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Electrolysis FAQs

What is Electrolysis?

Electrolysis is an approved means of achieving permanent hair removal. It destroys the bulb that secures the hair root thereby preventing any further hair growth.

There are three principle methods used to achieve the result:

Firstly, a minute electric current is directly applied to the target site using a fine needle (the galvanic method) which triggers a chemical reaction to kill the hair growth cells.

The second method is thermolysis, in which heat is emitted to the target site through a fine needle to kill the hair growth cells. The third method is to use a blend of both Galvanic and thermolysis simultaneously for optimum results and least discomfort.

Electrolysis is approved by Food & Drug Administration (FDA) as a safe means of achieving permanent hair removal.

What are the benefits of using Electrolysis compared to Laser hair removal?

The main reason for selecting Electrolysis over laser hair removal is that:

1. Electrolysis it is more reliable for preventing hair regrowth.

2. It is ideally suited for transgender male-to-female patients for permanent facial hair removal and those considering Gender Reassignment Surgery, GRS.

3. Electrolysis will successfully treat all hair colours, including white, grey, blond or red which are unable to be treated with laser.

4. Electrolysis is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for permanent hair removal.

5. Treatments can be undertaken at regular intervals.

What are the disadvantages of using Electrolysis compared to laser hair removal?

The main reasons for selecting laser hair removal as opposed to Electrolysis is that:
1. Laser hair removal treats multiple hairs at a time whereas Electrolysis is a slow process treating individual single hairs at a time.

2. Potentially there is a higher risk of adverse side effects such as scarring or infection with Electrolysis.

3. The time taken to cover a given area will be longer with Electrolysis, however there is generally less treatments required to a given hair to become dormant.

4. Depending on the area to be treated and the method of Electrolysis employed, the laser hair removal is generally a lot more comfortable for the patient.

How does Electrolysis compare with other forms of hair removal?

Whether you use waxing, threading or tweezing, all these methods create ingrown hairs and discoloration of skin. They can also promote replacement hairs growing back thicker, stronger and quicker. Both depilatories, which are hair pulling devices, and shaving can cause an irritation to the skin and will encourage quicker hair regrowth.

All of these methods require a lifetime of maintenance and once these hair turn white, grey or silver they can no longer be removed by laser hair removal.

Electrolysis is a permanent hair removal option ideal for all skin and hair types.

How many treatments are required?

The number of treatments required will vary depending upon the size of the area being treated, the hair density and the strength of hair growth cells. Whilst treatments can be scheduled for short or long periods at regular intervals, the progress could be restricted by the amount of tolerable discomfort by the patient. At Skin Medical we can offer topical anaesthetic or pain killers to manage most discomfort.

Other factors including growth cycles, any hormone medication or heredity factors can influence the number of treatments and the end point for permanent hair removal.

How many treatments to remove a single hair permanently using electrolysis?

There are many factors that influence the answer to this question, such as settings used by practitioner for any given type of hair. For example higher electric currents maybe selected if hair is dark in colour, course in size and strongly rooted, whereas finer white hairs maybe require a lower electric current to release and kill the regrowth cells.

Ingrown hairs can also prove to be stubborn as needles may not reach the hair bulb on first attempt due to hair distortion. In such a case, a second and subsequent attempts may be required should the hair start to grow again during a subsequent hair growth cycle. Electrolysis is approved for permanent hair removal by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), so eventually all hairs are expected to leave the body or face for a hair-free appearance.

How much discomfort is there with electrolysis?

Depending on the area of the skin being treated and the settings used, the discomfort level will vary. Discomfort is also a subjective thing and will vary depending on the patient’s own pain threshold. Electrolysis can feels like a sting that is quickly over and most people tolerate it well.

Patients can request pain relief if necessary. We can offer a variety of options from topical anaesthetic to prescription medication.

Does electrolysis work on any part of face and body for every skin type and hair colour?

Yes, electrolysis can remove hair from anywhere, although we do not treat the scalp area. It works equally well for white, grey, silver blond and red hairs irrespective of your skin type.

What are the potential side effects of having electrolysis?

At time of procedure it is likely that the treatment site will be slightly red and become irritable until the body gradually recovers its natural look which will take a few days at most.

Post-treatment instruction for care will be provided and should be followed in order to minimise the risk of infection between treatments.

What precautions can be taken to minimise risk of infection?

Make sure that the clinic that you attend has good hygiene and infection control standards. Clinics registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) are inspected on a regular basis by UK Government officials to ensure they met or exceed standards of quality including infection control. The clinic you select should be able to demonstrate the use of single-use needles, the sterilisation of tweezers using autoclave steriliser and the use of sterilised gloves.

Aftercare advice should also be given to patients to minimise risk of infection by patient.

Patients can take the following steps to avoid infection risk:

  • Ensure that you maintain good levels of hand hygiene by washing hands thoroughly at regular intervals.
  • Use anti-bacterial wash or gel regularly to destroy micro-organisms on your hands.
  • Avoid touching the treated areas unnecessarily.
  • Avoid swimming or bathing in public areas or the sea.
  • Avoid using perfume or aftershave on the treatment sites.
  • Avoid having any other beauty treatments on treated areas.
  • Do not shave, pluck or wax treated areas between treatments.
  • Exfoliate 2 to 3 days before and after treatment.

Can you treat pregnant women with electrolysis?

At Skin Medical it is our protocol not to treat pregnant women. It is useful to know that hormone changes brought about by pregnancy can stimulate hair growth. Following pregnancy, provided you are not breastfeeding, we will be able to begin/resume treatment. We are able to treat patients after they have finished breast feeding.

Can electrolysis be used to treat hairs from moles?

Yes – providing we have letter from your GP supporting this treatment, electrolysis can be used to treat mole hairs.

Do you treat NHS funded patients