Everything you need to know about electrolysis
Published on November 05, 2021 By Gentle Touch | Last updated on April 19, 2022
In this opportunity, we will share everything you need to know about Electrolysis before you start your treatment. We will answer all your questions and tell you why did this treatment become so popular and one of the most in-demand permanent hair removal options.
How did it start?
Electrolysis was invented by Dr. Charles Michel in 1875. He used electrolysis to remove irritating ingrown eyelash hairs. With over a century of well-proven safety and effectiveness, today’s computerized electrolysis remains the only permanent hair removal procedure that is recognized by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and AMA (American Medical Association).
The three methods used in the electrolysis are Galvanic, Thermolysis, and Blend. All three methods involve inserting a small needle into the hair follicle.
A very fine flexible sterile probe or needle (about the same thickness as your hair) is inserted into the follicle, which is the tiny, natural opening out of which the hair grows. The skin is not punctured or harmed, as the probe is very, very thin. Once the probe is inserted properly down into the follicle, a burst of the specifically timed and measured current is discharged to destroy hair cells. The probe is then withdrawn and the hair is lifted out of the follicle with sterile forceps (tweezer).
Electrolysis does require a series of treatments over a period of time. The goal of electrolysis is to damage the follicle to the point that it will no longer be able to produce hair. This requires each hair to be treated multiple times using either heat, chemical reaction, or both.
We use only sterile disposable probes and tweezers for your protection. We use a dry heat sterilizer which provides the highest level of medical sterilization. Depending on the size of the hair, different probe sizes are used. In most instances, you should not feel the hair being pulled out during the procedure. The hair slides out easily if properly treated.
We adhere to the recommended national standards for sterilization procedures established by American Electrology Association in conjunction with the Center for Disease Control (CDC).
We use the Apilus technology – Apilus is advanced electrolysis equipment offering hair removal treatments that are more efficient, more comfortable and more rapid than any other epilation technology. Thanks to its powerful, computer-controlled system, Apilus gives the highest degree of precision and control. Apilus is also equipped with a unique “tolerance test”, which allows the unit to be adjusted and adapted to your level of sensitivity to the current. Apilus high-precision mechanism uses pulses as little as one-thousands of a second, which assures incomparable comfort.
3 Methods of Permanent Hair Removal
The galvanic method was the first method developed for removing superfluous hair. This method removes hair through chemical decomposition, whereby the use of direct current emitted into the follicle produces a substance referred to as lye. It is the lye, or sodium hydroxide, which is the source of follicle destruction in the galvanic method. The galvanic method is basically a chemical process. This method can take up to a minute or more per hair and is rarely used today.
The thermolysis method destroys the hair by coagulating the papilla through the use of heat produced by a high-frequency current. The high-frequency energy agitates the molecules making up the hair-growing cells. This agitation causes the cells to heat, ideally to the point of permanent tissue destruction. Takes only seconds per hair, and is ideally suited for thin, shallowly rooted hairs.
The blend method is the combination and simultaneous use of galvanic and thermolysis techniques. It alleviates the shortcomings of each of the individual techniques while bolstering their advantages. By doing so, blend electrolysis incorporates the high kill rate associated with the galvanic method along with the swiftness found in thermolysis – it reduces the normal two-minute duration of galvanic to about 10 seconds. This combination is especially useful in treating deep, coarse hair follicles. Additionally, the blend method is able to successfully treat curved and distorted follicles along with near-miss insertions due to its spreading action.
At Gentle Touch, we use all of the mentioned methods!
Does Electrolysis hurt?
You do not feel the insertion of the probe. The sensation of the current is a slight heat or feels like a little pinch. Every person has a different sensation for the treatment. Certain areas of the body are more sensitive to the treatment than others. Most of our clients experience minimal discomfort. If a client is treated near or during their period they may experience more sensitivity. A form of topical anesthetic can be used to minimize the discomfort. It is applied 30 minutes before the procedure and may be purchased in our office.
What areas can be treated?
All hair-bearing areas of the face and body, except inside the ears and nostrils. Popular treatment areas include the hairline, eyebrows, upper lip, cheeks, chin, neck, back, underarms, chest, breasts, arms, abdomen, bikini, thighs, legs, feet, and toes.
How long will it take?
