1) What is Electrolysis? “Electrolysis” is a term that has become synonymous with “permanent hair removal” over past 130 years, since 1875. Electrolysis is the specialty of permanent hair removal utilizing only solid needle type devices. Originally it was a process involving the insertion of a wire filament into the hair follicle, while the patient held onto an electrode. A weak current, generated by a battery, was passed from the electrode through the patient’s body to the wire filament and back to the battery. In other words, Electrolysis is the decomposition of a chemical compound or body tissues, particularly hair root protein, by means of electricity and salt water.
2) What it is a Follicle? It is the pocket from which the hair grows. It is a small secretory cavity or sac; the depression in the skin containing the hair root.
3) Is “Electrolysis” the only specialty of permanent hair removal? Yes, Electrolysis has been shown to be permanent in over a century of use. Its permanency has been well recognized by knowledgeable physicians and is testified to by hundreds of scientific articles published in the medical literature. Temporary methods such as shaving, tweezing, depilatories, waxing and stringing require frequent time-consuming maintenance. Skin irritations, ingrown hairs, discoloration, and scarring may result. Some of these methods contribute to increase in hair activity.
4) Are there other methods of hair removal as effective as Electrolysis? No. There is absolutely no reputable scientific evidence that shows any other method of hair removal being as safe, effective and permanent as electrolysis.
5) How does Electrolysis work? A trained electrologist inserts a small metal probe into the hair follicle alongside the hair. A small amount of electric current is then delivered to the probe by a sensitive electronic device called epilator. Depending on the technique used, the electric current destroys the hair root either by heat or chemical action or in some methods by both at the same time. A hair must be in an active growth stage for its follicle to be moist enough for the process to be effective. A certain percentage of follicles are in these stages at any given time. Some follicles are dormant. These follicles are going through a natural growth cycle and hair will resurface within a few weeks. When the hairs are actively growing once again, their follicles can be effectively treated. For this reason, a series of treatment is required. The length of the series and the length of each appointment are highly individual and must be determined by examination of the area. Generally, if a person takes treatments as recommended, does not have a hormone imbalance, is not taking a medication which would affect hair growth, and has no medical condition or tumor which would affect hair growth, the treatment series could range from six months to two years.
6) Are there different methods of Electrolysis? There are three recognized methods of electrolysis:1. Galvanic: (Direct current) Electrolysis – The hair root is destroyed by chemical action.2. Thermolysis: (High frequency) Electrolysis – The hair root is destroyed by heat production.3. Blend Electrolysis – A combination of the above two modalities where the hair root is destroyed by booth heat and chemical action at the same time.All three modalities are safe and effective. Your electrologist will choose the modality that is best for you.
7) Is Electrolysis safe? Yes. Electrolysis has a 125 year history of safety and effectiveness. There has never been a reported case of disease transmission in electrolysis. We use only sterile disposable needles and a new needle is provided for each treatment. The tweezers are also sterilized before each treatment.
8 ) Are there any situations when Electrolysis should not be performed? Yes. Your electrologist should do a consultation with you and ask the relevant medical questions to determine if you are a suitable candidate. A few situations require a doctor’s note permission before commencing your treatment.
9) At what age can Electrolysis be started? Electrolysis can be performed at any age but parental or guardian consent must be obtained for anyone under 18 years. Most individuals can’t or are willing to tolerate the treatment prior to puberty. Children can be very sensitive to unsightly hair growth. While electrolysis is safe for almost any age, it is only recommended for girls who have entered puberty. On rare occasions, younger children have been treated with pediatrician’s permission. Treatment can be very successful because often children haven’t plucked the hairs or used other techniques that may impact the success of electrolysis. In all cases, children under the age of 18 must have the written consent of his/her parent for treatment.
10) What areas of the body can be treated? Hair can be removed from almost any part of the body. Some common areas for women include the hairline, eyebrows, top of the nose, cheeks, sideburns, upper and lower lip, chin, throat, neck, shoulders, back, chest, breasts, abdomen, arms, underarms, legs, bikini line, hands, feet, toes, and fingers. Hairy moles may be treated with written permission from a physician. 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.
11) Are all hairs eliminated in one treatment or is regrowth to be expected? Deep, coarse hairs cannot always be eliminated with one treatment; thus, breaking down the hair germ cells may require additional treatments. During the course of treatment and due to the cyclic nature of hair growth, new hairs as well as hairs emerging from a dormant phase will also be treated and may be visible the same time as finer regrowth hairs.
12) 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. Hair normally grows for its usual cycle and then naturally sheds and replaces itself. 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.
13) What will Electrolysis feel like? Some areas of the body are more sensitive than others. Prescription anesthetic is available. However, in our practice, we notice that 95% of our patients request only the topical anesthetics, which we routinely provide. You may experience a slight feeling of warmth lasting a few hundredths of a second, very comparable to the tingle felt from the stray spark of a fireworks sparkler. The patient’s skin may exhibit a slight amount of redness and swelling usually lasting no more than 15-30 minutes.
14) Can a pregnant woman have Electrolysis? While electrolysis is generally contraindicated during pregnancy, short wave thermolysis has not been found to be a problem. A pregnant woman should check with her physician and follow his/her orders.
15) Is Electrolysis recommended for mature skin? Yes, it is safe and effective for mature skin. The only complaint we hear from our older patients is that they wish they’d started treatment earlier to have more years to enjoy their attractive, hairless skin.
16) How much does Electrolysis cost? Electrolysis is billed by the hour- usually broken down into 1 hour, 45 min; 30 min; and 15 min sessions.
17) How long does it take to permanently clear an area? The total treatment can vary greatly from one individual to another. It is dependent on number of factors that include:The size of the area being treated, previous use of temporary hair removal methods, hair growth cycles, the density of the hair, the texture of the hair, the existence of curved or distorted hair follicles, heredity, normal physiologic changes, hormone function, certain medications, medical history, the client’s tolerance, and stress influence the treatment program for each individual. Some improvement should be observed within several months after initiating treatment, provided the client adheres to the recommended schedule. It is important to realize that time, commitment, and patience are needed in order to overcome a problem which did not develop overnight.
18) I have had Electrolysis before, do I have to go through the consultation and trial treatment? Our professional technicians are required to obtain a health history on all new patients. It is for your protection as well as that of the clinic. If you would like to have a regular treatment, in addition to the trial treatment, at the same visit, please let us know and we will be happy to schedule enough time to take care of your needs.