Electrolysis Hair Removal

Electrolysis hair removal is the only method approved by the FDA for permanent hair removal. It does require multiple sessions to achieve best possible results, but permanent hair removal isn’t 100% guaranteed for everyone. An electric current is applied with a very fine needle-shaped electrode, or metal probe into each hair follicle to destroy the root. There are three types of electrolysis: galvanic, thermolysis and blend. At East Ivanhoe skin & Body Therapy we use thermolysis. We also do Telegiactasis treatments woth special needles for spider veins, capillaries or cherry angioma, skin tags. These are priced according to time also. Hair grows in different stages: growing, resting and shedding. Because all of the hair isn’t on the same stage at any given time, multiple sessions are needed to get the hair in the growth phase for electrolysis hair removal to be most effective- just like laser hair removal.

The Pros

  • It has the best track record.
  • Electrolysis has the best overall results, versus any other method, in ridding hair for long periods of time- or even permanently.
  • Many different hair and skin types can benefit.
  • Because it doesn’t target hair pigment (color) like laser, but attacks the follicle itself. People that aren’t good candidates for laser can still get electrolysis.

The Cons

  • Bent follicles can make electrolysis hair removal harder.
  • Previous waxing or tweezing can make hair follicles bent or misshapen, and getting the needle to the root more difficult to destroy the follicle.
  • Multiple treatments are needed.
  • You have to truly be committed to electrolysis because you will need anywhere from 15 – 30 sessions, which will take up a considerable amount of your time.
  • Skin can get discolored.
  • This is most likely to occur if it’s improperly done.
  • It can be pricey.
  • See below, under The Costs heading.

Ouch Factor

Everyone has their own tolerance to pain. Electrolysis has been likened to a stinging and pricking sensation, and each follicle has to go through it. At East Ivanhoe Skin & Body Therapy we have natural numbing spray, topical aesthetic. We also have special type needles that are insulated to minimize skin reactions and therefore helps healing time and recovery time if needed.


A very fine sterilized filament is inserted into the hair follicle, which is a natural opening in the skin. The skin is not pierced or broken. Once the filament has been inserted, a small amount of current is applied. The current cauterizes the papilla, which is the tiny capillary responsible for causing the hair to grow. The current loosens the hair within the follicle, so with tweezers the hair slides out effortlessly. It is important to note that the hair is not being tweezed by force. You do not feel the insertion into the follicle or the removal of the hair. The current is felt, but is tolerable for most people. The procedure is repeated for each hair in the area. The blood supply to the hair is diminished with each treatment, and subsequent hairs grow back finer. Eventually the blood supply to the hair is completely destroyed, and the follicle cannot produce another hair.
In 1875 an Ophthalmologist named Charles E. Michel was experimenting with the use of electrical current, among other methods, to treat his patients with inverted and ingrown eyelashes. He found that given enough current, the hair did not grow back.
There are two types of current used with Electrolysis. Unfortunately, these two types of current have many names, which can be confusing to the client. Either AC or DC currents are used. AC (alternating current) uses heat to destroy the lower portion of the follicle. DC (direct current) causes a chemical reaction in the follicle which destroys the papilla. This method requires the patient to be “grounded” to the machine by holding a small metal electrode. These two currents can be used simultaneously with one filament, and this combination of currents is known as the Blend. AC is also known as thermolysis, short wave, radio wave, diathermy, or flash. DC is also known as galvanic.
There are pros and cons to both methods. Your Electrologist with select the modality (type of current) that is most appropriate for your condition. Both modalities will lead to permanency.
Although there are women who have had Electrolysis right after they discovered they were pregnant, up until days before giving birth, you should always consult with your doctor and have him or her advise you on if it is ok to have treatment during your pregnancy. We do not recommend galvanic treatments during pregnancy.
Depending on the area being treated, there are several options. You may shave, clip, use depilatories or bleach the hair. We do not recommend tweezing, waxing, threading or any other method that pulls the hair out by the root.
Electrolysis is systematically shrinking the blood supply to each hair treated. When you tweeze or wax, this forcibly rips the root from the papilla. The body believes it has been injured, and sends more blood to the area to heal it. Since blood is what causes hair to grow, if you increase the blood supply, you will strengthen the hair. This will cause an increase in the amount of Electrolysis treatments you will need. Those who have been tweezing or waxing always take longer to complete than those who have shaved, clipped, used depilatories, or just left the area alone. It should be noted that tweezing or waxing the eyebrow area does not seem to increase hair growth, but it does increase growth on the rest of the face and body.
Tolerances vary from person to person. Most people feel a mild stinging sensation. Others describe it as a hot pinch beneath the skin. Some people take pain medication before a treatment, while others have been known to doze. Being relaxed before a session helps a great deal. Avoiding caffeine and sugar prior to your treatment helps as well. For extremely sensitive clients, there is a prescription topical anesthetic available. For more information about this, ask your doctor about EMLA.
ElectrolysisAs tolerances vary, so do the number of appointments needed.

The amount of growth and size of area, and prior temporary hair removal methods cause the variance in the amount of treatments needed.

Unfortunately, even after evaluating the variables, it is impossible for an Electrologist to predict the number of treatments needed.

It is important to remember that Electrolysis although permanent, is a process.

Yes, to a certain extent. Hair has 3 stages of growth; anagen, catagen and telogen. Anagen is the active stage of growth, which is the ideal time to have treatment. The hair root is attached to the papilla (blood supply responsible for hair growth) and is in its prime stage to be treated.

