In mid-September I had my last electrolysis session with Roz, who was close to retiring. She won't be lazing around - she's a very, very good ladies' tournament golfer, representing England in the past. So she loses an income but gains leisure to pursue what she loves.
However, this means that I've had to find another person for my hair removal. I'd been with Roz (originally through personal recommendation) for over five years. It's quite a big change to make, because you need to establish a good rapport with the practitioner. I was concerned about that.
A conversation with a local friend pointed me in the direction of Sarah. Roz was in south-east London. Sarah's in Brighton. So at least she would be on my doorstep, at least relatively speaking, and there would be car fuel and time savings. Anyway, I fixed up a first appointment last week. See http://www.sarahhurst.co.uk/.
And first impressions were very good. The setup was inviting, and Sarah herself was welcoming and professional. And of course skilful. I'm paying fractionally less than before; although in fairness to Roz, she was merely charging at London rates.
The only essential difference, apart from Sarah's studio being so close to home, is that she got me to try electrolysis using the flash method, instead of the blend method that Roz advocated.
If you didn't know, blend involves the client holding a rod in one hand to complete an electrical circuit though the body. A needle is inserted into the hair follicle, and a medium current heats up the base of the follicle sufficiently to create a hot chemical reaction that destroys the root of the hair - which can then be pulled out. This process might take five seconds altogether, so that in theory twelve hairs can be treated each minute, although that's rather more than can actually be managed in practice. There is certainly (as with all electrolysis) some discomfort involved - though often only slight. Blend doesn't stress the skin much, and recovery from any redness or puffiness is quick, at least if you have my kind of hide.
Flash dispenses with the rod. The needle goes in the same, but faster, because the needle carries a much higher current and mustn't be left under the skin more than a couple of seconds. It kills the root by heat alone. The practitioner needs to have fine judgement on timing, otherwise the skin could be damaged. Even with the best skill, the skin will be stressed a bit more than it would with blend, and it will probably suffer local swelling for longer. I didn't find the discomfort any greater though - I dare say because the needle goes in and out so rapidly, so it's gone before the skin registers much pain.
Well, I quickly found myself convinced that flash was a good option. We certainly bumped off a lot of hairs. I did end up with roughly twice the degree of redness and puffiness compared to blend. Even so, I had no appearance problems after treatment and was able to walk back to Fiona without feeling that my face looked a sight. But whereas with blend my face would settle down to its normal state within the hour (two hours at most), with flash it still looked detectably puffy next day, and there was a slight tingling that I hadn't experienced with blend. But it passed. I'm satisfied, at least on first acquaintance with flash, that it will do me no harm, and that it ought now to be the way forward.
The use of flash, if I continue to respond well to it, means that faster progress can be made. Roughly speaking, it will clear twice the number of hairs in the same time as blend would. This offers the prospect of having a face cleared of all its wiry hair within twelve months, and then dealing only with regrowth.
One will at last be able to dance cheek-to-cheek! (Not that you'd ever catch me dancing)