A Very Personal Decision
can help those with Unwanted Hair
By JENNIFER SAMMARTINO,
Advance Health & Fitness Editor
Unwanted hair on the face, neck, and other body parts has long been a sore spot for women. Methods
of ridding themselves of the hair -- from waxing, to shaving, to plucking, to electrolysis -- leaves some women in tears.
Electrolysis, one of the methods of getting rid of unwanted hair, has been in the media a lot
lately -- with lots of negative attention. The procedure is performed with a tiny needle, inserted into a single hair follicle,
with heat and/or electrical current applied to destroy it.
"People are so afraid," said Susan Nasta, a licensed electrologist, noting that there have been
dozens of cases of burning and damage to the face highlighted in the media.
"I don't want to attack any other electrologists. There are some very good ones out there," said
Ms. Nasta, who got her license in Massachusetts, where it is required. She
is a graduate from the Electrology Institute of New England.
But Ms. Nasta, and others, feel that by having electrologists licensed, the results would be much
safer. A petition to put licensing into law in New York has gone to Governor Pataki.
"I think people should be licensed," said Dr. Patricia McCormack, chairperson of the Department
of Dermatology at St. Vincent's Medical Center. "When anyone is doing anything somewhat invasive, there should be some regulatory
"I'm trying to set people straight about all the negative publicity," Ms. Nasta said. Electrolysis
is a permanent method of hair removal."
The method that Ms. Nasta uses is called the Apilus technology. The probe, which is inserted into
the hair follicle, is accompanied by a computer, which controls the electric current and heat. Ms. Nasta said. "The most important
thing is not to damage the skin."
The procedure requires that each hair follicle be treated at least twice, she said. Three, four,
or six weeks after the first treatment, there will be re-growth which is lighter, since the procedure reverses the growth
of the hair. It's not covered by insurance.
Dr. McCormack said she is not familiar with the Apilus approach to electrolysis. The problem with traditional electrolysis, she said, is that probes cannot get deep enough they dont reach
the hair follicle and so growth continues. Theres also a risk of scarring.
Dr. McCormack said that laser hair removal for darker hairs is a safer, permanent
method, but its more expensive. Its a beam of light that is directed and gets
absorbed by the pigment in the hair follicle. In addition, there's also creams, waxing and plucking. Dr. McCormack
said "We all deal with all of this stuff".
The machine is unique to Classique Salon, Dongan Hills, where Ms. Nasta sees clients. "There's
so many people out there who have unwanted hair problems," Ms. Nasta said, and she knows from experience. "It's a very personal
thing," said Ms. Nasta, who used to have light hairs at the bottom of her chin. She said that when she plucked them, they'd
come back darker and coarser.
Now she wants to help people in the same way.
Marie, a 40-year-old Grasmere resident, is currently undergoing electrolysis with Ms. Nasta. Her
problem area was under the chin.
"I was plucking for five years and destroying my skin," she said. "I was getting irritation from
plucking." After six weeks of treatment, a half hour session once a week, she is very happy with the results of electrolysis.
"My skin is clear. There's no scarring at all," she said. And although she was expecting pain,
she didn't feel any and she says that her self-esteem has increased tremendously.
"I was really afraid to go because of things I'd heard in the past," Marie said. "I was fed up
with tweezing. Now I got rid of my tweezer."
Danielle DeStefano, 22, of Arden Heights was sick of tweezing her eyebrows. Now, instead of tweezing
daily, she sees Ms. Nasta for weekly treatments.
She said she can feel slight heat during the procedure but it's not very painful. She said she
also had a numbing cream applied to the area.
Linda, 51, of New Dorp, started electrolysis on her chin and upper lip in February. "I thought
about it awhile," said Linda, who asked that her last name not be used.
"I've has great results," said Linda, who had been treating her dark hairs for 15 years. "I don't
have to wax anymore; I don't have to tweeze anymore."
During the actual treatment, Linda said she doesn't feel any pain. "She numbs the area first. When the middle of my lip was treated, there was a slight pinch, nothing dramatic."
Nasta said that electrolysis is not for pregnant women, those with a pacemaker, anyone with diabetes
or coagulation problem. She takes a medical history before doing anything on a client.
Sometimes, she said, unwanted hair growth might be a side effect of medication, such as birth
control. In addition, certain times in a woman's life -- such as pregnancy, adolescence or menopause, may also cause hair
growth, thanks to hormones. This is commonly known as hirsutism.
Prices are $25 for 15 minutes; $40 for 30 minutes; $55 for 45 minutes; and
$70 for one hour. Ms. Nasta is also offering a complimentary consultation and 20 minutes free of electrolysis to first-timers.