Hair removal is a critical medical intervention for many trans, non-binary, and gender expansive people. Hair removal is used to remove the amount of hair on targeted parts of the body, commonly including the face, torso, arms, and legs. It is often used to prepare for bottom surgery and/or to reduce hair that causes gender dysphoria or gender incongruence related to hair growth.
The Gender Confirmation Center is proud to offer gender-affirming hair removal methods including Laser Hair Removal and Electrolysis Hair Removal.
Our Registered Nurse is licensed to provide both Laser Hair Removal and Electrolysis services. Laser is typically recommended as first-line treatment for hair removal. Once laser hair removal has been attempted and produced satisfactory results, electrolysis can be considered for the remaining hair removal. Laser is effective at quickly reducing the amount of hairs growing in an area and causes the hairs to grow back finer and thinner. Electrolysis treats hairs one follicle at a time, so progress is slow and best suited for smaller areas. Laser hair removal is FDA-approved for “permanent hair reduction” while electrolysis is FDA-approved for “permanent hair removal”. Electrolysis is the only hair removal method that has been certified by the FDA as providing “permanent hair removal”.
The Gender Confirmation Center specializes in facial hair removal and bottom surgery preparation. Our nurse is familiar in using hair removal techniques to prepare surgical areas for both trans-feminine and trans-masculine bottom surgeries.
Due to limited staff, we currently only provide gender-affirming hair removal services for facial hair and bottom surgery preparation. However, our nurse can provide referrals to other providers that offer whole body hair removal.
Our office uses the Cynosure Elite+ machine for laser hair removal, performed by a Registered Nurse. This modern technology is highly effective and commonly used by popular chains in California. The machine offers the advantage of dual wavelengths, 755nm and 1064nm, which makes it suitable for treating all skin tones. The 755nm wavelength is effective for skin tones with less melanin, while the 1064nm wavelength is effective for skin tones with more melanin. While the laser is effective at reducing black and brown hairs, it is not effective at reducing blonde, red, or white hairs.
Laser treatments typically take about 30 minutes and are most effective when scheduled at intervals of 4-6 weeks for facial and genital areas, and 6-8 weeks for other body parts (such as arms or thighs, as determined by your surgeon). A minimum of 6 treatments is typically required to start seeing significant results with laser hair removal. However, it is common for patients to undergo 10 or more treatments to achieve very good results, which typically involves a 70% or greater reduction in hair growth. During your consultation, our nurse or licensed provider will provide you with detailed instructions on pre and post-care, as well as review any medications or medical conditions that may delay or prevent treatment.
Our office uses the Instantron Elite-Spectrum machine for electrolysis hair removal, performed by a licensed electrologist. It is highly efficient in removing stubborn hairs, including upper lip, chin, and genital hairs, and can treat ALL hair colors and skin tones. The machine also has settings for fine hairs.
The three modes available for electrolysis hair removal are Galvanic, Thermolysis, and Blend (of the two). We offer the Thermolysis mode, which is faster than Galvanic and Blend modes, equally effective at producing permanent results, and more comfortable according to most patients. Thermolysis delivers an electric pulse of energy to the hair in just a fraction of a second, whereas blend and galvanic methods take 6-12 seconds per hair. Since each hair is treated individually, appointments are scheduled based on the amount of hair to be treated and can range from 30 minutes to 2 hours for bottom surgery preparation. Appointments are typically scheduled once per week. While electrolysis, including thermolysis mode, is a form of permanent hair removal, its effectiveness depends on the stage of hair growth. The treatment is most effective on hairs in the early stage of growth. Since hairs are in different stages of growth, it may take multiple treatments to permanently remove each hair. As a result of the gradual and targeted nature of electrolysis, the process can be slow even with weekly appointments. Depending on the specific area being treated, such as the face or genitals, it may take over a year to achieve permanent hair removal. This information, along with any medications or medical conditions that may delay or prevent treatment, will be thoroughly reviewed during your consultation with our licensed electrologist.
Both laser hair removal and electrolysis can cause discomfort or even pain during the procedure. To help alleviate this, your nurse or electrologist will discuss various options during your consultation, such as over-the-counter pain medication like Tylenol or the use of topical lidocaine numbing cream. These options are all optional, with some patients deciding to use no pain relief methods at all.
Although both laser hair removal and electrolysis are generally safe and effective methods for hair removal, there are some risks associated with each. Some of the common risks include hyperpigmentation, hypopigmentation, scabbing, and scarring. These will be reviewed in detail during your consultation.
While permanent hair removal is the ideal result for both laser and electrolysis, the effectiveness of the treatment can vary based on individual factors, such as each person’s body response to treatments, the number of treatments completed, and other factors. For surgery preparation, our nurse or electrologist can provide their informed recommendations on the progress of hair removal and readiness for surgery, but ultimately, it is up to the surgeon to make the final decision.
The Gender Confirmation Center works with a limited number of insurance companies for payment of gender affirming hair removal. If we do not work directly with your health insurance company, we will require that you to pay up front. After the treatment, your nurse or electrologist will provide you with a “superbill form” that you can submit to your insurance company to request reimbursement. Medical insurance companies typically require a referral letter from a primary care provider (PCP) stating that the hair removal is medically necessary for gender-affirming reasons, such as surgical preparation. Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee that your insurance company will reimburse you for the cost. The cost of laser hair removal varies depending on the number of treatments required and the area of the body being treated. On the other hand, the cost of electrolysis is determined by the duration of each session, which is typically performed in 30-minute increments. Costs and insurance options will be reviewed in detail during your consultation with the nurse or electrologist.
Please don’t hesitate to contact our office and request to speak with the Registered Nurse or Electrologist to answer any questions you may have related to laser and electrolysis hair removal.