Electrolysis permanent hair removal Halifax, Sackville, Windsor NS

Tweeze Only the Hairs You Want to Keep!

Woman tweezing chinYou have about 1,200 follicles per inch on your skin...follicles are where your hair grows.

A few months ago, a client came to me who had horrible acne – but only on her chin – the only place on her face she was tweezing hairs for 2 hours.....every day. She also had extensive scarring and hyperpigmentation (discolouration) where she’d been tweezing. She had scabs from digging out hairs and her chin was bumpy and deeply pitted. She doubted electrolysis would work but was desperate enough to try it. She promised to stop tweezing and within a few months her acne disappeared. I couldn’t repair all the damage the tweezing and picking had done to her skin, but since starting her electrolysis journey, her skin is no longer erupting with ingrown hairs and she's no longer tweezing - no more scabs and acne sores. We've even noticed a reduction in the hyperpigmentation of the scar tissue, because that area is no longer inflamed.

Not everyone has such bad results from tweezing, but electrologists see it often enough. The damage occurs when the client picks and digs at ingrown hairs resulting in broken skin that bacteria can infect and damage further. When someone is constantly picking and digging, the body heals the wound and replaces the damaged tissue with scar tissue. If the person is constantly digging, then their skin also gets inflamed, because of all of the inflammation. It's a vicious cycle.

When a new client starts their electrolysis journey with me, I always tell them that they have to STOP ALL TWEEZING. 

This can be very difficult, because it’s a strong habit, and habits are hard to change. I remind my client that their 5x mirror is NOT their friend, and that (generally) when someone is standing next to you, they can’t see the hair on your face that is bothering you. I am their biggest cheerleader when they come in for their session and say "I really waned to tweeze ... BUT I DIDN'T!" - it's such a victory! and I celebrate that victory with them! I always assure them that if the hair really bothers them, that they can shave or trim it – as long as they leave enough for me to be able to grab the hair with my tweezers. 

Wait, what? But you said no tweezing!!!! Yes, I did. The difference between when you tweeze it -the root is attached and it hurts when you pull it out. That's the no-no! With electrolysis, once I’ve treated the follicle, the hair is released, and I grab it with my tweezers to remove it, you don’t even feel it slide out – it slides out like butter!

I do tell them that they can shave or trim any hairs that are bothersome. I know, shaving feels wrong – women feel masculinized by shaving their face and then there’s the old wife’s tale that shaving makes the hair growth worse. Nothing can be farther from the truth. Shaving simply cuts hair at the surface of your skin. Shaving does NOT stimulate hair growth, nor does it cause it to grow thicker.

A woman tweezing her chin in the car

The Good, the Bad & the Ugly - Tweezing

There are two good things that can be said about tweezing. It’s inexpensive (well, depending on how much you spend on tweezers and how many you have laying around the house, in the car, in your purse, in your side table, etc) and it’s effective in that moment. 

The BAD is the fact that tweezing you will have to do it for the rest of your life

– even when your vision is so bad that you can’t see or grasp the hair (make a deal with your bestie now, to be by your side if you have to go into hospital or a care home – so they can be sure to pluck your hair for you!).

The UGLY? Tweezing can damage your skin.

In the book ELECTROLYSIS, THERMOLYSIS AND THE BLEND: THE PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICE OF PERMANENT HAIR REMOVAL the authors Arthur Hinkel and Richard Lind write that “repeated epilations (tweezing) eventually cause most hairs to regrow more quickly and to become darker, coarser, and more firmly rooted.” They go on to state, “Only a fraction of all tweezed hairs are ever permanently eliminated. Thus, a woman who tweezes is simply letting herself in for greater hair problems than she had before she tweezed; rather than solving her problem she is worsening it.” 

Hinkel and Lind list two negative results from tweezing. The first is that an “increased blood supply is the cause of the accelerated growth of tweezed hair. Each time a hair is tweezed out of its follicle, a good portion of the bottom half of the follicle is torn out. The damage is not sufficient to prohibit future growth, but it is enough to cause the follicle to reconstruct itself a little sturdier with a better developed capillary system each time. The difference from one tweezed hair to the next may be imperceptible, but eventually what may have been a few annoying lanugo hairs will have become full-growth terminal hairs, bristling in defiance of their owner’s attempts to evict them.” (Vellus is the term that should have been used here. Lanugo hair is the downy, unpigmented hair that grows on a fetus around the fourth or fifth month of pregnancy.)

The hair follicle regulates hair growth. The follicle is lined with stem cells whose only job is to divide and become a hair. The ripping out of the stem cells by tweezing only causes the remaining stem cells to divide more so they can build a bigger hair. Some people’s skin contains an enzyme that acts as a magnet to the hormones that regulate hair growth. Injury to the skin from tweezing will cause an increased blood flow bringing those hormones to feed the dividing stem cells.

