Yara Zakharia, Esq.
For many Americans, the act of juggling jobs, busy lifestyles and family lives leaves them with limited personal grooming time on their hands. Traditional methods of hair removal such as waxing, shaving, tweezing, and plucking can be time-consuming and eventually costly in the long run. Not only do individuals regard this ritual as a daily hassle but also perceive certain areas of bodily hair as unsightly. Unwanted facial hair, in particular, is a nuisance due to the impossibility of masking it, as one could with bodily hair by keeping it hidden under clothing. Consequently, an increasing number of men and women find permanent hair removal to be a necessity, rather than a luxury.
Originating more than 125 years ago as a treatment method for ingrown hairs, electrolysis has survived the test of time and proven to be an extremely safe, convenient and efficacious procedure offering long-lasting results and the best track record. It has helped millions of people around the world achieve a sleek, smooth appearance and boosted their self-confidence by making them feel desirable and attractive.
Electrolysis is the sole method of permanent hair removal that has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration and other health associations. In contrast to other techniques of depilation and epilation, which only remove hair temporarily, electrolysis has been documented to remove facial and bodily hair permanently in more than 90% of patients undergoing the procedure.
Electrolysis Treatment Areas
Electrolysis can be used on multiple areas body hair removal, including the following:
- Bikini area
- Upper and lower lips
Electrolysis on surface of nose, pubic hair removal, and hair removal from small bodily areas and the face constitute some of the technique's optimal uses. Plastic surgeons and electrologists accommodate patients with sensitive skin by applying lidocaine or another numbing cream or topical anesthesia prior to hair removal.
In electrolysis, an aesthetician introduces an electric current into a fine metal probe or needle that is inserted into hair follicles. The electricity zaps each hair follicle for a period of one minute, destroying the root and inhibiting further hair growth. Since this technique necessitates treatment of each hair follicle separately, it works best for small areas such as the chin, lip, and brows.
Types of Treatment
Trained professionals utilize one of three types of electric treatments:
- Galvanic treatment which involves the use of a mild current that is electrical and chemical in nature to deaden surrounding cells
- Thermolysis treatment which consists of introducing mild heat into an electrical current to destroy hair follicles
- Blend treatment which combines both galvanic and thermolysis for a dual treatment
Electrologists determine which treatment is most appropriate for the patient. Some have a preference for a particular method, while others simply select the option that is best tailored to their client's hair removal needs.
Electrolysis is slightly more painful than laser hair removal, with patients generally experiencing sensations such as pricking and stinging. This hair removal method is applicable to all types of hair and skin due to the fact that it is not the pigment in the hair but the hair follicle that is targeted and destroyed. Unlike laser hair treatment, electrolysis is equally effective on both light and dark hair. Therefore, individuals who are not eligible for laser hair removal qualify for electrolysis. For instance, men and women with red, blond, or gray hair can avail themselves of electrolysis to remove unwanted hair.
Electrolysis offers guaranteed results because it destroys each follicle that is treated. Patients will not witness a re-growth of hair from the sites where follicles were deadened. The duration of the treatment hinges upon the size of the area targeted and typically lasts anywhere from fifteen minutes to one hour. The most common side effects are skin inflammation and redness, which disappear in a few hours or days. To soothe the swelling or irritation, electrologists or physicians provide a cream or ointment to their patients.
Because hair growth proceeds through phases and a single session cannot tackle each hair follicle, electrolysis patients need to undergo multiple treatments (15-30) to achieve optimal results. Re-grown hair is generally thinner and lighter in color.
The number of required treatments and their duration varies according to the quality and quantity of hair to be removed. The deeper the hair follicles and the thicker the hair, the greater the number of sessions needed for a complete annihilation of the follicle cells. A small area such as hairs on the upper lip may be thoroughly tackled in 3-4 sessions.
Cost of Electrolysis
Typically, the hourly cost of treatment is anywhere from $25 to $150. Insurance providers generally do not provide coverage for cosmetic procedures. Nevertheless, the permanent nature of hair removal via electrolysis makes the method cost-effective. Consumers who undergo electrolysis reap financial savings on the long term since they no longer need to spend money on waxing, epilators, and dilapitory creams over the course of years or even decades.
Finding a Qualified Specialist
A vast majority of states regulate professionals performing electronic hair removal. Consumers should locate a skilled, experienced and licensed electrologist in their area to perform the procedure. Many cosmeticians and physicians offer a free consultation to prospective clients informing them of what to expect as well as quotes on services requested.
[page updated December 2008]