Electrolysis / Thermolysis FAQ’s

Q. What is electrolysis and how does it work?
Electrolysis is the use of an electrical current that produces a chemical substance [ sodium hydroxide or lye] in the bottom of the follicle via a probe. This caustic solution breaks down the dermal cells that make the hair grow. This solution is completely harmless with no side effects to the rest of the body.

Q. What is thermolysis?
Thermolysis is a variation of electrolysis. First the electrolysis current is used and at the same time heat (diathermy) is mixed with the electrolysis current. By adding heat even stubborn hair can be dissolved [this technique is also known as “the blend”].

Q. Is electrolysis painful?
A. The “ouch factor” differs from person to person and from area to area. Some people don’t experience any discomfort, while others experience a slight “stinging,” “tingling,” or a slight “heat” type sensation.

Q. Is electrolysis or thermolysis safe?
A. Yes, provided you are treated by a qualified registered therapist. I use sterilised single use disposable probes. My tweezers are all sterilised in a heat and pressure steriliser and stored in a U.V cabinet until needed. All work surfaces are cleaned with a hospital grade disinfectant.

Q. Is electrolysis permanent
A. Yes! It’s still the ONLY method approved by both the USA Federal Drug Administration (FDA) and American Medical Association for permanent hair removal. Laser is neither permanent nor approved by the FDA as a permanent solution.

Q. How many sessions will I need?
A. Once again, it varies from person to person and area to area. Obviously, the more hair you want to remove, the longer the process will take. The kinds of hair removal methods you’ve used in the past also factor into the equation. Additionally, some hormonal issues may affect your progress. Finally, as with most things, your commitment to the activity greatly affects the time to achieve the desired results.

Q. How is electrolysis different from laser hair removal?
A. Electrolysis and thermolysis use a fine a probe which is placed in the bottom of the hair follicle. [The follicle is a pocket in the skin and you are not injected]. This differs from laser hair removal which uses a light (laser) beam to target the dark melanin in the hair follicle. This laser light cannot discriminate between the melanin in the skin and melanin in the hair follicle. Darker skins will absorb the heat energy from the laser more than lighter skins, with a risk of pigmentation damage. Laser treatments struggle with white, grey and red hair, which are not as receptive to laser energy. Electrolysis and thermolysis can treat everything from soft, blond to dark, coarse hair.

Q. What areas of the body can be treated?
A. Hair can be removed from almost any part of the body. Common areas for women include the eyebrows, nose, cheeks, sideburns, upper lip, chin, neck, fingers and toes, breasts, abdomen, arms, underarms, legs, and bikini line. Men often have hair removed from the hairline, beard , neck, chest, and back. Electrolysis is extremely effective for treating unsightly and painful ingrown hairs around the beard and bikini line area.

Q. Are all hairs eliminated permanently in one session?
A. Sadly, No. Electrolysis and thermolysis is a process that takes time. Deep, course hairs sometimes cannot be eliminated with one treatment; thus breaking down the hair germ cells may require more sessions. During the course of the treatment and due to the cyclic nature of hair growth, new hairs, as well as hairs freshly emerging from a dormant phase will also be treated and may be visible the same time as finer re-growth hairs are being treated.

Q. How long does it take to permanently clear an area? 
A. The total treatment can vary greatly from one individual to another. It is dependent on a number of factors that include:
The size of the area being treated, previous hair removal methods, your personal hair growth cycle, hair texture, density of the hair, heredity, physiological changes, hormone function, medications, client’s tolerance, and age. Some improvement should be observed within several weeks after initiating treatment, provided the client adheres to the recommended schedule. It is important to realise that time, commitment, and patience are needed in order to overcome a problem which did not occur over night.

Q. Are there any side effects caused by electrolysis or thermolysis?
A. Because electrolysis  and thermolysis destroys the dermal papilla of a hair (hair bulb), it is normal to see some slight redness and/or mild swelling associated with the treatment. In most individuals, this will disappear in half an hour to several hours. In some rare instances, an individual may develop tiny scabs forming over the treated follicles. They are perfectly normal parts of the healing process and will not leave any permanent damage, provided you do not pick at them, scratch them, or otherwise cause them to become infected.

Q. What is the normal growth cycle of a hair?
A. All hairs have differing cycles of growth and are not visible on the surface of the skin at the same time. Hair normally grows for its usual cycle and then naturally sheds and replaces itself. Following active growing periods, most hair follicles go into a dormant stage. The period of dormancy may last for an indefinite period of time, however, hairs that have a bulb and a good blood supply can regrow in three to four weeks. The appearance of these coarse replacement hairs from dormant hair follicles should not be mistaken as re-growth from previously treated follicles.