Frequently Asked Questions
About Permanent Hair Removal
What is electrolysis?
Electrology is the science of permanent hair removal. Using state-of-the-art micro-processor technology, a tiny amount of energy is gently applied to the base of the hair follicle. This process destroys the hair growth tissue, permanently eliminating the regenerative ability of the follicle. The term electrolysis is used to describe all methods of permanent hair removal. Electrolysis was the first method used to remove hair permanently in 1875. An electrologist inserts a very fine probe into the natural opening of the follicle alongside the hair shaft (remember how tiny hairs are). A minute amount of energy is then applied to destroy the hair growth cells.
Medical electrolysis devices destroy the hair growth cells with chemical or heat energy. All modalities equally destroy hair growth cells that causes hair growth. The modality used is the preference of the professional electrologist. Three modalities fall under the heading of electrolysis:
Galvanic or electrolysis is a chemical process. The energy produces a chemical reaction in the hair follicle eliminating the hair growth cells. This method is widely used in multiple needle galvanic electrolysis, using up to 16 probes simultaneously.
Thermolysis or short-wave produces heat. When this modality is used it heats and destroys the hair growth cells in the follicle. This modality can be applied in two ways: (1) flash method of thermolysis uses high intensity energy for less time in the follicle (2) the energy is used at lower intensity over a longer time.
The Blend method combines the galvanic and thermolysis methods. Thermolysis heats up the chemical reaction in the follicle destroying hair growth cells.
Why should I choose electrolysis over other hair removal methods?
Electrolysis is the only true permanent hair removal method recognized by the FDA.
Why should I choose electrolysis over other temporary methods like laser and waxing?
Unlike other hair removal options, professionally performed electrolysis eliminates unwanted hair, permanently, with unsurpassed results. Moreover, it does so for the largest variety of skin and hair types. Laser promoters compare laser to electrolysis, although laser hair removal is considered a temporary method. It has not been evaluated for long-term safety of the patient’s skin and health.
Waxing, threading and tweezing are all similar. However, ingrown hairs and discoloration may result. Additionally, they may cause an increase in hair growth activity. Depilatories and Shaving can cause irritation to the skin while the hair regrows quickly. These methods can require a lifetime of maintenance. Many appear inexpensive but cost more due to long term use and can be inconvenient.
Electrolysis works on most areas of the body to give you smooth and healthy-looking skin. No other solution claims such universal acceptability and success.
Do electrologists follow appropriate infection control procedures?
The American Electrology Association has documented Standards for Infection Control according to the most recent recommendations from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and the Association for Practitioners in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC).
How many treatments are required?
The number of treatments necessary varies with each client. Treatment sessions can range from fifteen minutes to more than an hour depending on the area being treated. Factors such as hair growth cycles, patterns of hair density, the structure of hair presented, previous use of temporary hair removal methods, heredity, hormone function, certain medications and stress all influence the treatment program for each individual. It is important to follow the electrologist's recommended treatment plan to achieve optimum results.
How much will treatments cost?
Electrolysis costs depend on many factors including: how much hair needs to be removed, the size of area being treated, and where your services are performed. Generally, a large city will have higher rates than a small town. For best results, follow your electrologist's recommendations in scheduling appointments. For areas that have been waxed or tweezed, more treatments will be required than for areas that have been clipped or shaved.
Are all hairs eliminated in one treatment or is regrowth to be expected?
Hair growth can range from fine vellus hair to dark, coarse hair on the face and body. Deep, coarse hairs cannot always be eliminated with a single treatment. Breaking down the hair growth cells may require multiple treatments. Based on a personal and confidential consultation, your electrologist will design a treatment plan that addresses your specific hair removal needs.
What is the normal growth cycle of a hair?
Hairs have differing growth cycles, many of which are not visible on the surface of the skin at the same time. The follicle produces hair from the blood supply, and discards it eventually through shedding. This process of growth, rest and replacement are known as the hair growth cycle. The sequence of events is repeated constantly until a hair ceases to be formed.
What does electrolysis feel like?
Electrolysis treatments sting, but individual tolerances vary greatly. Even the most sensitive person should be able to tolerate the treatments. The sting from treatment is quick, and then it's over. If you find the treatments intolerable, then you might consult with another electrologist.
Does electrolysis have any side effects on the skin?
Immediately following treatment, there may be slight redness which varies with each individual. The latest technology has made electrolysis more comfortable and effective than ever. Your electrologist will provide you with post treatment instructions and the personal attention you need. You are assured of the best care from a skilled professional electrologist.
Can unwanted hair be removed from anywhere on the body?
Electrolysis works on all skin and hair types It can be applied to most facial and body parts, including: eyebrows, chin, upper & lower lip, jaw line & sides of the face, breast & underarms, abdomen, bikini line, legs and back. Based on a personal and confidential consultation, your electrologist will design a treatment plan that addresses your specific hair removal needs.
Can women begin or have electrolysis treatments during pregnancy?
Unwanted hair can be caused by hormonal changes brought on by pregnancy. Electrolysis can be performed on any normal skin, including pregnant women. We suggest you seek the advice of your physician before beginning treatment.
Can hairs be removed from moles?
Electrolysis can be performed in most moles where state licensing regulations allow it. Your electrologist may require written approval from your physician.
How should I choose an electrologist?
The American Electrology Association has established specific standards for the profession including a national board certification credential, the Certified Professional Electrologist (CPE). This designation indicates the electrologist has successfully passed comprehensive national testing. Once awarded the CPE credential, the electrologist must fulfill continuing education requirements or be retested in order to maintain the prestigious CPE status. Membership in the American Electrology Association indicates the electrologist is keeping current with their field.
Many people find an electrologist through their local Yellow Pages and the internet which contain valuable information regarding professional credentials. Sometimes, family and friends can make excellent recommendations. Also, one can ask a physician who is familiar with electrolysis for a referral.
My grandmother used to get electrolysis treatments. Has the technology changed much?
Permanent hair removal using electrolysis has come a very long way since its beginning in 1875. Today's microprocessor technology enables the electrologist to work with more speed and comfort for the client. Epilators are incredibly faster, using energy pulses of only thousandths of a second compared with the longer energy applications of the past. Intensity settings can now be adjusted to suit different areas, hair types, and individuals. The instruments and equipment used in a modern electrologist's office are just part of the changes that have occurred in the electrolysis industry.
How does electrolysis work these days?
All three original modalities used in electrolysis treatments have evolved. The galvanic method still causes chemical decomposition of the hair follicle cells. Thermolysis still destroys the hair growing cells with heat. The blend method still combines the galvanic and thermolysis methods to disable the hair follicle.
I heard electrolysis was painful. Is that true?
Electrolysis treatments are all about timing and intensity. Electrologists can choose between three different methods of treatment, each with its own variation of comfort, but with the same effectiveness and permanency. The electrologist will consider your specific needs and design a treatment plan specifically for you. Another factor of comfort is the type of probe used. There are now a variety of probes to choose from: insulated, non-insulated, one-piece, two-piece, stainless steel, and gold-plated. The electrologist will determine the best option for your type of hair growth and skin, providing you with comfortable, quality, professional treatments.