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The Un-Hairy Truth About Electrolysis

The only method of hair removal that is truly permanent, is also truly painful and expensive. Is this time-consuming procedure worth the hurt to your skin and wallet?

Electrology is the practice of removing unwanted hair through electricity. A thin, metal probe is inserted into the hair follicle which carries a charge to the areas that generate hair.

Electrolysis is subcategorized into three separate procedures. The first of which being the Galvanic Method. This epilator made its debut in medical literature in 1875, where it was reported to remove ingrown eyelashes from patients suffering from trichiasis. This specific method makes use of electric current and Sodium Hydroxide (lye) in the follicle to create a chemical reaction, killing the hair matrix cells.

Thermolysis or Short Wave electrolysis was developed in the 1920’s, and is essentially a radio transmitter. Radio frequency of 13.56MHz emanates from the probe to the cells. The resulting vibrations heat the molecules to 48°C (118°F), causing electrocoagulation. The coagulated proteins in the tissue cause it to die.

The last method is the Blended. It is a combination of both the Galvanic and the Thermolysis and was first used in 1948.

No matter the method you chose, electrolysis is undeniably effective. It is the only permanent hair removal procedure ever documented and has over 130 years of medical studies to back it up.

Like most minimally invasive procedures, a consultation is required before treatments can begin. Not only does the practitioner need to assess the patient, but it is also an opportunity for the patient to find out if this is the right method for them, and if this is the right person to do it. The electrologist will evaluate health problems, medications taken, and moisture content/sensitivity of skin. They will also thoroughly inspect the desired hair removal site to determine the extent of unwanted hair and the stage of hair growth. If you decide this method is for you, you will be placed on a specific treatment plan to fit your individual needs.

There are also at-home electrology kits available in stores and online. Most doctors are wary of these devices, claiming the voltage they produce is so small, they can’t possibly have any effect. Plus – who wants to insert a needle-like probe into their flesh without proper knowledge of the procedure. Also, some areas of the body are not easy to reach or see. This isn’t a procedure you can easily do without an extra pair of eyes or hands.

If other popular techniques are too temporary for you, this may be the hair removal method you crave. Just keep in mind it is a time consuming and often painful process, with potential side effects including swelling, redness and a small chance of re-growth. Be prepared to spend $25-$150 per hour for multiple treatments. The average number of treatments for a small area, such as the upper lip, is 20-45. For a large area such as the full back, 100-225 one-hour treatments are needed.

In this time of recession, the pink disposable razor is fast becoming the preferred method. Although if money isn’t an issue, electrolysis will keep you from being a slave to the shave. Permanently.

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