Keeping your regularly scheduled appointments as recommended by your Electrologist will allow the hair to be treated in this ideal stage of growth. If there is too much time in between appointments, the hair can move into the catagen stage.

Catagen is when the root detaches itself from the papilla, and the hair begins to move up the follicle wall. The lower portion of the follicle collapses, which makes it difficult to reach the papilla. The papilla is the target the Electrologist must destroy in order to achieve permanency. The hair then moves into the telogen phase, where the hair sheds. Once the hair falls out on its own, the follicle may become dormant for a couple of weeks up to about 4 months, or it may begin producing another hair right away. When a follicle is in the telogen or resting phase, it cannot be treated as there is no visible hair.

You simply have to wait for it to go back to the anagen stage and have the hair removed at that point. Those who want to wait for all the hair in a given area to grow back before having a subsequent appointment are doing themselves a disservice. The best way to have Electrolysis take the least amount of time to achieve permanency is to remove the hair as soon as it becomes visible.

If there was a way to get 100% of your hair growth to be visible at the same time and have it in the anagen (active) stage of growth, it would greatly reduce the number of session you would need. If we could see the papilla underneath the skin, the filament could be inserted to reach the microscopic point where the hair root and the papilla are attached. If we could then deliver enough current to that pinpoint location without the heat rising to the surface of the skin causing epidermal burning, then the client would literally only need one Electrolysis appointment to achieve permanency. Unfortunately, all of the about variables are beyond human control. The best we can do is treat and remove the hair as soon as it grows.
It depends on the area to be treated and the individual’s tolerance level. For example, an upper lip appointment would be about 15 minutes; an underarm treatment could be an hour or more. After your initial visit, your Electrologist can estimate the length of each treatment depending on the amount of hair growth present.
That question is best answered with the question “how often do you remove the growth with other methods?”. If you tweeze daily, you will most likely need one or two appointments a week initially. If you notice the hair only occasionally, it is likely you can start out coming in about every three to four weeks.
These are all temporary methods of hair removal. Although lasers promise to be “long term” hair removal, they have been available for a relatively short period of time. At this time, lasers have not been proven to be permanent hair removal, it is just hair reduction. In most cases, lasers cannot be used on hair that is not dark in color, or on skin that is an olive tone or darker.
Not all of your hair is present at any one given time. Hair grows in cycles. We are only able to treat the hair which is visible. Hair periodically goes into a dormant stage, so we need to wait for it to grow before it can be treated. It usually takes four months of regular treatments to be sure we’ve treated each hair in the area at least one time. Most hair takes several treatments before they cease to grow.
Virtually any area of the face and body can be treated by Electrolysis with the exception of certain moles and inside the nostrils. Our office limits treating the bikini line for women only, and we do not provide “Brazilian” bikini services.
If you are able to grab the hair with tweezers and pluck it, (don’t actually do this) the hair is long enough. For most people, about 3-5 days of not shaving is enough time to let the hair grow. Those who have been tweezing or waxing may need to allow a bit more time for the hair to grow.
The area is usually pink for about thirty minutes to a few hours. Some welting may occur but typically lasts about 20 minutes. If proper after care is followed, the skin should return to normal the next day.
No. Quite often, people don’t realize how much growth they have until they allow it to grow while preparing for their Electrolysis appointments. If you tweezed daily, and you are having Electrolysis weekly, you will be seeing more hair than what you are used to. It may seem as if you are suddenly growing more hair, but that is not the case.
If proper after care is followed, you should not have any scarring. Some skin types are more prone to have temporary marks on the skin. People with olive or darker colored skin are more likely to develop hyper pigmentation. Those with a higher moisture content in their skin are more apt to develop scabbing. Individuals with oily skin have a higher chance of breaking out, and if they pick at the skin, it can lead to scarring.
Keeping the area clean and your hands off your skin is a good start. The area should be cleaned three to four times the day of your appointment, and two or three times the day after. You may clean the area with hydrogen peroxide, witch hazel or Tend Skin. You may also apply a thin layer of an antibiotic cream or ointment, or a film of benzoyl peroxide to prevent breaking out. Avoid the sun completely the day of your appointment, and for a week after, make sure you use a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF 15 or higher on the treated area. If scabbing occurs, do not pick the scab off. The skin will heal only while the scab remains on the skin. If it is removed before it is ready, it may leave a scar. The scab will fall off once the skin is fully healed.
We charge according to the length of each appointment. Please refer to our Service menu for our prices.
There is no time like the present. The sooner you begin your treatments, the sooner you will be able to enjoy all the benefits of permanent hair removal.

Electrolysis Advice

After waxing /electrolysis you are advised not to :

  • Swim or have a spa bathSunbathe or use a solarium- immediately before or after treatments.
  • Have hot showers directly on the areas.
  • Do not use any AHA or acidic type cream/lotions on the area.
  • Do not pick, scratch any areas that may be healing or are ingrown hairs
  • Tweeze or wax the area between treatments only trim.

We recommend a TGA approved commercial aftercare cream -such as Sterex – POST Electrolysis cream, or after wax cream by Caron. As it has a minimum of 5% tea tree oil and antibacterial properties in the cream. Also available is Aloe vera gel and Bepanthen cream. Keep your appointment as advised Skin may be susceptible to irritation or infection for up to 48 hours after any Skin Penetration procedure.