Folliculitis is an infection of the hair follicle. It can occur on any part of the body that has hair, and may be caused by bacteria that develops as a result of damaged or irritated follicles.


  • Folliculitis can look like a pimple that may contain pus (pustule). The hair may be visible but often it is trapped under the skin and cannot be seen.
  • Folliculitis can be red and tender, and may also itch and burn. If the pustules open, they can drain pus and/or blood.
  • Folliculitis can range from mild or superficial, to deep infections that may lead to more pain and discomfort. If left untreated infections can spread and eventually cause scaring or keloids, along with hyper-pigmentation or dark marks on the skin.
  • Some African-Americans and people with extremely curly or coiled hair can develop folliculitis when the hair curls back into the skin as it grows. It will then cause a false follicle that becomes irritated and eventually infected.

Emla Topical Anesthetic Cream

Emla is a prescription medication applied to normal, unbroken skin to prevent pain before minor skin procedures. It will not completely numb the skin, as would an injection, but will substantially decrease the sensation the patient will feel during treatment.

As with any prescription medication, Emla comes with a patient information leaflet. Read the directions for use, and ask your Doctor or Pharmacist any questions you may have about interactions with other medications or herbal products you are using.

The cream must be applied to clean skin and be sure to wash you hands thoroughly before and after use.

Generally, Emla is applied approximately one hour before skin procedures, and should be occluded for optimum results. You can use an airtight covering such as plastic or cling wrap that will also prevent the medication from rubbing off on clothing.

Do not use Emla if you are pregnant or lactating, as it is unknown if the drug passes into breast milk. Allergic reaction to the drug is rare, but seek medical attention if you have any symptoms such as rash, severe dizziness, or trouble breathing.

You will need a prescription from your Doctor, but in most cases an office visit is not required. It may also be covered by some health insurance.

Electrology and the Hirsute Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Patient

By: Ricardo Azziz, M.D., M.P.H., M.B.A., Professor Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Medicine, The University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama and Teresa Petricca, CPE, Executive Director, American Electrology Association

About 80% of patients with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), depending on ethnicity, are hirsute. Hirsutism is defined as the presence in women of terminal hairs (i.e. hairs that are coarse, thick and pigmented) in a male-like pattern, and affects between 5%-10% of unselected women surveyed (1). While hormonal therapy is generally successful in stopping further progression of the disorder, it has only modest effects in reversing the hair growth process (2). Thus, the optimum treatment of the hirsute patient should incorporate the use of methods to permanently destroy unwanted hairs. To date, electrolysis has been the primary method used for the destruction of unwanted hair. Continue Reading …

The Effects of Shaving on Hair Growth

DOES SHAVING CAUSE hair to grow faster, coarser and darker? This age-old question is still asked repeatedly. A quick anatomy lesson on the structure of a hair follicle should help.

The hair follicle and its hair are fundamentally one structure. This structure can be divided anatomically into three segments:

  1. Infundibulum – the upper, funnel-shaped indentation that extends from the polar orifice in the epidermis (the little hole where we aim our needle) to the entrance of the sebaceous gland.
  2. Isthmus – the short midsection of the follicle, bounded by the sebaceous gland duct and the arrector pili muscle.
  3. Inferior – extending from the arrector muscle to the base of the follicle.

The expanded lower end of the follicle is the hair bulb, which encloses the oval-shaped vascular-connective tissue papilla. This is an upgrowth of the dermis containing the blood supply and nerve endings to nourish the follicle.

Continue Reading …

Hair Where?

If you have too much hair in all the wrong places, you’re not alone:
40 million women have hirsutism, the excessive growth of coarse, dark hair in typically “male” areas, such as the upper lip, chin, chest, or abdomen.

SOURCE—American Academy of Dermatology

Let’s Talk About Laser

A powerful beam of concentrated light. In the right hands, can be used efficiently and effectively by doctors for many types of treatments, including skin problems. But its use for hair removal has caused more problems than it has helped for many patients.

