Making it a ‘Smooth’ Transition

Ober Yahr Electrolysis is providing a safe space for hair removal.

Transitioning from one gender to another can be a laborious and labyrinthian process. Trusting professionals to help a person through their journey can be harrowing. It can literally and figuratively become a big, hairy deal. Jamie Ober, CPE and her staff at Ober Yahr Electrolysis,  Alyssa Sortino, Julie Pasquella and Danielle Seibert and Jaide Richards, are providing a safe, inclusive space for hair removal.  

Ober, who attended cosmetology school, was unsatisfied as a stylist. She took the next, albeit unorthodox, step from cutting hair to hair removal. One day, she found an ad on Craig’s List. Yahr Electrolysis was looking to increase their staff. Ober became fascinated with electrolysis. 

Ober said, “I applied, but they had already hired someone. I was determined to work with them. I kept bugging them until a position became available.” 

In 2015, she began working with Dr. Charles Yahr, DC, CPE and Jane Yahr, BS, CPE, and soon after, she got her CPE (Certified Professional Electrologist). The Yahr’s began their practice in 1988, and several years after taking Ober on, they were ready to retire. Ober took over in September 2020 and opened Ober Yahr Electrolysis. The COVID-19 pandemic delayed the change in ownership in March of 2020 but Ober was determined to continue moving forward for herself and for her mentors. 

Ober said, “It was important for me to keep their name, to continue their legacy.” 

“There aren’t many places that perform electrolysis in Pittsburgh. There are no schools for Electrolysis in Pennsylvania.”  

Note: Since Pennsylvania is one of 18 states that do not license electrolysis as a profession, it is critical to seek an electrologist with the appropriate credentials. The practice is overseen by Certified Professional Electrologists. 

Ober began seeing more clients who were transitioning and needed hair facial and genital hair removal.  

“I enjoyed getting to know a different community.” She added, “You really get to know someone when you have them on a table for an hour, sometimes hours. Talking to my clients, learning from them. It’s been fulfilling.” 

She maintains a safe space for all of her clients. She said, “We hold monthly meetings that include sensitivity training. We are constantly trying to be better for the community and our clients. We discuss all aspects of the job and our customers’ needs. We want to be respectful of everyone who walks through the door.”

Because it’s a very private service, both locations, Squirrel Hill and Scott Township, have private entrances. Ober said, “To ensure privacy, some clients will wait in their car until it’s time for their appointment.”

Ober added, “Electrolysis is becoming significantly more accessible through insurance reimbursement! This is a huge step in the right direction for health and medical coverage to the LGBTQIA+ community.” 

She urges everyone to check with their doctor and/or their insurance companies before booking an appointment. 

Founded by Dr. Charles Yahr, DC, CPE and Jane Yahr, BS, CPE in 1988, Yahr Electrolysis had been proudly leading the permanent hair removal industry in Pittsburgh. Now owned and operated by Jamie Ober, CPE accompanied by Alyssa Sortino, Julie Pasquella, Danielle Seibert, and Jaide Richards Ober Yahr Electrolysis carries on the Yahr legacy. For more information about Ober Yahr Electrolysis go www.oberyahrelectrolysis.com.  

Michael Buzzelli is a stand-up comedian and sit-down author. As a comedian, he has performed all around the country, most notably, the Ice House, the Comedy Store and the Improv in Los Angeles. As a writer, Michael Buzzelli has been published in a variety of websites, magazines and newspapers. He is a theater and arts critic for 'Burgh Vivant,’ Pittsburgh's online cultural talk magazine. He is also a Moth Grand Slam storyteller and actor. His books, "Below Average Genius," a collection of essays culled from his weekly humor column in the Observer-Reporter, and his romantic comedy,  “All I Want for Christmas," are on sale at Amazon.com. He is working on a LGBTQ romantic comedy called, “Why I Hate My Friends.” You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter. (He / Him / His)