Electrolysis for Hair Removal
Although laser treatments can be said to offer "permanent hair reduction," electrolysis has been proven to permanently remove hair, follicle by follicle. Electrolysis treatments are a form of electrical epilation where a needle is inserted into the hair follicle and literally applies a zap of electrical current to the area. When professionally performed, electrolysis results are comparable to those of laser hair removal, and may offer even more permanent results for people who are otherwise not a candidate for laser hair removal (i.e. people with extremely dark skin, or someone who has red, blonde or gray hair).
Electrolysis requires a great amount of skill, and even though electrolysis machines are sold for home use, we recommend you turn to a trained and licensed electrologist. Depending on the laser being utilized, laser hair removal typically doesn't work as efficiently for very dark skin or very light hair, and even though laser technology is making great strides to incorporate everyone, electrolysis hair removal can still be a great option. However, there is a catch: Electrolysis can be a tedious and rather uncomfortable process. With this in mind, electrolysis is generally not recommended for large areas like the legs, bikini, or back, for example. The most effective areas for electrolysis treatment are usually facial areas like the upper lip, chin, and cheeks.
There are three basic methods for electrolysis: galvanic, thermolysis, and blend. All three offer similar results and involve a thin metal probe being inserted directly into the skin to the hair follicle. Success often depends more on the skill of the electrologist than it does on the equipment or technique being used. Other factors that can affect your treatment include your hair type and your pain threshold. Modern technology has made electrolysis hair removal less painful, but it's still far from being a painless procedure.
Galvanic Electrolysis - Galvanic electrolysis is the oldest type for of this hair removal method and successful cases being recorded as far back as 1875. It's not the electrical shock that destroys the hair follicle but a chemical reaction. Salt and water around the probe are chemically altered to produce sodium hydroxide, also known as lye. The same lye found in detergent and drain cleaners. As the lye builds up, hair follicles are eaten away and destroyed.
Thermolysis Electrolysis - Thermolysis uses shortwave radio frequency, it's essentially a radio transmitter hooked up to your skin. Thermolysis causes the water molecules by your hair to rapidly vibrate, which produces heat. When enough heat is created, thermolysis damages the cells that cause hair growth.
Blend Electrolysis - True to its name, blend combines both galvanic and thermolysis in one treatment. If one type of electrolysis doesn't kill your unwanted hair the other will. Results show, however, that blend is only slightly more effective than either thermolysis or galvanic electrolysis.
Choose the Right Person for the Job
Picking the right electrologist to do the job is by far the most important factor in determining a safe and effective treatment. The removal of hair with electrolysis is an intricate procedure; the tiny needle needs to be precisely inserted in order for electrolysis to be effective. Unfortunately most states do not have any standardized licensing guidelines for electrolysis, so finding a reputable professional isn't as easy as you may have thought. The most reliable method in finding a safe electrologist is simply being referred to one by a trusted friend or family member.
Electrolysis Side Effects
At the bare minimum, if electrolysis is performed improperly you can expect partial or full hair regrowth. Poorly performed electrolysis can cause lasting skin damage and can also spread infections. Make sure your electrologist properly sterilizes his or her equipment. Most side effects of electrolysis are mild but can include redness, swelling, blisters, scabs, dryness, and ingrown hairs. Redness and swelling should dissipate in a few days. Scabs could be a sign of healing, but severe scabbing could lead to pigmentation changes and permanent scarring. Remember that electrolysis hair removal is essentially an invasive process designed to obliterate hair follicles. That's why it important that you're in good hands.