Electrolysis (also known as electrolysis hair removal) is a permanent method of removing body hair. It permanently removes hair by passing an electric into the hair follicle, causing it damage.
Frequently Asked Questions
Once the hair follicle has been destroyed, it loses the ability to grow hair again. The process is very slow and can take several years to achieve permanent results.
How Electrolysis Hair Removal Works
Each hair on your body grows from a follicle. There can be instances where two or three hairs grown from the same spot. The base of the follicle (called the papilla) is surrounded by blood capillaries which deliver blood supply and nutrients to the hair. During electrolysis, the blood supply is interrupted and permanently damaged. The process can be used on any part of the body except for hairs within the nose or the ears.
What makes electrolysis slow (but also permanent) is that each follicle is treated individually. One by one, the practitioner inserts a tiny probe directly into each hair follicle. The tip of the probe is hair-thin, delivering electricity directly into the required area.
The electrologist uses tweezers to remove any loose hairs which may have been left after the current. Like IPL Hair Removal, electrolysis only works on actively growing hair. If the follicle is not active at the time of treatment, the damage won’t occur. You will require repeat treatments to permanently remove all the hairs in the area. Sometimes the hairs can regrow and some patients require annual or half yearly touch ups. Also, the hair can grow back around the nipples, in the pubic area and the underarms during a woman’s reproductive years.
At the outset the treatments are frequent, about a week apart. Gradually the regularity of treatments decreases. The length of each treatment depends on the area and your pain threshold. The total number of treatments also depends on the size of the area being treated. For example, a mono-brow can take a couple of hours whilst the bikini area may take around 8-16 hours.
Electrolysis Hair Removal Options
There are three types of electrolysis, each having their benefits with not one superseding the other. The effectiveness of each method depends on the electrologist , the condition of your skin, the type of hair you’re having removed and your ability to withstand pain.
The Galvanic method combines electricity with the body’s natural elements in the follicle to create sodium hydroxide. The compound created from this chemical reaction damages the hair matrix cells. This was the traditional electrolysis method originally used to treat inverted eyelashes. Thermolysis (also known as diathermy or short-wave) uses electricity to heat the hair follicle to about 48 degrees. This causes electrocoagulation which in turn kills the hair cells. Blend electrolysis combines the galvanic and thermolysis methods.
Electrolysis Hair Removal Risks
There are few risks associated with Electrolysis. Most complications result from the provider not being careful or being inexperienced. You may experience pain whilst the current is active. This usually only lasts a few seconds and feels like a sting. Redness, dryness and swelling are usual side effects after electrolysis hair removal. These usually subside within a couple of days.
Your skin may be may also develop whiteheads and scabs. Even though they may be itchy, avoid scratching or picking at them. Doing so may lead to permanent scars. If the electrologist is not skilled and performs the procedure poorly, you may be left with permanent scarring. There is also a risk of infection which can be minimized by using disposable, pre-sterilized needles and treated with antibiotics.
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