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Electrology 3000 and transgender people

Since 1986, Texas has been a destination for people seeking intensive transgender electrolysis for facial hair clearing, especially those averse to pain. Electrology 2000 was founded by Ruthann and Bren Piranio, and in 2006, the company reorganized under new management as Electrology 3000. While the vast majority of clients are happy, several drawbacks include:

  • You need a large cash outlay up front.
  • You need to book in advance compared to most local options.
  • Going there requires spending additional money on travel, food and lodging.
  • Going there may require taking time off work (3 to 5 weeks for actual treatment in a year)
  • Their intensive treatment results in high skin recovery times (as much as 8 weeks), which may require additional time off if you desire secrecy at work.
  • Despite these issues, their clientele is very loyal and very positive about the experience.

Although electrolysis is painful, expensive, and time-consuming, Electrology 3000 (nicknamed E3000) can alleviate almost all the pain, (possibly) some of the expense, and (possibly) the time to completion. You will have to spend money to travel there and to stay at a hotel. You will also have to use up vacation time for your trip. Their rates are higher, but they claim to take much less time to complete a face. For some, it has been the answer to their prayers. It’s a company called Electrology 3000, and like everything about electrolysis, it evokes very strong opinions. These opinions seem mostly positive (especially from clients), but occasionally one hears spirited opposition to their methods (usually by other electrologists). Let me throw out my usual statement that I have no connection with or financial interest in E-3000. Having said that, I believe E-3000 is the best option available for removing androgen-induced facial hair. I believe my biggest mistake in transition was not seriously considering them. If there’s any way you can make it work for you, I highly recommend at least doing your initial clearing there. The well-known advantages:

  • Injections of anesthesia make it almost entirely painless
  • You’ll get much closer to completion faster
  • Their efficient method lessens regrowth
  • I’ve had no reports of permanent skin damage
  • A few long sessions may be preferable to many shorter sessions
  • High hourly costs may be defrayed by savings in total treatment time
  • Transgender friendly and experienced (a co-founder is trans)
  • Going to E2000 excuses you from having to try to hunt for a trans-friendly electrologist in your area. If you live in the boonies, or in an area with a small trans community or with little or no coverage on my referral list, that can be important.
  • You only have to grow your facial hair out for electrolysis once every six weeks, rather than weekly (or worse), which limits the negative impact on your passability.

OK, now to play objective devil’s advocate… As with anything, there also are some well-known drawbacks to going to E-3000. Most clients are pretty well-off financially, and most have jobs where they can take plenty of time off. If either of these is not true for you, E-3000 might not be a viable option.

  • You need a large cash outlay up front: money just to reserve time, and the balance of around 35 hours times $115 to $160 per hour. A typical first session runs $3,500 to $7,000. Although subsequent sessions will be shorter, you will need to come up with another deposit at the time you make a reservation plus enough to cover treatment six weeks later, and every six weeks following for about a year. Most people end up spending something close to $12,000 in ten months to a year. E-3000 is generally not an option for those living from check to check. They do accept credit cards, though, if you can swing a decent credit line.
  • In addition, you will spend extra money on travel (plane/bus/train fare plus taxi or rental car), food, and lodging. You could hitchhike, stay with friends, and dumpster dive for food, but otherwise be prepared to spend $50 to $100 a day in addition to your airfare or gas money.
  • They’re sometimes victims of their own success. They book in advance and may not be able to accommodate your schedule easily. Growing quickly enough to meet the demand is still a major problem, though, since they are extremely picky about who they hire, and most new hires wind up washing out.
  • Going there requires taking time off work (3 to 5 weeks for actual treatment in a year, not including travel days).
  • Their intensive treatment results in high skin recovery times (as much as 8 weeks), which may require additional time off if you desire secrecy at work.
  • Some electrologists express concerns that such intense amounts of treatment could cause skin damage, but to date, no transgender women who had treatment report this. E-3000 may be a case where the assumption of problems meets empirical fact, and E-3000 wins the round.

Having said all that, I have not had a single report of someone who was dissatisfied with the results, with the only complaints of note being about pricing/scheduling conflicts and unexpectedly high recovery times. 

Using E-3000 to supplement regular sessions

Some have supplemented trips to E-3000 with regular electrolysis. One woman writes she had 62 hours at E-3000, and then had 130 hours of conventional treatment. Some do their initial clearing there, then keep up with regrowth elsewhere. This seems like a prudent move for those in a hurry to go full-time. The more electrolysis you have done prior to transition, the better, no matter where you do it.

See also

Electrology 2000/3000: first-hand reports (1996–present)


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