Electrolysis: permanent hair removal

For those individuals who are tired of plucking out hairs from odd parts of the body, electrolysis may be just the right treatment. In general, electrolysis is most useful for removal of small amounts pockets of hair that may be located on the chin, axilla (arm pit), bikini line, groin, nipples or upper lip. Because the treatment is very time consuming and painful, it may not be the best therapy for hair removal from the arms, legs or chest. Numerous sessions are required and the cost can be prohibitive.

The technique of using electrolysis to remove hair permanently has been around for at least the past 20 years. The procedure involves insertion of a very fine needle into a hair follicle and stimulating it with an electrical pulse. The electrical pulse destroys the hair growing ability of the follicle. With electrolysis, hair can be removed from practically anywhere on the body, except inside the nose or ears.

How is hair removed with electrolysis?

Hair removal by electrolysis is done in several ways: galvanic or thermolytic method.

The galvanic method of hair removal has been used for a long time and is the simplest to use. The method involves placing a needle in the hair follicle and transmits a DC current into it. The resulting electrical reaction destroys the hair and its root, resulting in permanent hair removal. For those individuals who have medical implants such as pacemakers or have metallic implants (IUDs), the galvanic technique is not recommended.

Thermolysis is essentially the same, except that an AC current is transmitted down the hair follicle. Most newer versions of electrolysis machines combine (blend) these two techniques into one and offer a quick, effective and safer way to destroy the hair follicle.

What does the procedure involve?

Electrolysis is generally performed in a spa or a clinic. During the actual procedure, the individual is asked to be in a comfortable position. The majority of individuals who undergo the procedure complain of pain during the procedure and the time it takes to perform the procedure. The pain is variable and dependent on which part of the body is treated. To counter the pain, the technician may apply a local anesthetic ointment 20 minutes before the procedure.

Are there any side effects of electrolysis?

While electrolysis is a safe technique when practiced properly, problems can arise from improper electrolysis procedures. Besides the pain and unsightly cosmesis, scarring is a major complication seen when the technique is not done properly.

However, in most instances the procedure is safely done and the few short term side effects include:

- pain during the procedure

- swelling at the sight

- redness

- skin color changes (either too dark or too light)

These side effects subside in a few days and are not noticeable. However, the results of hair removal do not become obvious for some time. It may take a few weeks for all the hair to fall out after the procedure.

What is the cost of electrolysis?

Electrolysis is not a light hearted undertaking. It requires time, money and commitment. The cost of electrolysis ranges from $50-100/hour, depending on whom you go to. The procedure can take hours, depending on what part of the body is being treated. Hairs around the nipple may take 30 minutes but the arm may take anywhere from 20-40 hours. So before you undergo the treatment, get some idea about the number of hours and the possible cost.

Who performs electrolysis?

Hair removal can be done in anyone of the spas and cosmetic clinics in any large city in North America. However, one should be aware that not only is the training of all electrologists not standardized, but many States do not even require certification for someone to perform the procedure. Before one embarks on this treatment, it is best to inquire about the training and experience of your electrologist

What are other options for hair removal?

Electrolysis may be good and a cheaper alternative when it comes to permanent removal of hair from small areas of the body, but today laser is a better option for hair removal from larger areas of the body. Laser hair removal is not only faster, but requires fewer sessions and is slightly cheaper.

Is hair removal covered by Medical Insurance?

Hair removal is strictly a cosmetic procedure and is not covered by any medical insurance. Because of the lure of easy money, there is a bandwagon of people who do this procedure. For safety, select a professional who is credentialed to perform the procedure. Electrolysis when performed by an experienced technician is a safe and effective way to eliminate the embarrassing problem of excessive hair

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