We have all heard the horror stories of patients being burned and scared by laser treatments for hair removal. Along with pigment lesions and discolorations such as darkening of light skin and lightening of dark skin tones. But they are just some of the problems with lasers for hair removal.

One of the biggest concerns is the long-term effect of laser on human skin. Laser is about ten years old now, what will happen to a patient treated with laser in 20 or 30 years down the road? We just don’t know yet. We do know that laser changes the cellular structure of the skin, and some patients are having laser treatments as young as the early teens.

The technology is not precise enough to target the germinating cells of the follicle and must pass through the skin to get to the hair. The high risk of side effects on the skin make the desired results difficult, if not impossible to achieve for some patients.

Another problem with laser is that it requires very specific skin and hair criteria. The color of the hair, the color of the skin, or a combination of the two can determine weather or not the treatment should be done at all. Also taking into account if the patient has been tanning in the sun, a tanning bed, or using self-tanners can make a difference in the pre-treatment preparation and post-treatment restrictions.

Along with all these problems, laser is not a permanent solution for hair removal. The FDA does not approve it for permanency; the hair grows back. So after spending time and money for treatments, the patient is left with, in some cases, the same amount of hair they started out with.

Patients have also reported excruciating pain during the application of laser to the skin, even when using topical anesthetics to reduce the sensation. So do your research, get educated and make sure you see an expert if your willing to take the risk.

Note: Laser should never be used around the eye area, and protective eyewear should be used at all times when lasers are in operation.

Skin Cooling After Laser Treatments Could Boost Hyperpigmentation Risk

September 19, 2007

Although it’s meant to protect the skin, a cooling technique may actually boost the risk of hyperpigmentaion (discoloration) in dark-skinned patients after laser treatment for mole-like skin lesions, Thai researchers warn.

“It is not life-threatening, but postinflammatory hyperpigmentation may cause substantial psychological problems,” wrote a team from Mahidol University in Bangkok. “The treatment of postinflammatory hyperpigmentation is difficult and time-consuming, often lasting many months to achieve the desired results, which causes frustration in patients and physicians,” they added.

Some experts have suggested that skin cooling — which decreases pain and allows the use of higher laser frequencies — may help reduce hyperpigmentation after laser treatment.

In this study, researchers used laser irradiation to treat 23 Thai women (average age 43) with Hori’s nevus, blue-brown pigmented spots on the skin that develop later in life.

“One randomly selected face side of each patient was cooled using a cold air cooling device during and 30 seconds before and after laser irradiation, and the other side was irradiated without cooling,” the researchers wrote.

Hyperpigmentation in the patients was assessed before treatment and one, two, three, four and 12 weeks after treatment.

Of the 21 patients who completed the study, 13 (62 percent) developed hyperpigmentation on the cooled side of the face, five (24 percent) developed the condition on the uncooled side, one patient (five percent) developed it on both sides of the face, and two (10 percent) did not have any hyperpigmentation.

The cooled sides were also three times more likely to develop hyperpigmentation than the uncooled sides, the authors said. Most cases developed two weeks after treatment. All but one of the cases were completely resolved 12 weeks after treatment.

The study was published in the September issue of the journal Archives of Dermatology.

HealthDay News, September 18, 2007

Kelly Rex – Treatment During Prgenancy

I first met Cheryl 3 years ago when she became a client of mine! I work as a hairdresser in Westlake Village and her sister was a client, so she referred her to me. As a woman, I was obviously intrigued by the concept of permanent hair removal, but at this point in my life, had no real need to spend the money. One of my best friends is a great esthetician, so I had all my waxing available for free, any time I needed. I was waxing my eyebrows at least every other week and my lip about once a week. My skin is on the fair side, and my facial hair is fine, but it is dark and I have a lot. My mother is Asian and has no hair at all but my father is Caucasian and has tons. I am the perfect blend of them and have been self-conscious of my facial hair since I hit puberty. My chin was a whole different story. I had a lot of coarse, dark hair that I would pluck every day and would occasionally wax the entire area, which left me with a huge bare spot and peach fuzz on the sides of my face. Another concern for me was that my leg hair is very coarse and for the last few years had started to give me really bad rashes on my inner legs. I had a lot of ingrown hairs and had experienced a serious disaster waxing my legs. However, I was used to the waxing and it was free! What Cheryl did sounded amazing, but I didn’t feel I had a real need for it yet.

