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Electrolysis Questions & Answers

How long has electrolysis been around?

The first research involving electrolysis for permanent hair removal began in 1869 in St. Louis, Missouri. It was conducted by an ophthalmologist, Dr. Charles Michel, who was looking for a safe, effective way to remove ingrown eyelashes which often led to blindness. After publishing a medical paper on his method in 1875, the technique was accepted by the medical community and adapted for treatment on other parts of the body. Though the technique and equipment have greatly improved, the same basic method is still in use today.

How does electrolysis work?

A trained electrologist inserts a tiny metal probe into each hair follicle in the treatment area. A measured amount of electrical current is then delivered to the probe using a sophisticated electronic device called an epilator. Depending on the technique chosen by the electrologist, the electric current destroys the hair root by heat, physico-chemical action, or a combination of both.

Are there different methods of electrolysis?

Yes, there are three recognized methods:

Galvanic - Direct electrical current is applied to stimulate a physico-chemical action that destroys the source of hair growth.

Thermolysis - High-frequency electrical current is used to create heat that destroys the source of hair growth.

Blend - A combination of the two methods above is used at the same time.

All three methods are safe and effective. Your electrologist will know which is best for you.

Is electrolysis permanent?

In over a century of use, electrolysis has proven to be permanent and effective. In fact, electrolysis is the only method of permanent hair removal recognized by the US Federal Drug Administration (FDA), and its permanency is further supported by hundreds of scientific articles published in medical literature. Of course, there are also millions of satisfied customers who can attest to the permanency and benefits of electrolysis.

Are there other methods of hair removal as effective as electrolysis?

No. Electrolysis is the only method of safe, effective, and permanent hair removal for all hair colors and all types of skin recognized by the US Federal Drug Administration (FDA) and American Medical Association (AMA)

Do home methods of electrolysis work?

Not very well. To perform electrolysis safely and effectively, significant training and specialized equipment, lighting, and magnification are required. Without these, home methods in most cases will be ineffective at best, and potentially even dangerous.

What about laser hair removal?

Lasers have been used for hair removal since the mid-1990's. They are safe in the hands of trained technicians but have several shortcomings:

  1. Lasers are not very effective on grey, blonde, or red hair.

  2. Lasers are less effective for individuals with darker or tanned skin.

  3. Lasers are awkward and impractical to use when sculpting/shaping eyebrows and other critical areas.

  4. Lasers work well only when the hair is in the anagen (growing) phase. On some parts of the body, less than 50% of the hairs are in the growing phase. 

Is electrolysis safe?

Electrolysis has been proven safe over a period of nearly 150 years. Modern, well-trained electrologists use the most up-to-date, effective methods of sterilization, disinfection and antisepsis, while following guidelines set up by a major electrolysis organization in conjunction with the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Don't hesitate to ask your electrologist about the stringent methods he or she uses to ensure your safety. 

Is electrolysis painful?

During most treatments, you will feel a sensation described variously as "tingling", "slight heat", or "stinging". This can vary according to your individual tolerance, the method being used, machine settings, and other factors. Your electrologist can make adjustments to maximize your comfort. Do not hesitate to let him or her know what you are feeling.

Is electrolysis expensive?

Electrolysis requires specialized training and considerable physical effort during each session by a skilled electrologist, not to mention sophisticated equipment, leased clinic space, and more. When all this is taken into account, most clients consider the fees charged to be very reasonable-- especially when they add up the costs of endless years of temporary hair removal products and services. Remember, electrolysis is an investment in yourself and can help provide a lifetime of looking and feeling your best.

Are there any side effects caused by electrolysis?

For well over a century, electrolysis has proven safe and effective. Like many minor procedures in medicine, electrolysis does include a short healing phase. During this time, there may be some redness or swelling, and occasionally there may be some pinpoint scabbing. Your electrologist will advise you of what you can expect in your case.

What areas of the body can be treated?

Electrolysis can remove hair from almost any part of the body. Some common areas treated include: the hairline, eyebrows, top of the nose, cheeks, sideburn areas, upper and lower lip, chin, throat, neck, shoulders, back, chest/breasts, abdomen, arms, legs, bikini area, hands, feet, toes, and fingers. Electrolysis should not be performed inside a client's ear canals or inside their nose.

Is it safe for a pregnant woman to receive electrolysis?

It is safe for pregnant women to be treated, though it is usually not recommended after the 6-month pregnancy mark due to increased tenderness.

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