Ballet News: The Insulated Needle Development

Remember back when the Ballet Insulated needle was first made available? Seems only yesterday that you could finally get it from all Ballet Distributors. That initial design took three years of intense activity. Here is the story of how it originally came to be back in the early 1990s.

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First we had to find out what you wanted. We asked; “Although you may be pleased with your current insulated needle, tell us your ‘wish list’- how can we improve traditional insulated probes?”

You told us you wanted smoother insertions and a coating that would stand up to long galvanic or blend treatments. And you wanted a reasonable price so that the needle could be disposable. A tall order!

We knew we needed a new coating material because the coatings used up to now just couldn’t meet these demands. After experimenting with numerous insulators, our researchers found a special EPP insulator used in dental applications.

Then came an even bigger challenge. We had to build automated equipment to sort, load, clean, coat, and dry the insulated needles.

Well, we did it! But still, all the research in the world couldn’t tell us what so many of you have now said: YOU REALLY LIKE THEM.

We’ve sent out hundreds of sets of Ballet Insulated samples, and the reaction has been wonderfully enthusiastic. We’ve had notes and calls from electrologists all over North America saying how much they like the Ballet Insulated needle. One letter we received was from David Hardee, an electrologist in Mobile, Alabama:

Dear Synoptic,

I wanted to give you my first impressions of the Ballet Insulated samples you sent me. In a word: fantastic! Insertions are much smoother, and I am able to use slightly lower current intensity.

I substituted Ballet Insulated for my regular needles without telling my clients. After each treatment I asked: “Did this treatment seem different?” Clients especially sensitive to insertions commented that they did not feel the insertion so much. Others said that the treatment itself was more comfortable.

I’ve also used Ballet Insulated for two and three hour multiple needle galvanic treatments. The new needles stood up to the strain of long treatments with no problems at all. 

After treating more than 30 clients I am convinced that Ballet Insulated is the best electrolysis needle I have ever used.

Thanks for a great product!

David Hardee (RE,CCE)        Mobile, Alabama

Thanks for reading,

Jim and Sara Paisner

Synoptic Products

We will be devoting this issue of the Ballet News to Edwina Morris and the innovative insulated needle treatment developed at Allana in 1980. The procedure is ow taught exclusively at the New York Institute of Electrolysis.

I’d also like to say thanks for her help in producing the new Ballet Video. We filmed the video’s clinical shots at the Institute, owned and directed by Alice P. Abernathy. Edwina herself appears in the film. The video is already being shown at electrolysis schools in the United States and Canada.

If you would like a personal copy, call your Ballet Supplier. We are currently offering a free copy with each order of 300 Ballet sterile disposable electrolysis needles.

Edwina has been practicing electrolysis for over ten years now, and has been the Associate Director of the New York Institute of Electrolysis since 1990. Along with teaching, Edwina assists in Alice’s thriving electrolysis supply business, Allana International. Alice told me, “We sell what we believe in.” (Including lots of Ballet Insulated probes!). 

We spoke to Edwina over the phone about her treatment technique.

Interview

Q: One aspect of your treatment technique is your exclusive use of insulated needles. Why is that?

A: With an insulated probe, there is less chance of doing permanent damage to the skin. Also, as you know, most of the nerve endings in the skin are close to the surface. The insulation protects the surface of the skin, resulting in less trauma from the treatment. This definitely increases the level of comfort for the client.

Q: Would you describe your technique for us?

A: We call our technique the “Allana Insulated Probe Technique,” and it has take us a long time to develop it. We use super-flash in a two-step process. Our first insertion into a follicle is shallow; this will ensure that the bulge area is destroyed. After epilating the hair we make our second insertion to full anagen depth. This double insertion technique virtually eliminates regrowth and ingrown hairs.

Q: Do you use sterile disposable needles in your school?

A: Although for many years we used a re-usable, two-piece insulated needle, it became clear to us that the future of our profession was with disposable needles. So, a little less than two years ago, we switched to Ballet Insulated. In fact, in our school curriculum, we now train students to use disposable probes at all times.

I am sorry to say this, but I have heard that many electrologists find it difficult to follow proper sterilization techniques. Disposable needles save people a lot of fuss, and guarantee goof hygienic practice as far as the probe is concerned.

