I am a registered electrologist with over 35 years of experience. My license is from the state of Massachusetts. Regulations are governed individually by each state. Some states have no licensure whereas other states require over 1100 hours of training. In states with no regulations, such as Texas, the serious concern would be the need for proper education and reliable up to date sterilization methods.
Many people suffer from the physical and emotional effects of unwanted facial and body hair. Adolescent girls experiencing the hormonal changes of puberty occasionally develop excess facial hair on the lip area, sideburns, cheek or chin. This accelerated growth can cause embarrassment to teenagers and also adults. There is a sensitivity of follicles to hormone stimulation in specific areas of the body. Hair begins to grow only in areas that are the most sensitive to early mild hormonal elevation. Hair growth on the stomach, breast, chest, neck, back, legs and other areas may also follow male pattern growth according to the sensitivity of the related follicles. Hormonal fluctuations can stimulate growth not only during puberty but also during other periods of hormonal changes such as pregnancy, starting or stopping birth control pills and menopause as well as with certain diseases and medical treatments. This growth is presented by hair of different strengths, varying from fine, long accelerated hair to very coarse dark hair, including ingrown hair.
For treatable medical problems, the currently recognized treatment for excessive hair growth includes both drug therapy and electrolysis treatment. Men and women alike use electrolysis for cosmetic reasons. Electrolysis is currently recognized by the American Medical Association (AMA) as the only safe and permanent method for the removal of unwanted facial and body hair, as is recommended for medical and cosmetic reasons.
Electrolysis was pioneered for hair removal in 1875 by Charles E. Michel, MD of St Louis, Missouri for the removal of ingrown eyelashes. The term “electrolysis” originates from the chemical process of applying direct electrical current to a solution of salt and water. This current, applied inside the hair follicle, changes the chemical arrangement of the salt and water molecules to form sodium hydroxide (Lye). The lye produced in the follicle is the caustic agent that serves to destroy the papilla (hair root).
Today, two basic theories of electrolysis are being practiced: Galvanic and Short-Wave. Galvanic, or chemical electrolysis, although more painful than short-wave, is still being used today and also is used in a combination method of galvanic and short-wave. This method utilizes a radio transmitter that is authorized to transmit as specific FCC approved frequencies. The probe when inserted into the follicle vibrates at high frequency range, creating heat by friction which creates a minute cauterization of the papilla eventually preventing a recurrence of hair growth. Short-wave electrolysis is considered to be the superior method available today due to its relatively painless nature and quick cosmetic result. In 1948 new methods of permanent hair removal were introduced which used a combination of galvanic and short-wave techniques. The blend method is still being used today although there is more sensitivity with this technique.
Electrolysis, by any method, requires a series of treatments to completely eradicate any given area of hair. The electrolysis process is simple, a fine probe is inserted into a natural opening in the skin (a follicle) where a current is then delivered to the base of the dermal papilla. This destroys the blood supply that feeds the hair therefore the hair becomes finer and weaker and eventually dies off. Some hairs that are thicker may take longer than the fine hairs to remove, but this may vary depending on growth cycles and temporary hair removal methods that have been used previously.
Electrolysis has become a popular service for men and women, young and old. Many seek treatment for cosmetic reasons alone, while others seek relief with a doctor’s recommendation for medical-related causes. Electrolysis is safe, relatively painless and effective for the permanent removal of unwanted hair. The term electrolysis has become synonymous with “permanent hair removal”.