RubmdSelf CareSay Goodbye to Unwanted Hair with Electrolysis for Permanent Removal

Say Goodbye to Unwanted Hair with Electrolysis for Permanent Removal

Electrolysis is an effective method for permanently removing unwanted hair. It works by using electric current to destroy the hair follicle so that hair cannot grow back. Electrolysis has been around for over 100 years as a hair removal method and can produce dramatic results.

How Electrolysis Works to Remove Hair

Electrolysis uses electric current to permanently destroy the dermal papilla in each individual hair follicle. The dermal papilla is located at the base of the hair follicle and contains cells that enable hair to regenerate. By destroying this part of the hair follicle, electrolysis ensures hair cannot grow back.

The process involves inserting a very fine electrolysis probe into the hair follicle alongside the hair shaft. A tiny burst of radio frequency energy or galvanic current is transmitted through the probe which destroys the hair growth cells. The hair is then easily removed with tweezers. Because each hair follicle is treated individually, multiple treatments are required to clear an area.

Hair growth occurs in cycles, so treated hairs may not fall out right away. But within a week or two the destroyed follicles will shed. After completing an initial set of treatments to clear an area, maintenance sessions will be required to target newly activated follicles. Over a series of treatments, electrolysis can produce full and permanent hair removal results.

Who is a Good Candidate for Electrolysis

The most suitable candidates for electrolysis include people with:

  • Dark, thick terminal hairs: Electrolysis works best with exposure to hairs’ dermal papilla. Coarse hairs on dark hair growth zones provide optimal access.
  • Light skin tones: Visibility of the hair follicle is important for precision targeting by technicians. People with fair complexions are easiest to treat.
  • Hormonally activated hair growth: Areas with hair follicles stimulated by hormones like the chin, upper lip, neck, abdomen and bikini line tend to respond well.

Electrolysis can be effective for all skin tones and hair colors. But more treatments may be required for lighter, fine hair. And use of multiple modalities—thermolysis, galvanic, blend—may produce better results depending on hair characteristics.

Because electrolysis requires inserting a probe down the length of each hair shaft, curly hairs can also be more difficult to treat. Areas with flat-lying hairs like the pubic region may require hair growth enhancement prior to treatment sessions.

What to Expect with Electrolysis

The electrolysis treatment process consists of:

  1. Evaluation – The technician will assess the treatment area and desired results with the client and determine suitable electrolysis modalities. Photos may be taken to track progress.
  2. Preparation – The skin is cleaned and in some cases a topical numbing cream applied. The technician sterilizes the work station and tools.
  3. Treatment – With micro-precision, the technician uses tweezers in one hand and the electrolysis probe in the other to guide the probe tip down into each follicle following the hair shaft. The sensations caused by zapping currents vary for different people. Most tolerate the brief stinging well without anesthesia.
  4. Post Treatment Care – Treated follicles shed naturally. Antibacterial creams can aid healing and prevent infection of open pores. Strict sun avoidance is required with the risk of hyperpigmentation marks. Multiple sessions spaced 2+ weeks apart allow hair cycling and prevent overtreatment of skin.

A first electrolysis session often begins conservatively – working within a limited area for short duration to assess skin tolerance. With repeated treatments, the technician can cover more territory as the skin adjusts. It generally requires 6 to 15 sessions to achieve up to 90% permanent hair removal. Electrolysis is a slow, gradual process requiring patience to complete.

Electrolysis Cost Per Session

Professional electrolysis can be expensive since each hair follicle needs to be treated individually in a time-intensive process requiring skill and precision. Electrolysis costs depend upon:

  • Geographic location – Cost of living differences effect pricing across regions
  • Practice quality & experience level – Expertise and upscale office space impacts rates
  • Treatment duration & body area – Size of area receiving electrolysis; length of session

Typical price ranges for electrolysis are:

  • Face: $50 – $100 per 30 to 60 min session
  • Underarms: $75+ per 30-60 min session
  • Bikini Line: $90+ per 45-90 min session
  • Full Legs: $300+ per 2+ hour session

Packages of multiple pre-paid electrolysis treatments often provide 10-20% discount off regular rates. Home electrolysis devices with low initial investment can save money long term by self administering treatments. But professional skill is required for permanent hair removal results and avoidance of scarring with electrolysis probes. Clinics may offer free consultations to estimate costs.

