Electrolysis hair removal is just one in a series of methods that have been devised for the removal of unwanted hair throughout the years. The two main categories of hair removal, depilation, and epilation, differ in the depth to which they affect the structure of each individual hair. Depilation includes common practices such as shaving and depilatory creams (hence the name) like Nair. Depilation removes hair on the surface of the skin, whereas epilation affects the entire hair down to the root. From plucking with tweezers to electrolysis, many varieties of epilation have been popular with women because they have longer lasting effects than methods of depilation. While depilatory treatments tend to be more expensive than epilation, because the process is more knowledge intensive and sometimes requires an expert practitioner, they have become more accessible in recent years due to the proliferation of competing fields.
Electrolysis works by using electricity to damage the follicle of the hair, delivered through a hair-sized metal probe that is inserted by a trained professional. The practice of electrology requires a license and is regulated by the United States government at the state level. Because electrolysis treats the root of the hair, it is a permanent solution to unwanted hair. Hair removal by electrolysis can take two forms: the galvanic method, which causes caustic lye to form and prevent hair re-growth, and the thermolysis or overheating method. The two methods can also be combined to create the “blend method”.
The ideal results for electrolysis treatment are not immediate, however; the average treatment period for the face alone is estimated at two years, and the range is from 1 to 4 years. The process is time-consuming in part because it involves targeting individual hairs, and because permanent prevention of hair growth is a considerable alteration from the body’s natural state. Since the extent of unwanted hair growth varies from person to person due to hereditary and hormonal differences, there is no one set period for electrolysis treatment.
For many years, electrolysis dominated the field of cosmetology, as there were very few alternatives that provided permanent removal of unwanted hair. But now there are alternatives, such as the “electric tweezer” used in the Vector Electrolysis Permanent Hair Removal System. According to the product website, the metal rod used in conventional electrolysis is replaced with an electrode patch. The hair is coated with conductivity gel, because uncoated hair is highly resistant to conducting electricity regardless of voltage, and subsequently grasped with the tweezers connected to the power source. The current is then directed down the tweezers to the hair. Note that electrolysis is recognized by the FDA and the AMA (American Medical Association) as a method of permanent hair removal, while the electric tweezer is not.
Consumers also have more options for permanent hair removal due to the advent of laser technology. Anyone deciding between electrolysis or hair removal can start by prioritizing his or her hair removal needs. Depending on the size of the area, your budget, and your desired period for treatment, you may go with laser or electrolysis for hair removal. While cost may vary by region and the type of center providing electrolysis, a typical price for the upper lip area would be $150, or less if, the center charges according to time spent. Both men and women commonly turn to hair removal by electrolysis to permanently remove unwanted hair, so the best way to find out if it is right for you is to schedule a consultation.