Q: Was the switch to Ballet Insulated easy?

A: Actually, switching from two-piece to a one-piece probe did take a while. One day of testing is not enough. You have to take time to understand the differences between the two types of probes. But the effort was definitely worth it!

Our clients can feel such a difference between Ballet Insulated and the needles that we previously used. After using Ballet for several treatments, we experiments and did treatments with old-style, reusable needles. Clients would say, “What’s wrong with this needle? It doesn’t feel like last time.” The two-piece needles seemed rougher and clients felt like they were being pricked by them. There is just an entirely different feel with Ballet Insulated.

Q: How is Ballet different?

A: It is hard to describe. The needle glides in, almost by itself. It doesn’t feel like you are “sticking” your clients. With Ballet you can use a lighter grip on the needle-holder. Just let the holder balance in your hand: you will feel the insertion better and understand when the needle bottoms out in the follicle.

Ballet’s quality makes it easier for students to learn proper insertions. They are able to let their bodies relax, and don’t feel that they have to force the needle.

The students really appreciate the difference. Thanks for making such a good needle.

Q: Thank you, Edwina.

"T" Shank Needles

Our new “T” shank tapered needles will be available shortly in sizes , B, and C in small and medium diameters. The cost is 60 cents per needle. The probes are compatible with all machines taking Hinkel®-style tapered probes. Of course, the probes are sterile, disposable and packaged in our regular blister packs.

They have the traditional Ballet mirror-finish point, and each needle is identical to other needles its size.

We’ll soon be introducing a Gold “T” shank probe to offer users of tapered needles the same benefits from GOLD that users of our “F” and “K” shank Gold needles have found.

If you have the proper needle-holder and would like to try samples of the new “T” needles, please call us at Synoptic Products at 800-535-7707

Thanks for reading,

Sara and Jim Paisner

The Hound and the Hair

Published 5 Dec, 2018

When Dr. Charles Michel suggested using needles and current to remove people’s ingrown eyelashes, I’m sure that there were many doubters. Yet here we are over 100 years later removing hair permanently.

Well, Ardeth Koop uses electrolysis to remove the eyelashes of dogs. What a great innovation! She talks about it in our interview.

At Ballet, we salute electrologists who work on treatments of new areas, or find original ways of beginning professional relationships with people with excess hair (via dermatologist, for example) or who pioneer new treatment methods. They drive our profession forward and oblige us all to think creatively.

We have to keep moving forward. After all, only electrologists know how to do permanent hair removal.

Thanks for reading,

Jim and Sara Paisner

Q: How did you begin to work on dogs???

A: When I semi-retired from electrolysis to care for my young children, I wanted to do something to supplement the family income. So I got a job in a local veterinary hospital on the weekends. I am an animal lover, but my son is asthmatic, so we have no animals at home. I did that for over a year: then I went back to electrolysis. One day, a veterinarian phoned and asked if I would be interested in doing a treatment on a dog.

Q: Why did a dog need electrolysis?

A: The owner was repeatedly tweezing the dogs eyelashes out, to the point where it was causing a lot of discomfort for the dog (and the owner!).

Q: Why did the owner do that?

A: The dog had inward turned lashes that got in his eyes. In my experience, this is often a problem with purebred dogs. It is painful, and if left untreated, the dog will continually scratch the eye. Owners have it checked because they see the dog scratching up around the eye all the time. The condition is called trichiasis.

Q: Where exactly are the hairs?

A: Most commonly the problem is on the lower lids and toward the tear duct.

Q: What modality do you use?

A: I use manual thermolysis; blend does not work as well – you cannot get good conductivity because the skin is covered with hair. So I work with low intensity and long timing- about 1-2 seconds. Sometimes the hairs are shallow rooted, and I don’t want to use a higher current level because of fear of surface damage. This method produces less surface reaction.

Q: Do you use any special equipment?

A: The dogs always ask for Ballet needles (laughter). Actually, I use Ballet Insulated. I’ve tried all sorts of needles, including stainless and gold, but Insulated works the best. I think that this is because of the moisture at the skin surface. I get better results with less trauma to the skin.

The hairs are fine, so I normally use a size 2, but of course I bring a selection of sizes to the job.

Q: And your technique?

