WHAT IS ELECTROLYSIS?
Electrology is the science of permanent hair removal utilising probe devices. Medical electrolysis devices destroy the hair growth cells with chemical or heat energy.
Using state-of-the-art technology, an electrologist inserts a very fine probe into the natural opening of the hair follicle alongside the hair shaft (keep in mind how tiny hairs are) and a minute amount of electrical energy is applied which destroys the hair growth cells. When this is properly performed by competent electrologist, the regenerative ability of the hair follicle is permanently eliminated. The term electrolysis is used to describe all methods of permanent hair removal. The electrolysis (or galvanic) modality was the first method used to remove hair permanently back in 1875. The term electrolysis came to refer to the process of permanent hair removal by whichever modality.
ARE THERE DIFFERENT METHODS OF ELECTROLYSIS?
There are three modalities used today that fall under the heading of electrolysis:
1. Galvanic or electrolysis is a chemical process. The current produces a chemical reaction in the hair follicle eliminating the hair growth cells. This method is widely used in the multiple needle galvanic electrolysis, utilizing up to 16 needles simultaneously.
2. Thermolysis or short-wave produces heat. When this modality is used it heats and destroys the hair growth cells in the follicle. This modality can be utilized in two ways: (1) flash method of thermolysis uses high intensity current for less time in the follicle (2) the current is used at lower intensity and longer timing.
3. The blend method combines galvanic current with thermolysis current. Thermolysis heats up the chemical reaction in the follicle destroying hair growth cells.
All modalities equally destroy hair growth cells that causes hair growth. The modality selected for a particular task is chosen according to the skill and judgement of the professional electrologist.
WHAT DOES ELECTROLYSIS FEEL LIKE?
Electrolysis treatments sting, but individual tolerances vary greatly. Even the most sensitive person should be able to tolerate the treatments. The sting from treatment is quick, and then it’s over. If you find the treatments intolerable, then tell your electrologist. They will adjust settings and timings, and perhaps alter the modality, until they find an intensity that you are comfortable with.
WHAT IS THE NORMAL GROWTH CYCLE OF A HAIR?
All hairs have differing cycles of growth and are not visible on the surface of the skin at the same time. The follicle produces the hair from the blood supply, and discards it eventually through shedding. The process of growth, rest and replacement are known as the hair growth cycle. The sequence of events is repeated constantly until a hair ceases to be formed. Following active growing periods, most hair follicles go into a dormant stage. The period of dormancy may last for an indefinite period of time. However, replacement hairs usually appear within 3 to 12 months. The appearance of these coarse replacement hairs from dormant hair follicles should not be mistaken as regrowth from previously treated follicles.
WHO RECEIVES ELECTROLYSIS?
You are not alone if you are embarrassed by unwanted hair. As many as 90% of men and women may be affected by unsightly hair.
Roughly a quarter of electrolysis clients are men mainly between 27-45 years old. These men tend to seek treatment for either their back or eyebrows. Many men are finding it practical to have their beard permanently shaped using electrolysis because of it's comfort and our operators ability to sculpt the shape to the clients desire.
Roughly three quarters of clients are women mainly between 35-55 years old. These women tend to seek electrolysis for permanent hair removal for their upper lip, chin, eyebrow sculpting, bikini-lines and underarms. Most of our female clients have achieved permanence in the area for which they first sought treatment and have moved on to new areas.
WHY SHOULD I CHOOSE ELECTROLYSIS OVER OTHER HAIR REMOVAL METHODS?
Electrolysis is the only truly permanent hair removal method.
WHY SHOULD I CHOOSE ELECTROLYSIS OVER TEMPORARY METHODS LIKE LASER OR WAXING?
Unlike other hair reduction options, professionally performed electrolysis eliminates unwanted hair, permanently, with unsurpassed results. Moreover, it does so for any skin and hair type. Laser promoters compare laser to electrolysis although laser assisted hair reduction is only a temporary method. It has not been evaluated for long-term safety of the patient’s skin and health. Waxing, threading and tweezing are alike. However, ingrown hairs and discoloration may result. Additionally, they may cause an increase in hair growth activity. Depilatories and shaving can cause an irritation to the skin while the hair regrows quickly. These methods require a lifetime of maintenance. Many can appear inexpensive but cost more due to long term use and are found to be inconvenient. Electrolysis works on any area of the body to give you smooth, sleek healthy looking skin. No other solution achieves such universal acceptability and success.
WHY SHOULD I CHOOSE ELECTROLYSIS TO SOLVE MY UNWANTED HAIR PROBLEM?
