According to the American Electrology Association, Electrology, a permanent hair removal process, is described here.
How does electrolysis work?
A professional electrologist inserts a very fine needle (usually thinner than the hair being treated) into the natural opening of the hair follicle alongside the hair shaft. A tiny amount of electrical current is then applied to destroy the hair growth cells.
What are modalities?
Medical electrolysis devices can destroy the hair growth cells with chemical energy, heat energy, or both. The method chosen by the electrologist is the modality. All are effective. There are three modalities in current use:
Galvanic electrolysis is a chemical process. The current produces a chemical reaction in the hair follicle eliminating the hair growth cells.
Thermolysis (also called short-wave) produces heat. This modality heats and destroys the hair growth cells in the follicle. A higher intensity current can be applied for less time in the follicle, or current can be used at lower intensity with longer timing.
The Blend method combines galvanic current with thermolysis current. Thermolysis heats up the chemical reaction in the follicle destroying hair growth cells.
What does electrolysis feel like?
You'll probably feel a momentary heat sensation or pinch. Discomfort is minimal for most people, but individual tolerances vary greatly. Keep in mind that some areas of the body are much less sensitive than others. Many people read, listen to music or even take a nap while being treated.
What about after treatment?
Immediately following treatment, you may experience slight redness or tenderness which usually disappears in a couple of hours. There is very little risk of complication or serious skin irritation with electrolysis performed by a skilled practitioner. For the first 24 hours following treatment, it's best to avoid activity that could irritate hair follicles such as excessive sweating, tanning and prolonged sun exposure or make-up application.
How long will my electrolysis treatment take?
Depending on the area you want cleared, it could be a few minutes for a followup appointment to an hour for a larger area. Most people who follow the recommended treatment plan can expect to be completed or nearly completed within 18 months. Factors such as hair growth cycles, the quantity and structure of hair presented, previous use of temporary hair removal methods, heredity, hormone function, certain medications and stress influence the treatment program for each individual.
Are all hairs eliminated in one treatment or is regrowth to be expected?
Excessive hair growth, also known as hirsutism, can range from fine, vellus hair to dark, coarse hair on the face and body. Breaking down the hair growth cells on deep, coarse hairs may require more than one treatment. Based on a personal and confidential consultation, your electrologist will design a treatment plan that addresses your specific hair removal needs.