Electrolysis is a safe, effective method of permanent hair removal recognized by the American Medical Association (AMA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as the only method of permanent hair removal. The term Electrolysis is used to refer to 3 slightly different methods of permanent hair removal. All of which use a wire type probe.
These methods are:
Glavanic Electrolysis – Direct current (DC) is used to create a chemical destruction by producing lye (sodium hydroxide), which destroys the hair cells. This takes longer per treatment.
Thermolysis Electrolysis- Alternation current (AC) is heat destruction concentrated mostly at the tip of the probe, which destroys the hair cells. A radio frequency is used to create this heat. This is the method I use most all the time. It is faster than Galvanic and the Blend and in my opinion less toxic* (see below for details) to the body. I receive great results with this method.This takes a shorter amount of time per treatment.
The Blend – A combination action of both (DC – The Chemical Lye) and (AC – Heat) at the same time, which creates a dual action destroying the hair cells. This takes longer per treatment.
In each of these methods a fine, sterile probe often referred to as a needle is inserted alongside the hair in the follicle opening. A probe is different from a needle in that it is a solid wire. It is not hollow as a needle. A radio frequency is then applied to destroy the derma papilla and germ cells of each individual hair that control the development of that hair. The Electrologist then slides the hair out of the follicle grasping it with sterilized forceps. Once these hair cells are destroyed completely the hair will not grow back from that follicle. The body will be unable to regenerate hair in that follicle. This may take several treatments.
The process can be compared to killing weeds. In order to get rid of weeds one must remove the weeds over and over again. Every time the weed is removed it becomes weaker and weaker until it can no longer grow. However if you remove the weed only one time and leave it to re-grow on it’s own without removing it again and again the weed will grow to its original strength or stronger. One must be persistent to overcome the weed just as one must be persistent to overcome excess hair growth. With persistence and consistency you will find the hair stops growing and the permanent removal of unwanted hair will be accomplished.
Why does it take so long for the hair to stop growing?
With every treatment the hair will become finer and weaker. When you remove the hair you must then wait for it to grow back again before you can re-treat it. The normal growth cycle varies with each individual hair. This could take anywhere form one week to several months.
Not only does tweezing, waxing and other temporary removal methods increase the depth, strength and coarseness of the hair but it also distorts or bends the hair follicle making it more difficult for the Electrologist to treat. The treatments will help the hair follicle to straighten thereby making it easier to treat. The closer and more exact the Electrologist’s insertions can come to the base of the root of the hair the greater the chances are that the Electrologist will be able to destroy the hair and its germ cells.
Size, shape, and density of the hair are also factors that affect the number of treatments needed for permanency. Sensitivity of the skin is another reason for repeated treatments. A balance must be achieved in that the intensity of the heat used must be high enough to dislodge the hair from its follicle but not so high that it causes singeing of the outside surface of the skin. Treatments may take longer to insure the safety of the skin.
Glandular and hormonal changes due to puberty, pregnancy, and menopause can also affect the length of time before permanency is obtained. Emotional stress, changes in diet and body weight, heredity, disease, past surgeries and the use of drugs such as: steroids, birth control pills, and many others can increase hair growth by coaxing hair follicles which have not been treated with electrolysis out of dormancy.
When is scabbing on the surface of the skin not acceptable?
The Eelectrologist should be careful not to cause scabbing on the surface of the skin. Scabbing which occurs after the first visit or so is acceptable. You must be sure to tell your Electrologist that you had scabbing. If you find that you continue to have scabbing after the first treatment or so then you should find another electrologist. Repeated scabbing often leads to scarring and pitting. This is not acceptable. The electrologist is either working with the heat up too high or working too fast so the probe is pulled out of the follicle before the heat is off actually singeing the skin when the probe is removed. You want hair free skin free of any scarring. This is completely attainable and a realistic expectation.
With all the talk about laser hair removal why would I be interested in electrolysis?
- Laser should not be used in the eyebrow area.
- You will have to shave for several months, on a regular basis, in between treatments when using the laser method.
- Laser is not effective for blond, red, white, gray, or fine hair. If someone tells you they have a laser which treats this type of hair, don’t believe them. They are using some type of short wave electrolysis.
- When performed properly some lasers work well for large areas with coarse hair. Once the hair that is left is diminished to fine hair, all laser clients must then start electrolysis treatments for permanent hair removal. Some of my clients say that they have undergone the full series of laser treatments and found that after 5 years the hair has grown back. You may or may not accept this kind of result.
- If you have a small amount of hair in an area with some coarse and some fine hair, the laser may be unnecessary, too costly, and not effective.
Which areas are most common to have electrolysis treatments?
Upper Lip, Chin, Eyebrows, Sideburns, Neck, Breasts, Nose, Ears, Abdomen, Toes, Fingers