What to expect when preparing for electrolysis

1 Mar

If you have ever considered permanent hair removal like electrolysis but were hesitant because you had the nagging question of just how electrolysis works, and what to expect if you get electrolysis, the answer to that is fairly simple. Electrolysis may seem scary because there are parts of the process that are somewhat scary. Anytime you start thinking of permanently removing anything from your body, you should know the ins and outs of what is going on.

 Electrolysis is hardly a new process. It dates back to England in the late 1800’s where Dr. Charles Michel pioneered the discipline. Over a century later, it still remains the most effective procedure of its kind, even beating out laser treatment and any number of fly by night ointments and creams. The science behind how electrolysis works is really very simple.

Electrolysis is the process of using very thin gauge electrified needle to burn the root of a hair. When the root is dead there is no more hair growth. The needle, or probe, is actually thinner than the hair it is being used to remove which means it can be slide along the shaft of the hair and then through the pore the hair grows out of. Once the probe is successfully inserted, electricity is passed through it, thereby heating the probe and burning the root. The length of time that electricity is passed is determined by how much current is being passed which is dictated by what the patients threshold for discomfort is.

Once the hair has been treated, the technician will use tweezers to remove the hair. If the hair shows a waxy bulb like protrusion at the base and there is no pain felt when the hair is removed, that is usually considered a success. If the hair does not grow back within 90 days, it is definitely dead. If those conditions are not met however, that usually means that the root was not destroyed and the hair will need to be treated again later. There is no need to worry about the electrical current as it is minimal and hair does not conduct electricity so it cannot “jump’ from one spot to another.

Electrolysis is effective, but it is not magic. One treatment is not going to eradicate all of your unwanted hair. There will be unsuccessful attempts, thicker hair is difficult to remove the first try and usually takes multiple sessions before the hair is weakened and the root is properly reached. It also pays to keep in mind that hair grows in three stages; anagen, catagen, and telogen.

The vast majority of a person’s hair is in anagen phase which just means it is actively growing. This is the hair you see on your head, face, arms, or anywhere above the skin. The normal healthy person’s hair is usually about 85% anagen, and once a hair becomes anagen it usually has a lifespan of about 1000 days, but it can stretch out to eight years with very good care. Catagen phase is when the hair is dying and lasts about three weeks. This is a transitional phase to telogen which is when the hair is dead and waiting to shed. It is no longer growing, but it is still somewhat between the root and follicle staying in place by nothing more than friction. The average person loses about 100 hairs in this phase per day. Telogen lasts about ten weeks, but it also ushers in a new growth phase.

 Considering the three phases of hair growth, no matter how good an electrologist is they cannot remove every unwanted hair you have in one sitting because a percentage is dormant. Do not expect total eradication in one or even three sittings. Expect instead that each session should show better results, and eventually become fewer and further between with only general maintenance for strays necessary for a short period of time.

Also do not expect that electrolysis is painless. There is discomfort, and there are certain very sensitive areas that can bring tears to your eyes. Many cite that certain areas of the bikini line can be quite painful, while others express more discomfort in the area just under the nose. Although electrolysis probe, when used properly, will not hit major nerves or blood vessels, you will feel the probe and the current. The higher the current is, the hotter the probe is and the higher the level of discomfort is. The upside to s higher current setting is it accomplishes the job faster.

When preparing for electrolysis treatment, do your homework. If you know you will have the procedure on a sensitive area you may want to consider using an OTC Lidocaine spray beforehand to mildly numb the are if you have no medical contraindications to that product. Do not drink beforehand thinking that will help, in most cases, an electrologist will turn you away if they think you are under the influence. Follow the aftercare procedure your electrologist provides you exactly. Electrolysis does not have to be scary, you just have to understand what is happening.

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