Time is one factor for choosing electrolysis in today's fast-paced world. Dealing with unwanted hair in a temporary way is tedious, costly and never-ending. Permanent hair removal will free you from this routine. Electrolysis also improves your physical appearance and self-image, lessens anxiety caused by the unwanted hair and helps you feel more attractive and socially acceptable. It is a choice that will enhance your own natural beauty and self-confidence. Lastly, electrolysis has been proved safe and effective over many years of use and is recognized as effective and safe by the medical profession. You can be confident that permanent hair removal will change your life in a positive and lasting way. If you have any questions about anything you've read here, please feel free to contact me and I'll be happy to answer them for you without obligation.
ARE ALL HAIRS ELIMINATED IN ONE TREATMENT OR IS RE-GROWTH TO BE EXPECTED?
Excessive hair growth, known as hirsutism, can range from fine, vellus hair to dark, coarse hair on the face and body. Deep, coarse hairs cannot always be eliminated with one treatment; thus, breaking down the hair growth cells may require additional treatments.
Remember that only hair that is visible (meaning emerged through the skin) can be treated. Due to the cyclical nature of hair growth, new hairs as well as hairs emerging from a dormant phase will also require additional visits to achieve true permanence.
ARE ADVANCED COSMETIC PROCEDURES AVAILABLE ON THE NHS?
The demarcation line between medical and beauty is becoming very hazy. Due to lack of funding, practitioners within the NHS are now not performing any treatments considered purely ‘cosmetic’, so consumers must actively look for an alternative via a private clinic.
It is highly unlikely that anyone considering advanced cosmetic procedure treatment with electrolysis would be able to access this free of charge on the National Health Service for a benign, cosmetic indication. However, depending upon your skin concern, particularly if a defect is growing or changing rapidly, changing shape or colour, or starting to bleed or weep, it is worth visiting your doctor before embarking upon a search for private treatment as a referral may be needed to rule out any serious medical issues such as pre-cancerous conditions.
ARE THE NO-NEEDLE OR ELECTRONIC TWEEZING METHODS OF HAIR REMOVAL EFFECTIVE?
From time to time methods of hair removal have been advertised where the hair is grasped by a tweezer connected to an electric current source. The electric current allegedly travels down the hair shaft to destroy the hair root without any probe or needles. There is no reputable, published, scientific studies that I am aware of to support the effectiveness of this method of hair removal. It is my impression that the no-needle and electronic tweezing methods are no more effective in permanent removal of hair than ordinary "tweezing".
ARE THERE ANY SIDE EFFECTS CAUSED BY ELECTROLYSIS?
Electrolysis has been performed for nearly 150 years and has proved to be an extremely safe procedure. I am not aware of any serious complications or side effects. Electrolysis, like many minor procedures in medicine, does have a short healing phase. During this time, there may be some pinpoint scabbing. Your electrologist will advise you regarding what can be expected during the healing phase.
ARE THERE OTHER METHODS OF HAIR REMOVAL AS EFFECTIVE AS ELECTROLYSIS?
No. No studies, to my knowledge, have been done that prove any other method of hair removal being as safe, effective and permanent as electrolysis.
CAN HAIR BE REMOVED FROM MOLES?
Yes. Electrolysis can be performed on most moles. In cases where exact diagnosis is uncertain your electrologist may refer you to your doctor for written approval.
CAN UNWANTED HAIR BE REMOVED FROM ANYWHERE ON THE BODY?
Electrolysis works on all skin and hair types. Unwanted hair can be safely removed from most face and body areas. The most common areas include the hairline, bridge of nose, eyebrows, upper and lower lip, cheeks, sideburns, chin, jaw line, neck, shoulders, arms and underarms, breasts, abdomen, bikini line, legs back and chest.
The inside of the ears and nose should not be treated.
CAN WOMEN BEGIN OR HAVE ELECTROLYSIS TREATMENTS DURING PREGNANCY?
Unwanted hair can be caused by hormonal changes sometimes brought on by pregnancy. Electrolysis can be performed on any normal skin. This includes pregnant women. Although electrolysis has never been shown to be harmful to pregnant women, we suggest that you seek the advice of your doctor before beginning treatment.
DO HOME-METHODS OF ELECTROLYSIS WORK?
Not very well. If the home method is one where the probe is inserted into the hair follicle, it has the potential for working. The problem with home methods is that treating yourself often requires mirrors or having an untrained friend help you. The technique of electrolysis requires significant training for proper hand-eye coordination and is usually performed using a special light and magnification. Without proper training, adequate lighting and magnification, I feel the home methods, in most cases, will not be worth the effort and expense.
DO ELECTROLOGISTS FOLLOW APPROPRIATE INFECTION CONTROL PROCEDURES?
They certainly should!
At Electrolysis Expert, we use new pre-sterilized disposable probes for every treatment and rigorously sterilize all other instruments with hospital-grade biocides. Universal precautions also dictate strict hand-washing and the use of a fresh pair of disposable gloves for each patient.