A: I use one hand technique, so I have the needleholder and forceps in my right hand, and with the thumb and forefinger of my left hand, I pull the lower eyelid down, and the upper one up, to give myself some working room.

The moisture content is so high, almost as if you are working on mucus membrane tissue, that it can be very difficult to find the correct angle to do an accurate insertion. Most hairs are at about a 60˚ insertion angel. Also, sometimes the hair is so short that it is hard to see the growth angle; and because most animals’ skin color is black, with dark hair it is difficult to see the hair. 

Of course, it can be a problem if the dog starts to wake up…

Q: Aren’t the dogs under anesthesia?

A: Yes. Typically the vet incorporates hair removal into another treatment, like teeth cleaning, or spraying/neutering, so the animal will be under general anesthesia. I work before the other procedure – as soon as I finish the doctor takes over. 

After the treatment, the doctor applies antibiotic eye drops to reduce the chance of infection. To my knowledge, there has never been an infection.

Q: How effective is the treatment?

A: Very. I have had to only one dog twice; all the others needed just one treatment. The dogs are asleep, so there are no pain tolerance issues to deal with. Also, unlike when treating humans, we know the full extent of the hair problem. People may have been using temporary methods – waxing, tweezing, etc. With a dog, you can usually see all the problem hairs.

Great work Ardeth. 

I Can See Now

Joan Millay has been an electrologist for multiple decades. She went into private practice right after school, and she has been working since then in Palm Bay, Florida. Joan has a busy practice: she has an office manager and two treatment rooms, and her assistant does everything in the office including patient pre- and post-ops so that Joan can concentrate on electrology.

On a good day, she will treat 20-25 people, and during the holidays, she is booked all the time.

Epilation in action

Q: What were the effects of doing so many treatments?

A: For years, I had been experiencing back and shoulder pains and I worried that I was getting arthritis in my neck.

Q: What did you do about it?

A: I called a manufacturer of dental telescopic glasses. When their representative showed me their double-element scopes, I thought “This is a whole different world!” I could see more, and most importantly, I could sit up straight at a comfortable distance from my patient. These scopes are worn like glasses, with your prescription built in if necessary.

When using scopes, you cannot miss the follicle opening! It is bigger than life. You can also correct your insertion right away. And you can really see a distorted hair, and how it comes out of the skin. I found it very relaxing to be able to see so easily.

Q: And you changed your lighting?

A: Yes. I had been wearing a light on a headband. It was good, but after adding the scopes, I switched to a fiber-optic light.

The combination of new lighting and scopes cured my posture problems, so I have no more neck pain. Now I go to my massage therapist only once a month. I can see 20+ people a day, and I still get home totally relaxed, not worn out like I was before.

Q: How did your patients react to the new equipment?

A: They feel that this system is a real improvement! Most of us have had that patient who comes back because she found a hair that was missed. Well, with my new optics and light, I have no misses. I get wonderful cleanups now, and the patients love it.

Q: Have your treatment methods changed?

A: I see now that for many years I was often using the wrong sized needles. Now if I hold the needle up to the hair I can see the size. I use F2’s for lip and cleanup only. I use lots of F4’s now, and get faster results.

Thank you, Joan.

Over the past ten years, we have done stories in the Ballet News about practicing electrologists on subjects ranging from advertising to the treatment of melanin-rich skin. We still keep in touch with our interviewees and this month we wanted to share some of their pearls of wisdom with you.

A common theme with Han, Jenese, and Stacy is the importance of focusing on the right things in their practices. They concentrate on what it takes to provide the best electrology service possible and  to build and strengthen their businesses.

Two of our interviewees speak about what keeps them at the top if their profession in their very busy practices; and the third who has branched out into aesthetics as well, tells us what she is doing to build her business.

Thanks for reading,

Jim and Sara Paisner

Past and Present of Ballet Images

Jenese Schwartzmiller

Is electrolysis a dying profession? I certainly don’t think so! However, I do see some new electrologists who are either good at the procedure and not goof at business, or good at business and not good at the procedure. We need both!

When dealing with people, customer service is the key thing. I have women from all walks of life come into my office with terrible hair problems, and in 15 minutes I have to make each of them feel comfortable.

So really, we need all three:customer relations, skill at electrolysis, and a good business sense.