Electrolysis requires a series of treatments. To see the improvement you MUST commit yourself to regular visits for a period of about six months up to two years, or even more, depending on the following factors:
- The amount of hair to be treated
- The quality of the hair
- The depth of the hair
- The hair cycle
- Moisture and texture
- Reaction to the treatments
- Frequency of treatment
The length of each appointment depends on the amount of hair you want to remove and whether you have had previous electrolysis treatments. Usually, treatments start off minimally with 15 minutes, but, depending on previous hair removal methods and the desired treatment area, may last up to one hour or more. Initially, the Electrologist will schedule a consultation where a thorough health history assessment will be conducted to fully understand any issues that may or may not exist. Then, after fully explaining Electrolysis, and tailoring a treatment plan according to your previous hair removal methods and the goals you have set for yourself, a treatment may actually take place at that point.
It must be stressed that commitment and consistency are key elements to the success of the recommended treatment plan and is the utmost requirement in my practice. If a client continually pushes back appointments, it would only be a waste of time to continue potentially ineffective treatments.
The word “permanent” should not be confused with “immediate”. For permanent removal of active hair follicles, a series of treatments is required over a period of time. It is important that the treatments are done on a regular basis so that the cells never have the chance to regain their strength. Weekly or bi-weekly sessions are the most effective, determined by area size and the number of hairs. For the most effective treatment, you should adhere to your recommended schedule. Clients will notice their hairs becoming finer, lighter in color, and taking longer to re-grow – visits becoming shorter in duration and spaced further apart.
What about regrowth?
Electrolysis does not cure the cause of superfluous hair. It permanently stops hair growth only in the pore or hair follicle treated. This sounds like a paradox, but not actually.
Hair growth, either natural or unnatural, is due to a hormone. This hormone becomes more active with age, or it could be very active at an early age due to heredity. Other causes that activate this hormone to grow superfluous hair are side effects of certain medications, pregnancy, or glandular disturbances.
Electrolysis cannot inactivate this hormone, or cure the cause of hair growth. It does permanently stop the growth of any existing hair, by destroying the papilla or root. When hairs seemingly reappear in an area already treated, they are not the same hairs. They are new hairs growing from any of the thousands of dormant hair follicles that are activated by the hormone. Electrolysis absolutely does not stimulate hair growth.
Eventually, all the hair follicles in a particular area are destroyed. This may take just a few treatments or many. It is not usual to be completed in one, two, or three treatments. A chin or neck problem may take many hours. Once an area is completed, it is normal that a person may have to receive one or two treatments per year as a general cleanup or check.
Many patients become discouraged in the beginning. This is due mostly to the lack of the knowledge just noted; or the person may have tampered with the hair beforehand, that is, by tweezing or waxing. These latter methods can distort hair follicles, making electrolysis more difficult but ultimately still successful. Cutting or shaving produces no harmful after-effects.
Electrolysis Post-Treatment Care
It is normal for the treated area to be red or slightly swollen. Both of these reactions will disappear within an hour, but sometimes can last a little longer. To avoid complications, follow these simple rules.
- Keep the area clean and dry. Avoid the use of ointments or creams, unless they are antibiotics.
- Avoid touching treated area – fingers spread germs.
- Cleanse treated area morning and night with mild soap and water, pat dry and do not rub while washing or drying skin.
- Use of tanning salons or direct sunlight should be avoided for 24-48 hours after the treatment.
- We suggest the purchase of medicated makeup in a shade complementing your skin tone to aid in healing. It can also be used as a cover-up for the problem areas or other blemishes.
- No deodorant for 48 hours after underarm treatment. Use sea breeze or witch-hazel instead.
Important: Occasionally, a tiny scab may appear a few days following treatment. This is normal – however, DO NOT forcibly remove this scab. It will heal and come off by itself.
For best results observe this routine for 1-2 days following the treatment. If you have questions about our services, do not hesitate to contact the Gentle Touch Team to get a Free Consultation. Please call (860) 216-6225 to schedule your appointment or email info@GentleTouchCT.com.
If you have more questions about Electrolysis don't forget to visit our Frequent Asked Questions page!
If you are interested in starting an Electrolysis Treatment call (860) 216-6225 to make your appointment or email info@GentleTouchCT.com. Initial Consultation is FREE!