Selecting an Electrolysis Technician

Because electrolysis requires inserting a probe into live skin, training and expertise is extremely important both for safety and optimal results. Electrolysis practitioners demonstrate competency by becoming:

  • Licensed for medical electrolysis procedures – In most states a license ensures certified training and certain hourly experience levels. Licensure exams test knowledge and practical skills.
  • Member of professional electrolysis association – Membership demonstrates commitment to continuing education on the latest techniques and best practices. Associations may maintain referral lists of top rated electrolysis technicians.
  • Medical electrologist specialist – Electrolysis providers based out of dermatology and plastic surgery offices elevate quality expectations. Their services cater to physician referred clients expecting a higher standard of care. Medical offices provide superior safety, numbing options and combined treatment plans resulting in faster permanent hair removal. However their services often come at a significantly higher price point.

Beyond credentials, the best electrolysis technicians develop great rapport with clients in building trusting relationships over months and years of treatments. They carefully listen and guide clients through the process every step of the way.

Electrolysis Methods For Hair Removal

There are three main methods or modalities, used in electrolysis to destroy hair follicle cells and prevent regrowth:

Galvanic Electrolysis

  • Uses direct current electricity to generate a chemical reaction of sodium hydroxide destroying hair growth tissues. A probes tip needing periodic cleaning transmits the current down the hair shaft into the dermal papilla. Galvanic treatments well suited for thicker, deep hairs.

Thermolysis Electrolysis

  • Radiofrequency energy pulses rapidly back and forth building friction heat destroying follicle cells – without relying on a chemical reaction. Heating effects occur at much lower temperatures than laser hair removal. A clean needle tip requiring replacement after so many hairs treats each follicle. Better choice for fine, near surface hairs.

Blend Electrolysis

  • Combines galvanic electrolysis and thermolysis modalities simultaneously to enhance permanent hair removal results. The combined approach provides more control and efficiency treating varying hair thicknesses and growth depths. Use of both currents may allow lower intensity settings causing less discomfort during treatments. It represents the latest advancement in technology.

An experienced electrolysis technician determines the best modality or combination during the initial consultation. The chosen electrolysis method depends greatly on hair type and treatment area characteristics to produce permanent hair removal as safely, quickly and comfortably as possible. Client lifestyle and budget factors also play a role in selecting optimal treatments.

Electrolysis Risks, Side Effects & Precautions

When properly administered by a skilled professional, electrolysis provides the only permanent hair removal treatment with enduring results. However, individuals may experience temporary side effects or more lasting complications if not performed correctly. Understanding the risks facilitates prevention through appropriate care.

Potential side effects include:

  • Discomfort/Pain – Inserting probe to reach the hair follicles can cause prickling sharp pains for some. Topical numbing creams can help relieve discomfort. Endorphins released after the first zap often lessen sensitivity to subsequent zaps.
  • Redness/Swelling – Skin around targeted hair follicles often become red, inflamed and raised right after treatment and may last a couple days as the damaged tissue recovers. Anti-inflammatory ointments aid healing.
  • Blistering – Rarely intense heat applied to the lower portions of hair follicles causes fluid pockets below skin surface. Avoiding too high thermolysis intensity prevents blistering.
  • Scabbing/Crusting – Similar to blister formations, overtreating areas can remove upper skin layers resulting in thick scab formation as skin regenerates. Careful power modulation prevents excess damage.
  • Skin Discoloration – With repeated irritation of a skin zone, post-inflammatory changes can darken areas. Strict sun avoidance for 48 hours after each session allows proper healing preventing pigmentation issues.

More serious problems like infection and scarring become risks if poor electrolysis techniques are used:

  • Inserting probe at angles tearing the skin or down hair shaft allows infectious bacteria down into the porous treatment trail left behind. Positioning probe precisely parallel to the follicle prevents openings for infection. Cleaning skin and tools for every probe insertion limits transmission of microbes.
  • Overlapping zaps too close together or concentrating treatment along the same vector planes gives too much current exposure to tissues unable to recover quickly. Careful spacing and modulating settings for complete healing between sessions avoids lasting damage.
  • Continuing electrolysis on inflamed, compromised skin risks adverse events. Monitoring skin tolerance and allowing proper recovery periods enhances safety over the many sessions completing treatment.