I use Ballet needles, I love them, and they are the only ones I use. Many years ago, I re-sterilized needles, but I never was comfortable with it. Today everyone asks, “What kind of probe do you use?” By answering, “I use pre-sterilized disposable insulated Ballet needles,” I put my clients at ease.

Jan Reed

At Something Nice, all four electrologists share the same philosophy: we want to focus our energy exclusively on providing quality electrolysis. So the only service we provide is permanent hair removal, which can only be achieved using needle epilators. We feel that this strategy has worked well for our office. 

We have established long-tern relationships with our patients. Out schedules are full because patients are pleased with their permanent electrolysis results, and so they add additional areas of treatment. They feel confident referring family and friends.

Providing quality and high standards in performance, equipment and supplies are critical. Patients are willing to pay top dollar for services, but only if they feel that they receive true value. We have come to rely on Ballet because they produce continually high quality needles. Product improvement, needle availability and excellent customer service are obvious priorities.

We strive to be the best that we can be—that is why we have chosen Ballet Needles.

Stacey Elder

We would like to be busier in our office. We are taking several steps to achieve that goal, including integrating new technology and knowledge into our practice. For example, we are changing our intake form because we find that there are people who want to contact us via email or cell phone.

We take pictures of patients to document their progress. Before, if the patient stopped treatment, the pictures simply sat in the inactive file. Now, we can scan them into the computer and send clients a letter with their picture and a set of before and after pictures of another patient as a reminder that we are here for help. Of course, we make sure that the other patient has signed a release form that allows us to use the pictures.

We are also planning to give small seminars in our office based on our holistic approach to electrolysis, which includes exercise, diet, etc. We are the experts in hair removal and after treatment skincare; if there is a question, people should come to us.

I still prefer Ballet needles. Even though I’ve tried other needles, Ballet’s quality is so consistent, that I automatically reach for them for all treatments, including multi-needle.

2019 Gold Probe Award Winner is Vickie Widmyer, CPE, OCE

While the Ballet Gold Probe Award is sponsored by Synoptic Products and Ballet Technologies, the selection of the winner is done solely by the Executive Board of the American Electrology Association.

2019 Gold Probe Award at AEA Meeting
Vickie Widmyer, Sara Paisner - Oct 2019 AEA National Meeting

The Ballet Gold Probe is awarded, with appreciation, to Vickie Widmyer, CPE, OCE who in her years of professional practice has made significant contributions to the field of electrolysis, and who shows the potential to continue to have a major impact on the electrolysis profession in the future.

Text of Gold Probe Award Presentation by Sara Paisner, President of Synoptic Products:

“For those of you who don’t know me (yet) my name is Sara Paisner with Synoptic Products for Ballet Needles. It has been our pleasure and honor to participate in the American Electrology Association conference for many years. We are, and continue to be, gratified by the positive reception Ballet needles receives and I am honored to be here presenting the Ballet Gold Probe Award.

The Ballet Gold Probe Award is our small way of saying thank you as well as helping to support the important work that your association does. The Award has two parts. We honor an Electrologist, selected by your board, who is making a contribution to the advancement of electrolysis at the state or national level. We also make a $1000 contribution to your association. I am please to present this check to the President of the AEA Pearl Warner.”

[Photo with Pearl]

“From increasing the visibility of electrolysis in general to help us all, to monitoring digital mis-information about permanent hair removal, the work of the AEA contributes directly to the success of all of our businesses – manufacturer, supplier and Electrologist alike. 

Every Electrologist, whether or not she is a member of an association, benefits from the work that the AEA does. And at the core of the associations are those who volunteer who do much of the work. It is those volunteers that the Ballet Gold Probe Award seeks to honor.

This year’s recipient has been an active member of the American Electrology Association, first at the state level in Washington State, and since 2015 on the Executive Board. I am pleased to honor Vickie Widmyer, CPE, OCE as the 2019 winner of the Ballet Gold Probe Award. Congratulations!”

A Win/Win Situation for Electrologists: Working with Dermatologists

Published 13 Nov, 2018

Epilation in actionWhen an electrologist works closely with a dermatologist, who benefits? 

Both do! 

A well trained electrologist may spot conditions among her clients that need the attention of a doctor; and a good dermatologist understands that sometimes a patient’s complaint can be resolved effectively by electrolysis alone – without the need for more invasive treatment.

