Body hair, facial hair, head hair. Two bad, one good but that’s not how testosterone sees it. The consequence of leaving my transition to female so late is that testosterone has done the majority of its damage already. My skeletal structure is broader & larger than the average woman, my facial features have male attributes, my head hair has receded and my body hair run wild.

But the fightback is begun. For the last 6 months I’ve been taking 0.5mg dutasteride per day, normally used to treat an enlarged prostrate, which blocks dihydrotestosterone (DHT) from forming. It is DHT that is responsible for killing the hair follicles on the scalp causing male pattern baldness and also encouraging facial & body hair. I’ve also been using the Regaine branded 5% minoxidil topically applied to my scalp. Improvements in scalp hair have been modest but definite. What hair I do have is thicker & stronger and there has been some small regrowth. The main benefit, down to the dutasteride, has been the weakening of body hair. I never suffered much back hair but what I did have is definitely weaker and sparser, a pattern repeated at the tops of my arms and tummy. This effect alone is worth taking the drug for as far as I’m concerned, though if you are considering it, please do read about the potential dangers and side effects.

However, dutasteride has no effect on facial hair. The only drug I know to slow it is Vaniqa cream but its horribly expensive at the moment. Which leaves either laser or electrolysis as the only way to prevent a career as a bearded lady …

Laser is what most people do, its typically faster and needs less skill to ensure no problems. However, it is only suitable for certain hair and skin types. If your hair is too light or your skin dark, its efficacy is much reduced. My hair has always been a mix of red & darker hairs but now with quite a lot of white too! Laser simply wont do it for me. There is also the difference in that laser doesn’t kill the follicle, just damages it so that it doesn’t grow and is typically called a method of permanent reduction – it is possible that the follicle may start to grow again, necessitating a revisit in future. Electrolysis is permanent in that it kills the follicle by heat or chemical reaction, depending on the type of electrical current used. It works by putting an extremely fine needle into the hair follicle, one follicle at a time, so as to destroy it at its base.

So, for me, electrolysis it is. I found a place in Sheffield that promoted treatment for trans people, together with a verifiable completed training course, and went along for a test consultation. I went bloke mode; you need to have 1-2 mm of stubble for the hair to be removed, something thats not compatible with the fresh faced feminine look :-)   I was a bit nervous but Emma at Above & Beyond was great and explained what was what. Essentially, different settings are tried to find the most appropriate for each persons skin …. and pain tolerance.  Simply put, the more pain you can bear, the faster the hairs can be treated.

Afterwards, I was given some aloe vera gel to prevent infection and advice on how to aid healing – essentially leave it alone!

This photo was taken a couple of days afterwards and shows a small scab and red area where I was treated. I’ll keep a photo record of progress as I go on. It will take many tens of hours to get rid of my beard but its got to be worth it – my days of shaving are definitely numbered!!




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