The second negative effect of tweezing that Hinkel and Lind lists is infection which can occur when the entire sheath of the follicle comes out after a hair is plucked from a soft sensitive skin. They write, “The resulting cavity quickly becomes infected with the organisms, usually yellow staphylococci, which normally inhabit the follicular pore. Deep pustules that result leave a whitish scar or pit.” 

Hinkel and Lind go on to call waxing “as a specialized tweezing method”, with the same issues as tweezing causing increased hair growth, especially because ALL hair is ripped out of the skin, not just the larger diameter ones. They discuss the fact that some people will have hair loss from waxing in areas like the eyebrows, and women who wax in their 40s and 50s during a time of “glandular changes, which would ordinarily result in a diminishing of hair regardless of hair-removal practices.”

The most disastrous consequences waxing can produce occur on the face. While there are some fine vellus and accelerated vellus hairs on the face that will respond favorably to waxing most other hairs in the same area will be stimulated to greater depth and coarseness. Face waxing will often lead to a superfluous hair problem that never existed previously – a face full of scattered, large diameter and terminal hairs.


In the chapter on Temporary Methods of Hair Removal tweezing is described: “Success: you have plucked a hair. But, at the same time, you have also set into motion the wheels that will perpetuate this sequence of events. You have begun a never-ending cycle which will tend to hasten the rate of regrowth. It will also build the thickness, strengthen and deepen the regrowing hair, thus making it darker as well; it will also increase the possibility of irritations and infections of the follicle which result in pitting and scarring. Finally, you will undoubtedly have made permanent hair removal by electrolysis more difficult to accomplish by creating distorted follicles with the additional possibility of ingrown hair. And all this from just one simple, innocent pull of the tweezer.” 


Dr. Greenblatt does not discuss tweezing, but he does remind us that there is a thing called “multiple follicular hair units”, which means where you see one hair, there are often multiples appearing to come from one follicle. He also states that deep and coarse hair on women can be brought about “by personal tampering through plucking, … waxing, and depilatories.” Keep in mind that depilatories work to dissolve the hair, which can be very irritating to the skin.

Women who tweeze daily often believe that they are tweezing the same hairs every day when there exists multiple follicular hair units. The only time this could be true is when the tweezing technique results in breaking the hair off under the skin. This can be seen in very large diameter hairs – you know them by the “plink” sound they make when you unsuccessfully extract them.


we are warned that “follicles can become distorted and thickened from constant tweezing or waxing.” Gior writes, “Ingrown hairs can be another drawback of waxing. This happens when the hair is pulled apart inside the hair follicle. Instead of growing up and out of the follicle, the hair curls under the skin causing a cyst-like projection.”


states “Plucking experiments have shown that repeated plucking can damage some hair follicles. Some react by producing a thinner hair, others develop a coarser hair.” And they tell us tweezing “can lead to distorted follicles, pigmentation, folliculitis, ingrown hairs, and scarring.” I am certain we have all known someone who tweezed their eyebrows to the point they have little or no brows. Eyebrow hair is a different because eyebrows are not influenced by hormones like chin hairs are. 


Sheila Godfrey writes, “The tweezing of individual hairs tears out the lower follicle. The reconstructed follicle is usually stronger, with a better blood supply. Vellus and fine hairs are frequently removed at the same time, so aggravating the condition. Hairs that have been waxed or tweezed invariably leave behind distorted follicles, so hindering electro-epilation.”

I have a client who has been waxing her upper lip for over 50 years! The center of her upper lip has no hair, but the large, long, coarse hairs growing at the corners of her upper lip were so stubborn she could no long pull them out! So, while waxing worked on her center upper lip, it made the outside corners of her upper lip worse


after tweezing, “the hair may grow back thicker, more pigmented, and faster the more it is tweezed. Tweezing hair also causes hair follicles to become distorted. These distortions make it difficult for an electrologist to remove hair permanently later.” Under the pros and cons (the only pro is minimal cost) she lists that tweezing “can be painful, can be time consuming in areas of heavy growth, and may cause hair below the skin to break, in turn causing bumps to occur in those follicles as blunt edges try to push their way through small follicles.”

Tweezing facial hair becomes a never-ending cycle of self-grooming.

Hairs become stronger, coarser, larger in diameter and grow deeper over time which makes them more difficult to tweeze and more difficult to extract during an electrology appointment. Tweezing also contributes to skin damage from picking skin with ingrown hairs and infection from non-sterile tweezers. 

If you are reading this while looking for information on electrolysis, know that your electrologist can tell when you’ve been tweezing. If you do tweeze then your first goal will be to stop tweezing. “Tweeze only the hairs you want to keep!” 

Are you ready to toss your tweezers? 

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