I am surprised by the number of electrologists who haven’t established a strong working relationship with a dermatologist. Some doctors actively look for such an association; they are only too glad to hear from forward-thinking electrologists.

Maureen Schantz has certainly benefited from this kind of cooperation. She has worked within a doctor’s office one day a week, and also in her own professional premises in Virginia, where she has multiple electrologists working for her. As you will see in the interview we had with her, she has a wonderful relationship with a group of doctors. In fact, 50% of the clients she sees at the doctor’s office come to her as a result of an MD’s referral.

If you aren’t now working with a doctor, may we suggest that you give this some thought? The advantages are many for you, for the doctor, and most importantly, for your clients!

Thanks for reading,

Jim and Sara

Q: Half of your clients at the doctors’ office are referrals?

A: Yes! My dermatologist partners recognize that I can best solve a lot of their patients’ problems: women who tweeze excessively and therefore get breakouts; ingrown hairs; hair that grows sideways and irritates men when they shave; and men’s neck hairs.

Q: And you send clients back to them?

A: Occasionally I spot a mole or other growth and I recommend that a client have it looked at. But mostly I send people over for Lidocaine shots. Then my clients end up becoming the dermatologists’ patients for other matters.

Q: You favor anesthetics?

A: Lidocaine is great. It makes electrolysis such quick and painless work, especially in the bikini area. Otherwise, I have to “treat a hair, rest a second, treat a hair, rest a second.” With a local I can work faster and at higher settings. Overall, clients save time and money even though they have to pay for the anesthetic.

Q: How did you start working with dermatologists?

A: They contacted me. Three MD’s were expanding their offices and they put in a room for an electrologist. One of the doctors was from California and has a specialty in cosmetic dermatology. He said that dermatologists often work closely with electrologists there.

I treat some clients in the doctor’s office and some in my own place – whichever office is easier to get to for the patient.

Q: How should an electrologist approach a dermatologist to set up a relationship?

A: Too many electrologists feel that MD’s are unapproachable. I think that the best way to break the ice is via anesthetic treatments. Approach a group of doctors and propose that they give Lidocaine on a regular basis to your patients who would benefit from it. And explain what you can do for their patients. Even show them this interview!

My doctors have seen the results of my treatments. They say to their patients “This really works; it will help.”

Q: Are there other advantages to this kind of cooperation?

A: A dermatologist’s referral gives clients confidence in electrolysis. Many clients have said to me, “I would never have come without a referral from a doctor.” How grateful these people are for a good referral.

People are much more trusting while working with me in a doctor’s office.

In a medical environment, if I say something will work, they believe it.

Thank you, Maureen

A Win/Win Situation for Electrologists: Working with Dermatologists

Published 13 Nov, 2018

Epilation in actionWhen an electrologist works closely with a dermatologist, who benefits? 

Both do! 

A well trained electrologist may spot conditions among her clients that need the attention of a doctor; and a good dermatologist understands that sometimes a patient’s complaint can be resolved effectively by electrolysis alone – without the need for more invasive treatment.

I am surprised by the number of electrologists who haven’t established a strong working relationship with a dermatologist. Some doctors actively look for such an association; they are only too glad to hear from forward-thinking electrologists.

Maureen Schantz has certainly benefited from this kind of cooperation. She has worked within a doctor’s office one day a week, and also in her own professional premises in Virginia, where she has multiple electrologists working for her. As you will see in the interview we had with her, she has a wonderful relationship with a group of doctors. In fact, 50% of the clients she sees at the doctor’s office come to her as a result of an MD’s referral.

If you aren’t now working with a doctor, may we suggest that you give this some thought? The advantages are many for you, for the doctor, and most importantly, for your clients!

Thanks for reading,

Jim and Sara

Q: Half of your clients at the doctors’ office are referrals?

A: Yes! My dermatologist partners recognize that I can best solve a lot of their patients’ problems: women who tweeze excessively and therefore get breakouts; ingrown hairs; hair that grows sideways and irritates men when they shave; and men’s neck hairs.

Q: And you send clients back to them?

A: Occasionally I spot a mole or other growth and I recommend that a client have it looked at. But mostly I send people over for Lidocaine shots. Then my clients end up becoming the dermatologists’ patients for other matters.