Using an experienced professional with extensive training minimizes any risks of electrolysis treatments. They tailor techniques to individual needs while carefully observing the skin’s biomarkers guiding the appropriate level of treatment.

Achieving Permanent Hair Removal Goals

Successfully eliminating unwanted hair growth through electrolysis requires understanding complete hair removal is a gradual process requiring patience and commitment over months to years depending on treatment areas and conditions.

Typically a minimum of 8 to 15 sessions are needed to achieve up to 90 percent permanent hair loss through electroysis. Due to variables in hair growth cycles, difficult to treat hairs may require occasional spot maintenance sessions over time as well.

The pace of treatment depends on goals balanced with budget and lifestyle considerations:

  • Weekly Sessions – Fastest path to furthest reduction by disabling hair follicles in all phases of growth. Allows observation of how skin responds to aggressive treatment schedule.
  • Twice Monthly Sessions – Slower progress with sessions spaced 2 weeks apart for complete healing cycles. Lower costs per month. Represents a typical comfortable schedule for many.
  • Monthly Maintenance – After clearing treated areas over months of regular sessions, monthly follow-ups target newly activated follicles. Keeps regrowth minimized without allowing reservoirs to expand.

Electrolysis works gradually because destroying hair follicle cells is never immediate. Treatments disable the structure and prime the papilla for shedding over the following week or two. Skipping sessions allows some recovery of function reverting benefits. Staying the course consistently over time ensures cumulative gains toward the ultimate goal of full and permanent removal.

Is Electrolysis Right For You?

Electrolysis can free individuals once and for all from hassles dealing with unwanted hair growth. The technique eliminates hairs from areas tolerating needle probe insertions through the skin’s surface. For dark coarse hairs contrasting fair complexions, electrolysis produces some of the best permanency results available.

The tradeoffs requiring consideration:

  • Time Commitment – Multiple sessions spaced weeks apart for months to years
  • Cost Investment – Budget for potentially hundreds of dollars over the full treatment course
  • Patience During Process – Gradual destruction of follicles prevents overnight success

Successful electrolysis patients value smooth skin and freedom from razors, waxing or photoepilation laser risks enough to take the slow path forward session by session. Partnering with a compassionate professional makes the process more bearable while moving toward the goal.

Hopefully this guide provided helpful information enlightening how electrolysis can enable you to achieve permanent hair removal through cumulative treatments over time. Consistency working with a great technician capable of targeting all your unwanted hairs ultimately brings the best results.

Finding the Right Electrolysis Provider

Choosing where to receive electrolysis treatments represents an important decision to achieve satisfactory outcomes over time. Beyond considering credentials and costs, the interpersonal connection with the technician rates as a top factor influencing experience.

The most talented electrolysis provider uses compassion to minimize discomfort to the greatest degree possible. They carefully listen and guide clients on best paths during consults.

Exceptional electrolysis technicians:

  • Customize Settings & Modalities – Carefully calibrate device power and probes based on hair qualities and trouble zones to optimize results.
  • Numb Sensitive Areas – Offer topical anesthetics, cooling devices, nerve blocking, adjustable table positions all toward increased comfort.
  • Employ Precision Techniques – Expert hair removal specialists demonstrate patience and proficiency handling probes to minimize skin intrusions.
  • Check-in Frequently – Ask for feedback on sensitivity levels during sessions tailoring the pace accordingly.
  • Suggest Lifestyle Tips – Provide aftercare advice on avoiding sun, anti-inflammatories, exfoliating that support the process between visits.
  • Educate at Every Step – Set expectations accurately for number of sessions, costs and timeline so clients stay motivated.
  • Develop Genuine Connections – Build rapport through empathy, compassion and clarity when communicating about intimate treatment areas.

Evaluate electrolysis clinics using free consultations. Prioritize practitioner expertise and emotional intelligence alongside the atmosphere of the treatment setting that feels most calming. Achieving permanent hair removal goals depends significantly on enjoying a collaborative relationship with the professional guiding your treatments consistently over time.

What Happens After Electrolysis Sessions

Typical aftercare following electrolysis involves letting treated hair follicles shed and allowing sufficient healing of the skin before additional sessions. Waiting at least 48 hours before washing or wearing tight garments over treated areas promotes healing.

