a year to book and prepare for. In the meantime, you can be doing something substantial toward your transition and one of the significant tasks you can undertake is the removal of male-pattern hair growth.
As well as facial hair, this can include: chest hair, back hair, genital hair and even arm and leg hair yet most of this hair, apart from the face, can be concealed or temporarily removed for now.
Hormone treatment to feminise the body will slightly slow and soften beard growth, but it will never stop it.
When you look your best, you will feel your best and have the confidence to do your best. We are dedicated to helping you achieve your dream of having bare, hair-free skin by offering the most effective method of permanent hair removal available for transgender women: galvanic electrolysis. Galvanic electrolysis will work on every hair colour and every skin colour.
At PEACH CLINICS we work with our transwomen clients in two main areas: permanent removal of facial hair in preparation for facial feminisation surgery (FFS) and selective removal of genital hair in preparation for gender confirmation surgery (GCS).
If you are just beginning your transition, we encourage you to commence your permanent hair removal as soon as possible. Unlike medical procedures and hormone therapy, no approvals by a medical practitioner are required for
permanent hair removal and you can start whenever you wish.
Aside from the physical gains from permanently removing facial hair, the self-confidence gained is enormous. Transwomen live in constant fear of a 5 o’clock shadow becoming visible. There is only so much thick make-up you can wear in an effort to conceal hair growth. Unfortunately, beard hair is the fastest growing hair on your body! Depending on how fast your beard grows, this can be a simple annoyance, or something you live in constant fear of people seeing.
Removing facial hair also assists with optimal facial surgery outcomes. The densely packed follicles of the male beard can add 8mm to 10mm of thickness to the soft tissue of the jaw and distort the results achieved from facial surgery. Prior to facial surgery, there is no guesswork in attempting to reconcile your jawline outcome after surgery with your hoped for outcome after hair removal.
Why galvanic electrolysis is best
Surface treatments for hair removal such as shaving, waxing and depilatory creams have no effect on the hair for more than 1 or 2 millimetres below the skin’s surface. Nor will they make any contribution toward softening the jawline where densely packed beard follicles are emphasising it.
Laser or IPL can temporarily remove hair right down the follicle and prevent hair from regrowing for 6 to 12 months providing your skin and hair colour are suitable.
They have the advantage of speed, but the hair will eventually regrow and require repeated treatment. This is not permanent hair removal.
Thermolysis uses a microwave-powered needle to heat and remove each hair root. This treatment can prevent the hair from regrowing for 3 months or more. Sometimes the stem cells, which are the source of regeneration for the hair, will be destroyed with thermolysis and around 10% of hairs treated with this method may never regrow. However, hairs will have to be treated many times before, by chance, the stem cells are “hit”.
While practitioners of thermolysis will often call this method “electrolysis”, in reality it has little in common with galvanic electrolysis and should be regarded as hair reduction, not permanent hair removal.
Galvanic electrolysis works by passing an electric current into a follicle via a thin probe. There the saline water in the follicle is chemically decomposed through the electrolysis process and a minute amount of sodium hydroxide (lye) is produced.
The lye destroys the entire lining of the follicle and, most importantly, destroys the stem cells which control regeneration of the hair. These stem cells are contained in the area called the bulge situated just by the erector pili muscle. The outcome is a follicle that can never grow a hair again. The efficiency with which this method works has led the US Food and Drug Administration to class electrolysis as the only hair removal method which can claim to be permanent.
Galvanic electrolysis will not remove hair at the speed of a single probe thermolysis device, but has a “kill” rate approaching 100% rather than the 10% achieved by thermolysis. This more than makes up for the slower removal rate.
Another long-term effect of galvanic electrolysis is that the skin produces large amounts of collagen in response to the treatment, making the skin noticeably softer. Destroying the lining of the follicle with galvanic electrolysis also has the effect of shrinking the size of the follicles as you heal, leaving the skin significantly smoother.
Galvanic electrolysis remains the most reliable and effective hair removal method for transwomen.
Hair removal prior to GCS
If you are planning for GCS, your surgeon will require you to permanently remove hair in particular sections of your genitals prior to surgery as some of the skin to be used in vaginoplasty will not be accessible for later hair removal. If a hair removal method which is not permanent is used, you will likely have to deal with ingrown hairs and potential infection down the track.
Galvanic electrolysis can totally remove this hair and can also contour the hair in preparation for GCS.
PEACH CLINICS can also clean up your bikini line and inner thighs ready for life after GCS.
A number of our rooms are fitted with the specialised gynaecological beds needed to efficiently and safely perform these particular hair removal treatments.
Intensive treatment sessions
Galvanic electrolysis to remove an average male beard requires 150 hours of treatment when done as one 3-hour treatment per week for 1 year. In practice, the treatments taper off in frequency and duration towards the end of this period as the last hairs are eliminated but this is still a year or a little more allowing for holidays and other interruptions to achieve a final result.
PEACH CLINICS offers sessions of intensive permanent hair removal by galvanic electrolysis for face, chest, body and genital areas. Intensive treatment can reduce the overall hours of treatment required for a beard to 100 hours conducted as a number of intensive sessions over just 6 months.
For more information, read our dedicated page on intensive treatment sessions for transgender women.Intensive treatment →
The TransHealth Initiative
PEACH CLINICS is proud to support The TransHealth Initiative which is an ongoing effort to bring together health professionals in the care for of transgender women for a common purpose: innovation and advancement of services aimed at improving the quality of life for members of the transgender female community.
FACIALTEAM’s philosophy is based on the individualisation of each treatment. Each face requires a different series of procedures in order to achieve a unique, more feminine look. FFS is much more than just employing the correct procedure; it is understanding the relationship between all facial features within the frame of gender traits and how specific changes will affect the overall look of your face.
Dr Bowers developed her one stage GCS procedure with the basic principles of embryology in mind. As everyone has female genitalia early in gestation, the goal of the procedure is to reverse the current anatomy to its earlier configuration.
The VFSRAC technique was introduced by Dr Hyung-Tae Kim, the director of Yeson Voice Center, when he was professor at the Catholic Medical University in Korea.