Over the next couple of years, as I approach my 30’s, I started to notice the texture of my skin, as well as others around me. My mother has barely a wrinkle on her face at 52, but my paternal grandmother was a sweet little bag of wrinkles, and my father is following in her footsteps. I started to wonder about the effects of putting hot wax and ripping skin and hair off my face. I thought—this can’t be good for me!!! I was used to the waxing, it never bothered me, but I was worried about the long term effects it could possibly cause.

I decided to come in to Cheryl and see what she was all about. It made perfect sense and the more she explained to me, the more excited I became, so I decided to give it a try. The fact that I could truly never have to deal with embarrassing, unfeminine facial and body hair again was becoming a reality!

A few sessions after I started, I found out I was pregnant. Cheryl was literally the first person besides my husband to know—I wanted to make sure it was safe. She assured me that it was, and I had my last session a week before I gave birth to a perfectly healthy baby girl and then came in 3 weeks after! She went out of her way to make sure I was comfortable during all of my appointments. I thought I would be especially sensitive during my pregnancy but was surprised to find that it seemed to be no different.

Cheryl is almost done with the treatments on my face and I could not think of a better use of my money and time. With two children under three, I am in a rush to get mascara on—I simply don’t have time to stress over whether or not I have embarrassing hair in places that it shouldn’t be. She also fixed my eyebrows and I look even younger than I did before! She is an artist, and I still laugh to myself when I see old pictures of my skinny angled eyebrows. I am currently doing treatments on my legs and have noticed a huge improvement in my skin—no more uncomfortable itching, stinging, red and infected in-grown hairs. I cannot stress enough how much more time I have in my day because I don’t have to deal with the hair, I am more confident in myself and feel that my skin is healthier and more beautiful than ever. I will forever be grateful to Cheryl for providing me with this amazing service.

Kelly Rex
Camarillo, CA

Is It Safe To Have Treatment During Pregnancy?

Yes. There are no harmful properties that will endanger the baby if having the procedure while pregnant. Electrolysis has been used for permanent hair removal for over a century and there have never been any cases documented with adverse effects during pregnancy.

Some patients avoid electrolysis while pregnant because the type of current that is used travels throughout the body and that can cause more irritation. With Thermolysis, the current we use is localized in the hair follicle and much easier to manage for an expectant mother who may be more sensitive because of changes occurring in the body throughout her pregnancy.

There can be some challenges in the last few months, depending on the areas being treated, but generally we can change positions to keep you comfortable. It can be difficult to lie flat on your back because of the weight of the baby and you may not want to work on the breast area if you plan to breast feed or the stomach area, as the baby can be more active in the last trimester.

Because of hormonal changes, patients can start growing excess hair during pregnancy and don’t want to wait until after the birth to have it removed. For the most part treatment during pregnancy can be very easy and not that much different from any other condition a patient may be experiencing.

If you are pregnant you should not use any over the counter or prescription medication, including topical anesthetic creams. If you have any other questions or concerns, always check with your doctor.

It is such a pleasure to be one of the first people to know when one of my patients becomes pregnant. I share in the joy and excitement and am honored to be able to help them during this very special time.

Best in health,


Cheryl has advanced training and years of experience with Thermolysis. Understanding growth cycles of hair and pre-treatment preparation are key elements for permanent results. She maintains strict sanitation and sterilization of instruments and environment. Cheryl also gives each patient her complete attention during the treatment session. I myself have had permanent hair removal with Thermolysis along with many of my staff and patients. Martha Gonzalez, M.D., M.P.H.