What is Electrolysis?

What is Electrolysis?

Electrolysis, is an FDA approved method for permanent hair removal. This safe and painless method of removing stubborn and embarrassing hair has grown significantly in the past decade.

The process is quite simple and can be performed with little preliminary training. Electrolysis is performed by sliding a solid, thin metal (usually surgical-grade stainless steel) probe into each unwanted hair follicle. A small jolt of electricity is given to each follicle through the metal probe, which disrupts the follicle’s natural ability to regenerate hair growth.

There are 3 major methods in which electrolysis can be performed: Thermolysis, Galvanic and Blend.

Electrolysis Method: Thermolysis

Also known as “diathermy” or “short wave”, this hair removal method was first introduced in the early 1920′s. Basically, a small epilator – otherwise known as electric tweezers – works as a simple radio transmission device. The epilator emits a small amount of wattage at a low frequency. When the probe is inserted into the hair follicle, the hair cells are heated to around 120 degrees Fahrenheit, which causes a form of coagulation within the cells. This electrocoagulation is what ultimately stops the hair growth.

Electrolysis Method: Galvanic

Named after Italian physicist Luigi Alysisio Galvani (a pioneer in the field of bioelectricity), this method of electrolysis was initially used for removal of ingrown eyelashes. The process is similar to Thermolysis, however, instead of delivering an electrical surge with the epilator, a grounded power supply is used to pump up to 3 milliamperes through the hair follicle. In place of electrocoagulation, the Galvanic method of electrolysis forms sodium hydroxide at the end of the metal probe, to chemically “kill” the hair cells.

Electrolysis Method: Blend

Utilizing both the Thermolysis and Galvanic electrolysis methods, this method is the most modern (introduced in 1948) and widely practiced hair removal process. This hybrid electrolysis combines the best of both worlds.

The Electrolysis Process

The rise in popularity of hair removal is partly due to the relative ease and effectiveness of the electrolysis process. In most cases the metal probe (usually the same size as the follicle, sometimes smaller) is gently slid in the undesired hair follicle. Power to the electrolysis probe is started at the lowest possible setting and gradually increased until the hair easily slides out. Typically, the process takes anywhere between 5 to 10 sessions to permanently remove the hair.

Differences Between Electrolysis and Laser Hair Removal

The most notable difference between these three similar practices is electrolysis is the only method in which the United States Food and Drug Administration deems as “Permanent Hair Removal”.

Also, unlike laser epilation, electrolysis is proven to effective in removing all colors of hair follicles. Laser epilation can permanently remove dark and/or coarse hairs, however, electrolysis is the only solution for permanent removal of ultra-fine and light-colored hair.