Electrolysis is a way of removing individual hairs from the face or body. Today's medical electrolysis devices destroy the growth center of the hair with chemical or heat energy. A very fine probe is inserted into the hair follicle at the surface of the skin. The hair is then removed harmlessly with forceps.
What causes unwanted hair growth?
Hair growth is the result of heredity and hormonal levels. Also, some drugs, temporary methods of hair removal, and some illnesses can stimulate hair growth. Usually, hair growth is desirable. But when the hair is the wrong part of your body—a woman's upper lip or chin, the hands or arms—you may be considering electrolysis.
How many treatments will I need?
Since many factors influence hair growth, you will need to return for several visits. The total number of sessions needed to remove hair permanently from a particular area will vary from person to person. Most clients return once a week or every other week, as necessary. But the unwanted hair will be gone forever once the series of treatments have been completed. Each treatment lasts between 15 minutes and one hour.
Myths about electrolysis
Electrolysis is painful. The truth is, electrolysis usually does not cause much discomfort. Modern electrolysis methods have reduced the discomfort to a mere tingling. A topical anesthetic may be used in some cases.
The electric tweezer method is permanent. The truth is, the Food and Drug Administration and the American Medical Association recognize only electrolysis as a permanent method of removing hair. In fact, some states prohibit those who use the electric tweezer—which can also be purchased for consumer use—from claiming it provides permanent hair removal.
Temporary methods of hair removal are better. The truth is, that while chemical depilatories (liquids or creams) are often used to remove body hair, these products contain irritating chemicals, and can be time-consuming and messy. Likewise, bleaches contain harsh chemicals and do little to disguise dark hair. They may also discolor the skin. Waxing is another temporary method of hair removal and is usually done in salons. A hot wax is applied to the skin and removed once it has dried over the hair. The hair is stripped off when the wax is removed. Waxing can be painful and costly. Home waxing kits are available, but they can be difficult to use and messy. There are electrical electrolysis devices available for home use that try to copy the devices used by professionals. These devices are often unsafe for use by anyone who is not trained in electrolysis.
Facts about electrolysis
Electrolysis is a time-tested method that was invented more than 100 years ago to remove irritating, in-grown eyelash hairs. Most areas of the body can be treated with electrolysis, including the eyebrows, face, thighs, abdomen, breasts, and legs.
There are no permanent side effects. Sometimes, a slight reddening of the skin occurs during or immediately after treatment, but this will only last for a short time. Electrolysis is very safe and, unlike depilatories or bleaches, no harsh chemicals are used.
How do I choose an electrologist?
Electrologists are people who have undergone training to professionally administer the electrolysis procedure. If you are considering undergoing electrolysis, it is very important that you do your research before committing to an appointment. The wrong decision can mean extra sessions and cost and unnecessary discomfort. By following the guidelines listed below, you can take comfort in knowing that you will be making an educated and informed decision when choosing an electrologist.
Know their qualifications. Many states require that electrologists be licensed or certified within the state in order to practice electrolysis. If you live in those states (*see the list below), be sure the practitioner's certificate is current and fully on display. For states that do not regulate electrolysis, look for electrologists who have a certification from an accredited electrology school.
Ask around. One of the best ways to find any good service is to ask friends and family for recommendation. If you know anybody who has undergone electrolysis, ask for his or her input.
Get a consultation. Many places will give you a free consultation. During the consultation, be sure that any and all of your questions about the procedure are answered. Some of the questions you can ask include: how the procedure will feel; an estimate on the number of visits you will likely need; the cost of each visit (this will vary from place to place, and it is best to call around); the length of each session; how long they have been in business; and the number of clients they have treated.
Make sure they use the right technique. Make sure the practitioner uses needle electrolysis, which is the only permanent form of hair removal. Some places may advertise electrolysis, but in reality they use electronic tweezers or photoepilators. These are not permanent hair removal procedures.
Use common sense. When you go to your consultation, look around. Does the place look clean? Do the workers look clean? Do they use disposable gloves or probes? Ask to meet to person who will be performing the electrolysis for you. Does he or she strike you as professional? If you are not personally comfortable with somebody, do not go to him or her. Personal comfort is essential to knowing you have made the right decision in choosing an electrologist.