Q: You favor anesthetics?

A: Lidocaine is great. It makes electrolysis such quick and painless work, especially in the bikini area. Otherwise, I have to “treat a hair, rest a second, treat a hair, rest a second.” With a local I can work faster and at higher settings. Overall, clients save time and money even though they have to pay for the anesthetic.

Q: How did you start working with dermatologists?

A: They contacted me. Three MD’s were expanding their offices and they put in a room for an electrologist. One of the doctors was from California and has a specialty in cosmetic dermatology. He said that dermatologists often work closely with electrologists there.

I treat some clients in the doctor’s office and some in my own place – whichever office is easier to get to for the patient.

Q: How should an electrologist approach a dermatologist to set up a relationship?

A: Too many electrologists feel that MD’s are unapproachable. I think that the best way to break the ice is via anesthetic treatments. Approach a group of doctors and propose that they give Lidocaine on a regular basis to your patients who would benefit from it. And explain what you can do for their patients. Even show them this interview!

My doctors have seen the results of my treatments. They say to their patients “This really works; it will help.”

Q: Are there other advantages to this kind of cooperation?

A: A dermatologist’s referral gives clients confidence in electrolysis. Many clients have said to me, “I would never have come without a referral from a doctor.” How grateful these people are for a good referral.

People are much more trusting while working with me in a doctor’s office.

In a medical environment, if I say something will work, they believe it.

Thank you, Maureen

Myth vs Reality on Needle Flexibility​

Published 22 May, 2018

Myth: Flexible needle equals a good insertion

Reality: Good training and a well-made needle tip equal a good insertion. The relative flexibility of the needle is unimportant.

Myth: A stiff needle will pierce the follicle wall.

Reality: Any needle can pierce the follicle wall in the hands of an inexperienced electrologists. However, a sharp or poorly finished needle will pierce the follicle wall more easily than a well made one. The skill of the electrologist is paramount.

Myth: Flexing during insertion show an incorrect angle of insertion, and nothing more

Reality: Flexing may show poor insertion angle, or poor tip share or finish. Whatever the type of needle, the well-trained electrologist will feel resistance and re-direct the needle regardless of the amount the needle flexes. Many electrologists prefer the control of a stiffer needle.

Myth: A flexible needle follows the curve of a “distorted follicle”.

Reality: Even the most “flexible” needle is made of hard, stiff stainless steel. The follicle, on the other hand, is soft, pliable tissue. Work by Dr. James Schuster demonstrates that there is no such thing as the distorted follicle shown in so many popular charts. In any case, the follicle molds itself to the shape of the needle, not vice versa.

2018 Gold Probe Award Winner is Bridgett Meggs, CPE

Published 18 Oct, 2018

While the Ballet Gold Probe Award is sponsored by Synoptic Products and Ballet Technologies, the selection of the winner is done solely by the Executive Board of the American Electrology Association.

From L to R: Sara Paisner, Bridgett R. Meggs, Jim Paisner - Oct 2018 AEA National Meeting

The Ballet Gold Probe is awarded, with appreciation, to Bridgett R. Meggs, CPE, who in her early years of professional practice has made a significant contribution to the field of electrolysis, and who shows the potential to have a major impact on the electrolysis profession in the future.

From Pearl Warner, President of the American Electrology Association:
“Sometimes you meet someone for a few minutes and instantly know how sincere they are. I am so proud and thrilled to be presenting the Gold Probe to someone who fits that description. She is sincere to her core and when she commits to something, well, it is done. When asked to help out with a much-needed position, she stepped into those shoes with ease and has done an outstanding job.
 
This year’s award winner has been an electrologist for approximately 6 years putting her heart and soul into making her practice the best it can be. One year after graduating from Electrology School she sat for the CPE exam and passed it. She continues to educate herself by attending the national conventions and seminars. It is her way of meeting other electrologist, keeping up with new technology and ideas. She accepts opportunities to help wherever needed. She believes in nurturing your body from the inside out. She maintains another business that offers a life-changing healthy, balanced and joyful life. No guessing needed! Our Gold Probe winner is none other than Bridgett Meggs, CPE, from Texas. She is the editor of the Journal of Electrology and stepped into that position without hesitation. Thank you Bridgett for all of your hard work for the American Electrology Association.”