DOES ELECTROLYSIS DAMAGE THE SKIN?
When electrolysis is administered by a competent electrologist using modern equipment and current techniques, there should be no visible skin damage. Immediately following treatment, there may be a slight redness and/or swelling which varies with each individual and usually disappears within a few hours. Occasionally, small whiteheads or tiny scabs may occur. It is important to remember that scabs are a part of the normal healing process and will not cause any permanent damage if they are not picked off.
At Electrolysis Expert, we discuss with you specific post treatment care to promote proper healing.
HOW DO I SELECT AN ELECTROLOGIST?
There are many factors that might influence your choice of an electrologist. Some people ask their doctor for a referral. Others rely on the recommendations of a friend. Many consult the internet under "Electrolysis" or "Permanent Hair Removal" to find the electrologists in their area. To be assured of quality service, choose an electrologist who is a member of a reputable professional association and a participant in continuing education. In the final analysis, decide if you feel comfortable and confident with the electrologist you have chosen, since electrolysis requires a series of treatments over a period of time.
HOW DOES ELECTROLYSIS WORK?
A trained electrologist inserts a minute metal probe into the hair follicle alongside the hair. A small amount of electrical current is then delivered to the probe by a sensitive electronic device called an epilator. Depending on the technique used, the electric current destroys the hair root either by heat or chemical action and in some methods by both at the same time.
HOW LONG DOES ELECTROLYSIS TAKE?
The number of treatments required varies with each client. Those clients that adhere to the recommended treatment schedule usually accomplish their hair removal goals between 12 to 18 months. Some improvement should be observed after a few treatments, provided the patient adheres to the recommended treatment schedule.
Factors such as hair growth cycles, the quantity and structure of hair, previous use of temporary hair removal methods, heredity, hormone function, normal physiologic changes, certain medications and stress may influence the treatment program.
It is very important to adhere to the recommended treatment program set up by your electrologist. Those who do so will achieve permanent results in the shortest time frame.
HOW LONG DOES ELECTROLYSIS LAST?
Hair treated properly by Electrolysis will never grow back. Hormonal issues later in life may cause new hair to grow especially for women around the lip and chin. These are new follicles that did not produce hair in the past and therefore could not have been treated. Remember that only hair that has emerged (broken through the skin) can be permanently treated.
HOW LONG DOES ELECTROLYSIS TAKE TO ACHIEVE PERMANENCY?
Electrolysis requires a series of treatments given over a period of time. The length of time varies from person to person and is dependent on many factors. The density and coarseness of the hair, as well as the total area to be treated, are very important. How well you tolerate treatments and the consistency of the treatments affect the overall success. The cause of the unwanted hair and the temporary methods of dealing with the hair in the past are also involved in the treatment time. Many hairs will be permanently removed by the first treatment while some will require additional treatments to achieve permanency. Treatments will be more frequent in the beginning and less frequent later on. The overall results, permanent, hair-free skin, are usually well worth the time spent.
HOW LONG HAS ELECTROLYSIS BEEN PERFORMED?
The first research using electrolysis for the permanent removal of hair began in 1869 in St. Louis, Missouri. It was conducted by an ophthalmologist named Dr.Charles Michel, who wanted a safe, effective way to remove ingrown eyelashes, which sometimes led to blindness. He published his first scientific paper in 1875. The method was soon accepted by the medical community and then adapted for treatment of excess hair on other parts of the body. From that day until the present, the same basic technique has been used, only greatly improved and modernised.
HOW MANY TREATMENTS ARE REQUIRED?
The number of treatments necessary varies with each client. Treatment sessions can range from 15 minutes to more than an hour depending on the area being treated.
Factors such as hair growth cycles, the quantity and structure of hair presented, previous use of temporary hair removal methods, heredity, hormone function, certain medication and stress influence the treatment program for each individual. It is important to follow the recommended treatment plan to achieve optimum results.
HOW MUCH WILL TREATMENTS COST?
Electrolysis costs depend on a lot of factors including: how much hair needs to be removed, the size of area being treated, and where you get your services performed. Generally, a large city is going to have higher rates than a small town. For best results, follow the electrologist's recommendations in scheduling appointments. For areas that have been waxed or tweezed, treatments will be more frequent than for areas that have been shaved.
I HEARD ELECTROLYSIS IS PAINFUL. IS THAT TRUE?
All three original modalities used in electrolysis treatments have evolved. The galvanic (true electrolysis) modality still causes a chemical decomposition of the hair follicle cells; the thermolysis (high frequency, shortwave) still destroys the hair growing cells with heat; and the blend (or sequential) still combines galvanic and high frequency to disable the hair follicle.
