Electrolysis Frequently Asked QuestionsBelow, you will find listed answers to a number of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). If you have a specific question not addressed here, contact one of our locations, or visit our Ask The Experts page to ask a question online.
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, Charles Michel who wanted a safe, effective way to remove ingrown eyelashes which frequently led to blindness. He published his first scientific paper in 1875. The method was soon adapted 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 modernized.
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 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.
Galvanic (direct current) electrolysis-the hair is destroyed by chemical action. Thermolysis (high frequency) electrolysis-the hair root is destroyed by heat production. Blend electrolysis-a combination of Galvanic and Thermolysis where the hair root is destroyed by both heat and chemical action at the same time.
All three modalities are safe and effective. Your electrologist will choose the modality which is best for you.
Is electrolysis permanent?Electrolysis has been shown to be permanent in over a century of use. Its permanency has been well recognized by knowledgeable physicians and is also testified to by hundreds of scientific articles published in the medical literature. In addition to scientific recognition, there are over one million happy and satisfied people who have solved a very personal and embarrassing problem with the help of electrolysis.
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 don the hair shaft to destroy the hair root without any probe or needles. There is no published, reputable scientific data 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 hair removal than ordinary "tweezing."
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 treating yourself which 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.
Is electrolysis safe?Electrolysis has a 120 year history of safety and effectiveness. I am not aware of one case of significant disease being caused or transmitted because of electrolysis.
Modern well-trained electrologists utilize the most up-to-date effective methods of sterilization, disinfection and antisepsis, and follow guidelines set up by a major electrolysis organization in conjunction with the CDC (Center of Disease Control). Don't hesitate to ask your electrologist about the scientific methods he/she uses to guarantee your safety.
Is electrolysis painful?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 should be noticed. It has been variously described as a "slight Heat", "tingling" or "stinging" sensation. Your electrologist is trained to work within the comfort tolerance of his/her patients. Do not hesitate to let him/her know what you are feeling.
Is electrolysis expensive?Considering the intense physical effort required of the electrologist, as well as the equipment, office space, insurance, etc., the fees charged by electrologist 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.
Are there any side effects caused by electrolysis?Electrolysis has been performed for over 120 years and has proven to be an extremely safe procedure. Having read most of the medical literature on electrolysis, 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 transient redness or swelling and occasionally some pinpoint scabbing. Your electrologist will advise you regarding what can be expected during the healing phase.
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, sideburn area, upper and lower lip, chin, throat, neck, shoulders, back, chest, breasts, abdomen, arms, legs, bikini line, hands, feet, toes and fingers. Hair on the eyelashes, inside the nose and inside the ear canal are only treated under the supervision of a physician. Hairy moles may be treated with written permission from a physician. It is perfectly safe to treat pregnant women, but the breasts and abdomen are 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.
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 treatment 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 after the first treatment while some require additional treatment to achieve permanency. Treatment 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 do I select an electrologist?There are many factors that might influence your choice of an electrologist. Many people ask their physician for a referral. Others rely on the recommendations of a friend. Many consult the telephone directory under "Electrolysis" or "Permanent Hair Removal" to find the electrologists in their area. To be assured of quality service, determine if your electrologist is licensed (where required by law), nationally certified, a member of state and/or national professional associations 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 treatment over a period of time.
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 frees you from this daily 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 proven safe and effective over many years of use and is recognized by physicians and the American Medical Association. You can be confident that permanent hair removal will change your life in a positive and lasting way.