Definition of Electrolysis
Today’s medical electrolysis devices destroy the growth center of the hair with chemical or heat energy. After a very fine probe is inserted into the hair follicle, the hair is removed with tweezers.
Most areas of the body can be treated with electrolysis, including the eyebrows, face, abdomen, thighs, breasts, and legs. There are generally no permanent side effects, but sometimes a temporary, slight reddening of the skin may occur.
Electrolysis is not a once-only treatment remedy.
One treatment will usually eliminate all visible hairs, but because hair growth is not synchronized, there are many hair follicles under the skin that contain hairs in the beginning growth stage or the dormant state.
Growth and Replacement Cycle
All hairs go through a growth and replacement cycle and, with successive treatments, the hairs will be treated as they emerge during the cycle. The hair on various parts of the body has different growth cycles.
The Growing Stage
The beginning stage of the cycle is the anagen or growing stage. This is the optimum time for a successful treatment because it is before the hair follicle reaches its maximum depth and the hair bulb is attached to and nourished by the papilla. Therefore, treatment of the hair in the early stage of its appearance is very important to destroy the papilla.
How Does Electrolysis Work?
- To explain, hair grows through a tube-like opening in the skin known as the hair follicle.
- At the base of the follicle is a bulb, which contains a gelatin-like substance, called the papilla.
- A tiny sterile wire filament is inserted into the follicle.
- In the use of shortwave or thermolysis, the tip of the wire filament transmits a small heat pattern down into the papilla.
- This thermal action cauterizes and disables the papilla without damaging the outer layer of the skin.
- With galvanic or blend modalities, a chemical breakdown occurs that destroys the papilla. With the papilla gone, the hair folicle loses its ability to regenerate.
How Many Electrolysis Treatments Will I Need?
There are many different factors that directly influence hair growth, so you will need to return for several electrolysis visits. The total number of sessions needed to remove hair permanently from a particular area will vary from person to person. A customized treatment schedule will be discussed at the time of your consultation. Typically, each treatment may last from 10 minutes to an hour.
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Electrologists are people who have special training to perform electrolysis. If you are considering electrolysis, it is important that you do your research before committing to sessions. The wrong decision can mean extra sessions and cost along with unnecessary discomfort and scarring. Know the professional’s qualifications. Many states require electrologists to be licensed or certified within the state to practice. If you live in one of those states, be sure the practitioner’s certificate is current and on display. For states that do not regulate electrolysis, look for electrologists who have certification from an accredited electrology school. Ask around. One of the best ways to find good services is to ask friends and family as well as your doctor for recommendations. 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 all of your questions are answered. Some things you may want to ask about include: how the procedure will feel; how many visits you will likely need; how much each visit costs; how long each session lasts; how long the practitioner has been in business; and the number of clients he or she has treated. Make sure the electrologist uses the right technique. The practitioner should use needle electrolysis, which is the only permanent form of hair removal. Some places may advertise electrolysis but use electronic tweezers or photo epilators instead. 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 needles? Ask to meet the person who will be performing the electrolysis. Does he or she strike you as professional? If you are not comfortable with somebody, look for someone else to do the procedure. Personal comfort is essential to know you have made the right choice.