- What is electrolysis?
- Do all electrologists always apply the same hair removal method?
- Is electrolysis safe?
- Does electrolysis hurt?
- Does electrolysis have any side effects?
- How many treatments are required and how long does each treatment take?
- How much does electrolysis cost?
- What areas of the body can be treated?
- Is there an age limit for electrolysis?
- Why should I choose electrolysis over other hair removal methods?
Electrolysis is the only proven method of permanent hair removal, recognized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the American Medical Association (AMA).
In this method, a very fine probe is inserted into the hair follicle, and a very small amount of electrical current is passed down the probe to destroy the growing portion of the hair root. Once the blood supply to the hair has been destroyed, hair will no longer grow from that hair follicle.Back to Top
There are three different modalities in electrolysis:
- Thermolysis, which uses alternating current and destroys the hair follicle by heat.
- Galvanic, which uses direct current and destroys hair follicle by a chemical reaction.
- The Blend, which combines alternating and direct currents and destroys hair follicle with the dual action of heat accelerating chemical reaction.
All three modalities are safe and effective. The electrology associations do not recommend one method over another. I choose one of these methods according to your skin and hair type, and your specific needs.Back to Top
Electrolysis is not only an extremely safe procedure that has been applied for over 135 years for hair removal, also easier, faster, and relatively painless method with the modern electrolysis equipment of today.
Although there has never been a report of disease transmission from electrolysis, all general hygiene standards and infection control standards recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Electrology Association (AEA), and up to date sterilization methods are applied in my clinic to protect the clients.Back to Top
Electrolysis does not hurt, but the patient can sometimes feel some discomfort. Whether there is any discomfort during electrolysis depends on the patient's tolerance, epilator settings, the modality used, and some other factors such as patient’s stress condition and menstruation. Modern electrolysis methods have reduced any discomfort due to electrolysis. Most people only experience a warming, tingling or stinging sensation during the treatment, but certain part of the body such as upper lip, eyebrows are more sensitive to the current than others. Adjustments can be made which will help to make the treatment more comfortable and a topical anesthetic may be used for these areas.Back to Top
Electrolysis does not have any permanent side effects. Sometimes, a slight redness or swelling may occur during or immediately after treatment, but this will only last for a short time. Occasionally 1-2 mm, brownish-red spots (scabs) might be seen on the treated follicle. They will heal and fall of by themselves. In the hands of a well-trained and skilled electrologist, whose instructions for after-care are followed, there should be no lasting marks or scars.Back to Top
Permanent hair removal is a gradual process, so several therapy sessions are necessary for permanent result. The number of treatments varies for each client depending on the coarseness and amount of hair to be removed, previous use of temporary hair removal methods such as waxing or shaving, hormonal and hereditary factors and medications.
Although the regular and relatively more often treatments are necessary for the first weeks, after a couple of months, the hair growth will take longer time, the hair will get weaker and weaker, the client will need to come less often for electrolysis, and eventually will not need it. The client usually will see results within six months of regular treatments. Consistency in maintaining a scheduled treatment will significantly impact results.
Sessions can range from 15 minutes to more than an hour depending on the area being treated and the person’s tolerance for a longer session.Back to Top
Although electrolysis costs depend on the amount of hair to be removed and the size of area to be treated, I can say that it is very cost effective treatment when compared to laser and other endless temporary hair removal methods. The results of permanent hair-free, smooth, healthy looking skin are worth every penny spent.Back to Top
Electrolysis can be done on any facial and body parts where unwanted hair is present, except the inside of the nose and the inside of the ear.
The most common treatment areas for women are upper and lower lip, chin, eyebrows, cheeks, hairline, breasts, bikini line, chest, underarms, arms, legs, hands, feet, toes and fingers; for men are eyebrows, hairline, beard, neck, shoulders, back, chest, ears and nose. Electrolysis is very helpful for ingrown hairs, which frequently cause irritation in the beard area.Back to Top
There is no ideal age or age limit for electrolysis as long as puberty has been reached, but parental or guardian consent is necessary for anyone under 18 years of age.Back to Top
Electrolysis is the only true permanent hair removal method which has universal acceptability and success. Although laser treatments will permanently reduce the total number of body hairs, they will not result in a permanent removal of all hair, so laser hair removal is considered a temporary method.
Electrolysis has been proven to be clinically safe in a long-term, whereas laser hair removal has not been evaluated for long-term safety of the patient’s skin and health. Although it is getting increasingly popular especially for larger body areas, there is always a risk of complications such as, permanent disfigurement, skin discoloration and burns even when a medical doctor performs the procedure, The risk is magnified when laser hair removal is performed by people with no medical training and no physician is on site in case things go wrong. Such procedures should only be done under the supervision of a medical doctor with extensive training in laser surgery techniques.
Electrolysis eliminates all unwanted hair permanently for all skin and hair types and colors (dry, oily, mature skin, blonde, dark, gray, straight, curly, fine or coarse hair, dark, black, light skin colors). Laser hair removal is ineffective on hair that has little or no pigment, such as blond, gray, red hair or fine vellus hair. It is most effective on dark hair surrounded by light skin.
Other temporary hair removal methods such as waxing, threading and tweezing are not only temporary solution for unwanted hair, but also may cause an increase in hair growth activity, ingrown hairs and discoloration on the skin. Depilatories and shaving can cause an irritation to the skin while the hair regrows quickly. Although these temporary methods can appear inexpensive, they require lifetime maintenance and cost more due to long term use.Back to Top
- American Electrology Association, Inc.: www.electrology.com
- American Electrology Association. 2011. International Board of Electrologist Certification (IBEC) Study Guide.
- Bickmore HR. 2004. Milady’s Hair Removal Techniques: A Comprehensive Manual, Australia, Cengage Learning.
- Bono M. 1996. Guide to the Blend Method. Santa Barbara, CA, Tortoise Press.
- FDA: U.S.Foot and Drug Administration: Protecting and Promoting Your Health: http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm048995.htm
- Galt V. Laser hair removal a risky business in need of regulation, experts say CMAJ. 2010 May 18; 182(8): 755–756.
- Gior F.2005. Modern Electrology: Excess Hair, Its Causes and Treatments- Including Laser. New York, Hair Publishing Inc.
- Haedersdal M, Gøtzsche PC. Laser and photoepilation for unwanted hair growth. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2006 Oct 18; (4):CD004684.
- Hinkel RH, Lind WR.1987. Electrolysis, Thermolysis and the Blend: The Principles and Practice of Permanent Hair Removal. California, Arroway Publishers.
- Lanigan SW, Management of unwanted hair in females. Exp Dermatol. 2001 Nov; 26(8):644-7.
- Richards RN, Meharg GE.1997. Cosmetic and Medical Electrolysis and Temporary Hair Removal. Canada, Medric Ltd.