Electrolysis treatments are all about timing and intensity. Electrologists can choose between three different methods of treatment, each with its own variation of comfort levels but with the same comfort, effectiveness and permanency. The electrologist will consider your specific needs and design a treatment plan. Another factor of comfort is the type of probe used. There are now a variety of probes to choose from: insulated, non-insulated, one-piece, two-piece, stainless steel, and gold-plated. The electrologist will determine the best option for your type of hair growth and skin, providing you with comfortable, quality treatments.
IS ELECTROLYSIS EXPENSIVE?
Considering the intense physical effort required of the electrologist, as well as the equipment, premises, insurance, etc., the fees charged by electrologists are thought, by most, to be reasonable. When compared to the prices of other health and beauty-care services and the cost of dealing with excessive hair using temporary means, electrolysis, in most cases, is very affordable. Remember, the problem is being dealt with permanently and not just on a short term basis.
IS ELECTROLYSIS PAINFUL?
Most of our clients comment that Electrolysis was not as bad as they had expected. Whether there is any discomfort during electrolysis is quite variable depending on a patient's tolerance, machine settings, modality used, as well as other factors. During most treatments a definite sensation will be noticed. It has been variously described as a "slight heat", "tingling" or "stinging" sensation. This is not a comfortable sensation but most would agree that it is hardly unbearable. Your electrologist is trained to work within the comfort tolerance of their patients. Don't hesitate to let them know what you are feeling.
Having said that, it is impossible to destroy hair growth tissue completely without any sensation because each hair follicle is surrounded by its own network of nerve endings. The sensation is assurance that destructive activity is taking place. Even though some parts of the body are more sensitive than others, adjustments can be made which may help to make the treatment more comfortable.
Compared to laser, electrolysis is a walk in the park. Many equate the feeling of laser to the snapping of a hard rubber band against the skin. They often fail to mention that the snapping is continuous for several seconds for each application. Don't be fooled when they tell you their laser is equipped with a special "cooling plate". The pain described above is after the use of the "Cooling Plate". Each application treats a service approximately 1 1/2 square inches at a time so several applications are needed to treat a large area. This might not be so bad if it actually worked. Often patients are told they will need additional laser treatments and then will need to finish off with electrolysis.
IS ELECTROLYSIS PERMANENT?
Electrolysis has been shown to be permanent in over a century of use. Its permanency has been well recognised by the medical profession and is also testified to by hundreds of scientific articles. In addition to scientific validation, there are over one million happy and satisfied persons who have solved a personal and embarrassing problem with the help of electrolysis.
IS ELECTROLYSIS REALLY THE ONLY METHOD OF PERMANENT HAIR REMOVAL?
Many unethical claims are being made that laser has been approved as permanent. Laser has not been approved for permanence! According to the FDA, laser is not permitted to advertise as permanent or painless.
What attracts people to laser is it's supposed speed. Laser, however often requires 5-8 treatments spaced 4-5 weeks apart from each other. This means you are into the process for 8 months before you even begin electrolysis. Had these clients been properly educated they could have spent less money, had more comfort and received truly permanent results. Electrolysis is the only scientifically proven method of permanent hair removal. Temporary methods such as laser, shaving, tweezing, depilatories and waxing require frequent time consuming maintenance. Skin irritations, ingrown hairs, discoloration, and scarring may result. Some of these methods even contribute to an increase in hair growth activity. e constantly monitor the progress of other methods in order to stay on top of our field. When another method is able to demonstrate effective results without harming our clients, we will be glad to offer it.
IS ELECTROLYSIS SAFE?
Electrolysis has a nearly 150 year history of safety and effectiveness. I am not aware of one case of significant disease being caused or transmitted because of electrolysis. Well-trained electrologists utilise the most up-to-date and effective methods of sterilisation, disinfection and antisepsis and will follow guidelines set by a professional electrolysis association. Don't hesitate to ask your electrologist about the scientific methods s/he uses to guarantee your safety.
WHAT AREAS OF THE BODY CAN BE TREATED?
Hair can be removed from almost any part of the body. Some common treatment areas for women include the hairline, eyebrows, top of the nose, cheeks, sideburn area, upper and lower lip, chin, throat, neck, shoulders, back, chest, breasts, abdomen, arms, legs, bikini line, hands, feet, fingers and toes. Hair on the eyelashes, inside the nose and inside the ear canal are only treated under the supervision of a doctor. Hairy moles may be treated with medical permission. It is perfectly safe to treat pregnant women with thermolysis method, but the breasts and abdomen are usually avoided after the sixth month of pregnancy. Men often have hair removed from the hairline, beard line, shoulders, back, neck, chest, ears and nose. Electrolysis is very helpful for treating ingrown hairs which frequently cause irritation in the beard area.