Electrolysis is the only FDA approved method of permanent hair removal. Electrolysis treatments use a tiny needle with an electric current to essentially kill the hair follicle. There are two primary hair removal methods with electrolysis: galvanic and thermolytic. Galvanic hair removal chemically destroys the hair follicle while thermolytic uses heat. A third method blends both galvanic and thermolytic electrolysis.
- avg. recovery
About the Procedure
The only permanent form of hair removal is electrolysis. While other methods of hair removal such as laser hair removal or IPL treatments may be known for making unwanted hair disappear, these treatments only slow down the growth of hair. Some individuals may turn to treatments such as waxing or threading for their cost effectiveness, however the monetary savings will never amount to permanent hair removal. There are three different forms of electrolysis, the first being galvanic. Galvanic hair removal uses a chemical reaction to destroy hair. The fine probe used to slide into the hair follicle is as thin as a piece of hair. The galvanic method utilizes a direct current through the probe to create a reaction to help the hair break away from other components, never to join again. It is similar to an electrical current in a chemistry experiment that separates salt water into its basic components. As such, the galvanic method uses the saline base of hair follicles to help sodium hydroxide, hydrogen gas, and chlorine gas form, with the sodium hydroxide assisting in the destruction of the hair follicle. The galvanic process can be slow and time-consuming, taking approximately two to three minutes to get rid of one hair follicle. It's for this reason that the method isn't used as often and works best on thick and coarse hair, like body or male facial hair. The second method of electrolysis is thermolysis. Like the name implies, the thermolysis method works to deliver heat energy to the hair follicle to get rid of it. Is electrolysis technically defined as thermolysis? No, because thermolysis doesn't use two electrodes, an external circuit, or electrolytic cell to send electric currents. Nevertheless, thermolysis is electrolysis in the vernacular of the cosmetic procedure all the same, when people discuss this second method of performing electrolysis. Instead, thermolysis creates heat at the base of the hair follicle when the needle sends high-frequency vibrations to the hair follicle and produces heat that takes only seconds to remove each hair. Galvanic electrolysis hair removal is more effective than thermolysis, but the thermolysis method is faster, with the electrocoagulation of thermolysis working best on fine hair destruction. Third method of electroylsis combines the previous two techniques into what is known as the "blend" method. The blend method takes the best of both worlds and uses the galvanic electrolysis and thermolysis methods blended together as one to remove hair. Currents create sodium hydroxide while vibrations cause heat energy to be disbursed, taking only seven seconds or so to destroy each hair. Also known as the "dual-action method," the blend method is quicker than the galvanic process, and more effective than thermolysis alone.
The goal of electrolysis is to permanently remove unwanted hair on the face and body.
What to Expect
Electrolysis is the only FDA approved method of permanent hair removal. Here is a quick guide for what to expect before, during, and after electrolysis.
- Stop hair removal treatments 2-3 weeks prior
- Shave 5-7 days before
During Treatment: Galvanic
A fine probe is inserted into individual hair follicles and uses an electric current to help the hair break away from other components, never to join again.
After electrolysis it is advised to sleep in an inclined position to minimize swelling. It is common to experience redness or swelling as well as minor scabbing which can develop 24-48 hours after the procedure which may take anywhere from 7-14 days to heal.
The ideal candidate for electrolysis has unwanted hair on the face and body and desires a permanent solution for hair removal.
Not Recommended For
Electrolysis is not recommended for patients with active skin infections, keloid scarring, hemophilia, taking anticoagulant medication, or have received treatments such as dermabrasion or facial plastic surgery in the previous 6 months.
Side from electrolysis may include tenderness, redness and some swelling. Severe side effects may include permanent scarring and pitting.