What is Electrolysis?
Electrolysis is a medical procedure by which hair is removed, permanently, from the face or body using heat energy. A probe is inserted into each unwanted hair follicle where an electrical current heats up and destroys the root of the hair. The heat fuses shut contributing capillaries and nerves with scar tissue to ensure the hair will never grow back. As the heated probe is killing the root, the hair is gently tweezed out.
How is Electrolysis Different than Laser Hair Removal?
Electrolysis targets the follicle directly with probe insertion into each shaft. Laser treatments rely on the hair itself to transfer heat energy down to the root as the laser passes over it. Laser treated areas experience only a 20% rate of permanent hair removal, meaning 80% will grow back over time. Electrolysis is the only FDA approved means to remove unwanted hair permanently and safely.
How Many Treatments will I Need?
The number of treatments needed to permanently remove the hair differs from person to person and from follicle to follicle. Most follicles respond well with only one treatment, while others will require several treatments to eradicate the hair permanently, depending on stage of hair growth, follicle size, depth and amount of contributing capillaries and nerves. The stubborn hairs grow back weaker and thinner with each subsequent treatment until complete removal is achieved. It is also important to attack the hair when it’s in the Anagen phase of growth (see chart below). Your electrologist will be able to determine this, so be sure to keep your appointments timed per her recommendation.
Is it Safe?
Electrolysis is a very safe method of hair removal. In the state of California, electrologists are required to follow Sterilization and Sanitation standards as dictated by the CDC (Center for Disease Control). Your electrologist will wash her hands before each session and use only sterile/disposable tools. Your skin surface will be disinfected prior to treatments to remove any pathogens, and the heated probe will kill any pathogens in the follicles as well. Skin damage is very rare and any irritation caused by the heated probe clears up after a few days.
How to Maximize the Effects of My Treatment
When you make the decision to undergo electrolysis, the following best practices are recommended to aid in the success of your treatments:
• Do not wax, tweeze, or remove the hair with chemical depilatories.
• Do not shave the area to be treated for two or three days before your session. The electrologist will need enough of the hair exposed so the treated hair can be tweezed as the root is being destroyed.
• Apply liberal amounts of numbing gel about half an hour before your session. Gel containing Lidocaine is highly recommended. The higher the percentage of numbing agent the better for a more comfortable experience during your session. Check with your pharmacist or doctor before using Lidocaine to ensure your optimal health & safety.
• After each session, avoid direct sun exposure for 24 hours and wipe the treated area down regularly with an antiseptic like Bactine®. If swelling occurs, cool the area with an ice pack as well.