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Electrolysis – What is it?

March 9, 2016

When I started working at Bare Essentials, I had only a very vague idea of what was involved in waxing. When I say vague, I mean I could tell you that involved hot wax and a degree of pain. Those first few weeks were tough on me as I muddled my way through questions about everything from waxing to facials to laser. I am happy to say that I have some experience in all of these areas (for the most part) and can (fairly) confidently answer questions all by myself.

There is one area, however, that continues to mystify me. It’s a combination of not really knowing what it is and never having it done. So, when people call in about this service, I generally have to put them on hold while I ask one of the lovely ladies here how the heck I’m supposed to answer. This mystery subject is Electrolysis!

To better my knowledge and yours, I decided to scour the internet for the history and process behind electrolysis. So sit back, relax, and let me take you on a journey to the ‘point’ of Electrolysis.

Unlike waxing and threading, electrolysis is a relatively new method of hair removal. Dr Charles E Michel in St Louis was the first to use fine wires hooked up to a battery to remove ingrown eyelashes on his patients. For many years it was a method only used by doctors, however in 1916, the multiple needle technique was born which moved electrolysis out of the medical realm. Shortly after that in 1923, a new method called Themorlysis was created (I’ll get into what that is in just a second). After mastering the two methods, 1945 saw the creation of the Blend method which combined both methods with new technology. As the technology has improved, so has electrolysis making it even more reliable and effective. Today, it’s a standardized practice and is currently the only method regarded as permanent by FDA.

There are three methods of electrolysis used today: Galvanic, Thermolysis and Blend.

Galvanic: This method coverts regular salt in the body to lye. The lye then targets the cells that stimulate hair growth and kills the follicle. This is the original method of Electrolysis, and was done using two thin wires connected to a battery which were then inserted into the follicle. Since it’s inception, this method has evolved and is now more computerized.

Thermolysis: This method relies on heat to kill the follicle. A thin probe is inserted into the follicle and electricity is pumped into the cells to kill them.

Blend: This technique uses both of the methods above to kill hair follicles.

In terms of the way Electrolysis is performed, the technician will slide a probe that is usually the same size as the follicle or smaller into the root of the hair at the same angle of growth. If this is done properly, the skin will not be punctured. Electricity is then pumped into the follicle killing the hair.  During the first session, the settings are at their very lowest and are increased each session until the hair can be easily removed (as long as the client can tolerate it). After the follicle has been killed, the hair is removed with tweezers and does not grow back again! Besides some temporary redness, there are no negative, long-term side effects.

The number of sessions required varies from person to person and session length ranges depending on how large the area is and how much hair there is to be removed. We offer sessions ranging from 5 minutes to 1 hour, with most people coming in once a week to be treated. It is a painful treatment (though not unbearable), but you can use numbing cream to help alleviate some of the pain.

If this didn’t cover all of your questions, feel free to give us a call and set up a time to talk to Laurie about your options! We have lots of options for hair removal, and we’re happy to help you find that one that suits your needs!

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