When it comes to removing unwanted hair, there are several options, including shaving, epilating, waxing, tweezing, laser hair removal, and electrolysis. However, only electrolysis is the permanent hair removal method recognized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Epilation with electrology or electrolysis involves the use of electricity or heat energy to damage hair follicles locally and to prevent them from generating hair growth. The modality, which was first used back in 1875, sees the insertion of a very fine needle into the hair follicle’s opening. Hair growth cells are then subjected to a small amount of electric current to destroy them.
There are three types of electrolysis modalities used by electrologists to remove unwanted hair permanently.
- The first is known as the galvanic process, wherein the electric current triggers a chemical reaction in the hair follicle and destroys hair growth cells.
- The thermolysis or short-wave modality involves either the use of a high-intensity current for a shorter period of time in the follicle or a lower-intensity current for a longer period of time.
- The third permanent hair removal method is a combination of the galvanic and thermolysis currents, in which the chemical reaction in the hair follicle is heated through thermolysis.
There are two things people worry about most when it comes to electrolysis treatment:
- whether the procedure is painful and
- if there are any side effects.
According to the American Electrology Association, a quick stinging sensation is felt by those who undergo treatment, which can be tolerated even by sensitive individuals. In some people, a slight reddening of the skin immediately after treatment is said to be the only side effect, and it is one that quickly disappears.
Treatment costs and the number of treatments required to remove hair permanently can vary according to several factors, including the quantity of hair to be removed, the size of the area to be treated, and the quality and structure of hair. Women usually have electrolysis done to remove hair from the upper lip, eyebrows, underarms, legs, breasts and bikini area while for men, the most popular areas for electrolysis include the back, eyebrows, beard line, and groin.
Those who are considering electrolysis for permanent hair removal are advised to employ the services of professional and qualified electrologists. These individuals follow their profession’s standards for infection control and are licensed or certified to provide the service. Buying electrolysis devices designed for home use (from brands like: Vector, Babyliss, Clean Easy, One Touch Ultra, Biotechnique Avance, Verseo, Aavex) is not recommended: they may be unsafe if they are used by someone not trained in electrolysis.