VOL. 123 | NO. 127 | Monday, June 30, 2008
Electrology Center of Cordova Celebrates 15 Years of Business
By Rebekah Hearn
HARD AT WORK: Juanita Laney performs electrolysis on patient Anna Stegall’s eyebrows. -- PHOTO BY REBEKAH HEARN
“It’s been a wonderful business for us, and it started growing so quickly we couldn’t keep up with the amount of clients.”
– Juanita Laney
Co-owner, Electrology Center of Cordova LLC
Electrology Center of Cordova LLC
Owners: Peggy Adams and Juanita Laney
Address: 8000 Centerview Parkway
Web site: www.electrologycenter.com
Peggy Adams, like many women surely have done, experimented with a home self-wax job. She was trying to remove unwanted fine hairs on her upper lip; however, when she pulled off the wax, it took off parts of her skin and she was left with horrible scabs.
“I thought, ‘There’s got to be a better way,’” Adams said. “So I started investigating, and I found out electrology is permanent hair removal.”
Adams’ mother bought her a gift certificate for electrolysis. She was so pleased with the results and interested in electrolysis that she attended the now-closed Tennessee School of Electrology and became a licensed electrologist as well as a certified clinical electrologist.
Adams and her sister, Juanita Laney, opened the Electrology Center of Cordova LLC in 1993 in the Koger Center off Germantown Parkway. The business will celebrate its 15-year anniversary Tuesday.
Laney said she became interested in her sister’s new passion, and because Laney already had been to college for nursing, she simply returned to finish her previous schooling.
“The state of Tennessee has more requirements than most states; we have two years (of) nursing classes and 600 hours of specialized training, which is a good thing. All states are not as stringent,” Adams said.
Laney was looking for something she could do part time in the medical field.
“This was the great answer,” she said. “It’s been a wonderful business for us, and it started growing so quickly we couldn’t keep up with the amount of clients.”
So Debbie Read, a friend of Adams’, joined the practice in 1997. At that time, Read was about to return to school. She also was looking to study in the medical field, and when Adams mentioned she was an electrologist, the idea clicked with Read just as it had with Laney.
Read also attended the Tennessee School of Electrology, became a licensed electrologist and began working at the sisters’ practice.
“They took really good care of me,” Read said. “They gave me their new clients for the first two months, so I built up my clientele.”
A proven practice
Electrolysis was created in 1875 by Dr. Charles Michel. The procedure was modernized in 1940 into the same science used today.
Hair grows out of follicles, which are natural openings in the skin. Electrolysis works by sliding a small, flexible, filament-like probe into the natural opening of the skin.
A small amount of electrical current is applied, which feels to the patient like a quick zap of heat. That heat causes the clear jelly-like sheath encasing the hair to coagulate onto the hair, separating it from the follicle wall.
The electrologist then can gently glide the hair and the coagulated sheath out of the follicle.
“Most of the time, we can treat a hair one time and you’ll never see that hair again,” Adams said.
With particularly strong, curly or coarse hairs, subsequent treatments often are necessary to remove the hair for good.
Electrolysis is the only form of hair removal approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to advertise itself as “permanent.”
“Laser (hair removal), for example, can use words like ‘permanent reduction,’ but they can’t say it is ‘permanent hair removal,’” Adams said.
Electrolysis is often an optional procedure, but many medical conditions or procedures put patients in situations where hair removal comes out of more than just a desire to look good.
The Electrology Center receives referrals from burn centers and plastic surgeons for hair removal from skin grafts, facial and breast reconstruction cases.
“Some of the plastic surgeons, for example, when they re-create a breast, they will use tissue from areas that have hair,” Laney said. “So once the area is healed, they send the patient to us, and we remove the hair; then they have a new breast.”
Many medical reasons cause patients, most often women, to have unwanted or excessive hair growth. Chronic conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome, Cushing’s syndrome and hypo- or hyperthyroidism can cause a fluctuation of hormones, which in turn causes hirsutism, hormonally induced hair on a woman that grows in a male pattern – on the chin, neck, chest or abdomen.
Adams said the Electrology Center has had many kinds of plastic surgery cases.
“The majority of our clients, however, are women with unwanted facial or body hair,” Laney said.
When a client first comes into the Electrology Center, the electrologist gets the patient’s medical history and finds out on what areas he or she wants to start.
“It is addictive,” Adams said. “People start with one area and go on and do others, which is what we want to happen. They always say, ‘I wish I had done this sooner.’”
The effectiveness of the procedure keeps clients coming back and brings in the majority of the company’s new business.
“Most of our business is referral; probably at least 75 percent of our clients come because someone else has done it, they love the results, and they tell friends,” Laney said.
Despite the way the economy has gone lately, Adams said business has stayed steady.
“We thought there would be a decrease (in business), and it definitely concerns us because this is a discretionary procedure – except that for women, it’s not really discretionary,” she said. “Certainly we are aware of the downturn, but so far we’ve been all right.”