There’s no doubt about it: electrolysis has been, time after time, the best investment when it comes to removing unwanted body hair and finally getting the smooth, hairless skin you’ve been dreaming of. Forever.
It can remove hair from almost any part of your body. It can put a stop to the embarrassment you may feel as a result of unwanted hair. It can free you from hours devoted to shaving, plucking or waxing, only for the hair to grow back.
However, very few of us understand what electrolysis is, exactly, and how it works. So, before you commit to a course of electrolysis treatments, it’s worth knowing these three things.
Anyone looking into any method of hair removal should know the basics.
Unlike any other hair removal method, electrolysis can offer permanent results. This is because it uses a probe to destroy the tiny cells and tissue beneath the skin that are responsible for hair growth.
In other methods, like waxing and shaving, the whole hair or the hair above the skin is removed. However, the hair follicle is not prevented from growing a new hair in its place so regrowth will inevitably happen.
Although you’ll see very positive effects immediately after the first treatment, it is impossible to achieve full results after just one treatment. This is because the lifecycle of body hair prevents it from being possible. More on this below.
Unlike most other hair removal methods, electrolysis should also be performed by a trained professional. It requires specialist knowledge and sterilized, state-of-the-art equipment in a specialist electrolysis clinic.
A degree of pain is associated with nearly all hair removal methods, and electrolysis is no exception. It’s hard to say how you may find it as we all have different pain thresholds, but most people describe it as uncomfortable rather than painful. There are also steps you can take to help electrolysis be less painful. Again, more on that below.
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Still interested? Then you might want to know how electrolysis works.
There are actually three types of electrolysis but they all have plenty in common. For a start, each involves inserting a tiny probe into hair follicles, which are the tiny holes in the skin from which hair grows out.
All three types also involve destroying the cells present in this hair follicle that are responsible for growing new hairs. This is why electrolysis is a permanent method of hair removal, providing each and every follicle has been treated.
This was the first type of electrolysis ever developed. With this method, an electric current is passed from the probe and into the hair follicle. This causes a chemical reaction that separates salt and water molecules. A new substance called lye is created within the follicle. This is a corrosive substance and it destroys the cells that grow new hairs.
In this form of electrolysis, high-frequency vibrating currents are passed down the probe. This causes heat that destroys the necessary parts of the hair follicle. Moisture in the surrounding tissues acts as the conductor.
This takes both the galvanic current method and thermolysis and combines them. The hair follicle experiences both heat and lye. Because of this, it can be considered particularly effective.
There are three stages that every hair will go through: anagen, catagen, and telogen. Understanding this lifecycle will help clarify why you will need more than one treatment for permanent hair removal.
- The Anagen Phase
First, new hair forms at the very bottom of the hair follicle, deep below the skin. As this hair begins to grow outwards towards the surface of the skin, it pushes out the previous hair from the follicle. This older hair is just ending its lifecycle.
The anagen phase is the active growing stage. During this phase, hair stays connected to the blood vessels that nourish it.
Scalp hair has a much longer anagen phase than body hair, which is why it can grow much longer. It also explains why a nutritious diet is so important for healthy, shiny hair; your hair is receiving nutrients from your diet throughout the anagen phase.
This is a short phase. The hair detaches from the blood vessels and begins an upward movement. To aid this process, the sebaceous gland provides lubrication, and the hair follicle shrinks to push the hair upwards.
This is the final phase where the fully grown hair rests before it finally falls out. Beneath the skin’s surface, the hair follicle below is beginning to grow new hair already. This new hair is in the early anagen phase and will push out the fully grown hair in the telogen phase.
The telogen phase lasts longer in body hair than scalp hair.
Electrolysis works best on hair in the anagen phase. This provides the best conditions for destroying the hair follicle. However, at any given time, there will also be hairs in the catagen and telogen phases, meaning these hair follicles will not be destroyed during the first treatment.
There needs to be a period of waiting for these hair follicles to begin the hair lifecycle again before electrolysis can be effective on them.
Every single body hair goes through the three stages. However, there is no exact calculation to know how long it will take each hair to complete its lifecycle. It will vary from person to person, and from hair to hair. Genetics play a big part in determining how long the hair lifecycle will take.
All this means that permanent hair removal through electrolysis can never be completed in one treatment, no matter how skilled and experienced the technician is. You will need repeat treatments until each hair has been caught in the anagen phase.
If you’re interested in permanently removing unwanted body hair using electrolysis, the first step is to arrange a consultation and talk to a professional electrolysis technician in a reputable electrolysis center. They will be able to explain their treatments in full and give advice specific to you and the area you would like treated.
To make electrolysis as comfortable and as successful as possible, it’s really important to keep skin hydrated. You can do this by drinking lots of water and applying moisturizer. This will help pass the electrolysis currents better and may also help to avoid excessive discomfort.