Frequently Asked Questions About Permanent Hair Removal
This FAQ is based on common questions asked of electrology practitioners. The information below is not intended to provide a diagnosis or define a treatment. Please consult your electrologist before selecting a course of treatment.
What is electrolysis?
Electrology is the science of permanent hair removal. Using state-of-the-art technology, a minute amount of electricity is gently applied to the base of the hair follicle. This process destroys the hair growth tissue. Therefore, 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 modality was the first method used to remove hair permanently back in 1875. The term electrolysis branded the process of permanent hair removal.
An electrologist inserts a very fine needle into the natural opening of the hair follicle alongside the hair shaft (keep in mind how tiny hairs are). A minute amount of current is then applied to destroy the hair growth cells.
Medical electrolysis devices destroy the hair growth cells with chemical or heat energy. All modalities equally destroy hair growth cells that causes hair growth. The modality used is the preference of the professional electrologist.
There are three modalities used today that fall under the heading of electrolysis:
- 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.
- 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.
- The blend method combines galvanic current with thermolysis current. Thermolysis heats up the chemical reaction in the follicle destroying hair growth cells.
Why should I choose electrolysis over other hair removal methods?
Electrolysis is the only true permanent hair removal method and the only permanent treatment recognized by the FDA.
Why should I choose electrolysis over other temporary methods like laser and waxing?
Unlike other hair removal options, professionally performed electrolysis eliminates unwanted hair, permanently, with unsurpassed results. Moreover, it does so for the largest variety of skin and hair types.
Laser promoters compare laser to electrolysis although laser assisted hair removal is considered 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 can 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 most areas of the body to give you smooth, sleek healthy looking skin. No other solution claims such universal acceptability and success.
Do electrologists follow appropriate infection control procedures?
The American Electrology Association has written Standards for Infection Control following the most recent recommendations from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and the Association for Practitioners in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC).
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.
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.
Are all hairs eliminated in one treatment or is regrowth 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. Based on a personal and confidential consultation, your electrologist will design a treatment plan that addresses your specific hair removal needs.
What is the normal growth cycle of a hair?
Hairs have differing cycles of growth, many of which 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.
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.
Does electrolysis have any side effects on the skin?
Immediately following treatment, there may be slight redness, which varies with each individual. The latest technology has made electrolysis more comfortable and effective than ever before. Your electrologist will provide you with post treatment instructions and the personal attention you need. You are assured of the best care from a skilled hair removal professional.
Can unwanted hair be removed from anywhere on the body?
Electrolysis works on all skin and hair types It can be applied to most facial and body parts, including: eyebrows, chin, upper & lower lip, jaw line & sides of the face, breast & underarms, abdomen, bikini line, legs and back. Based on a personal and confidential consultation, your electrologist will design a treatment plan that addresses your specific hair removal needs.
Can women begin or have electrolysis treatments during pregnancy?
Unwanted hair can be caused by hormonal changes brought on by pregnancy. Electrolysis can be performed on any normal skin. This includes pregnant women. We suggest that you seek the advice of your physician before beginning treatment.
Can hairs be removed from moles?
Electrolysis can be performed in most moles where licensing regulations allow it. Your electrologist may require written approval from your physician.
My grandmother used to get electrolysis treatments. Has the technology changed much?
Permanent hair removal using electrolysis has come a long way since its beginnings in 1875. Today's computer technology enables the electrologist to work with more speed and comfort. Epilators are much quicker, utilizing current timings of thousandths of a second over the longer current applications of the past, plus, intensity settings can now be modulated to varying proportions. The instruments and equipment used in a contemporary electrologist's office are just part of the changes that have occurred in the electrolysis industry.
How does electrolysis work these days?
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.
I heard electrolysis was painful. Is that true?
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.
The information above is provided courtesy of American Electrology Association.