Additional aftercare considerations:

Healing: Avoiding sun exposure, anti-inflammatory creams, exfoliating dead skin prevents lasting damage while soothing inflammation. Soreness and swelling may last up to several days.

Regrowth Prevention: Treated hairs shed between 5 to 14 days. Extracting dead hairs by tweezing or sugars (not shaving) clears pores allowing proper regeneration minimizing ingrown hairs.

Maintenance & Additional Sessions: Repeat sessions every 4 to 6 weeks disable newly activated follicles until achieving full clearance. Spot treatments address sparse regrowths in between.

Skin Tolerance: Multiple passes cause cumulative skin irritation for some. Alternate modalities, local numbing, smaller areas per session and increased recovery windows preserve tolerance for required sessions.

Lifestyle Adjustments: Tanning avoidance protects treated zones vulnerable to discoloration. Eliminating waxing/plucking permits hair cycling. Loose clothing prevents irritation and infection risks.

Communicating with technicians during check-ins about lingering inflammation, level of hair shedding or any concerns ensures subsequent sessions stay on track toward long term hair removal objectives.

Key Takeaways on Electrolysis For Unwanted Hair

In summary, essential information for individuals considering professional electrolysis includes:

  • It is the only evidence-based permanent hair removal option with predictable success removing dark, thick hairs from fair skin types.
  • Achieving up to 90 percent hair loss requires a commitment of least 8 to 15 spaced apart treatments over months as each follicle gets disabled.
  • Effectiveness peaks for small regions – coarse hairs on the face, neck, bikini areas. More diffuse zones become cost prohibitive.
  • Avoiding tanning between and before sessions minimizes post inflammatory pigment changes that discolor skin.
  • Choosing a compassionate, patient, highly trained technician with precision techniques ensures best experience.
  • Cost per session ranges $50 – $150+ depending on regional pricing, clinic quality, treatment duration and areas addressed.

While electrolysis limits suitability for large broad zones like full legs or backs, it excels at freeing small troublesome spots like the chin, lips, chest or fingers from hair hassles permanently. Investing time into gradual treatments session by session can pay off for the rest of your life.


Does electrolysis really permanently remove hair?

Yes, electrolysis remains the only evidence-based hair removal method that can permanently destroy hair follicles when performed correctly. Each hair gets treated individually with electric current or heat to disable it’s growth cells. Repeat treatments over all growth phases ultimately prevent regrowth.

How long does it take to complete electrolysis?

Most areas require a minimum of 8 to 15 spaced apart sessions to achieve up to 90% permanent hair loss. Difficult areas or hair types may need occasional touch up sessions over years. Consistency over many months allows cumulative progress toward elimination.

Does electrolysis work for blonde or gray hairs?

Electrolysis can work on all hair colors. But finer, lighter hairs often prove more challenging requiring more repeat treatments. Use of multi-modality device settings can aid destroying varying hair thicknesses and depths. Patients with darker hairs see fastest clearing.

How much does it cost per treatment?

Electrolysis session fees typically range from $50 to $150+ depending on regional averages, clinic quality differences, treatment duration and areas addressed. Larger areas cost more per session while smaller zones around lips or fingers hit lower price points.

Does electrolysis really permanently remove hair?

Yes, electrolysis remains the only evidence-based hair removal method that can permanently destroy hair follicles when performed correctly. Each hair gets treated individually with electric current or heat to disable it’s growth cells. Repeat treatments over all growth phases ultimately prevent regrowth.

What does electrolysis feel like?

Most describe sensations ranging from prickly heat to quick bee stings. Topicals, nerve blocks, adjustable settings make it very tolerable. Endorphins kick in reducing sensitivity over a session’s course. Precise probe work minimizes pain while destroying each follicle.


With over 100 years of safe and effective treatment for permanent hair removal, electrolysis empowers those looking to eliminate unwanted follicle growth hassles once and for all. While requiring substantial commitment across many months of gradually treatments, destroying hair germination cells yields lifelong smooth skin.

The only clinically substantiated approach generating permanent results, properly performed electrolysis frees patients from the endless cycles of temporary hair removal methods. Through carefully targeting and destroying the tiny dermal papilla structure that regenerates hairs, electrolysis provides the ultimate solution for silky, stubble-free skin regardless of environmental conditions.

But as a medical treatment directly penetrating into living dermal tissue, aggressive marketing programs promoting fast home electrolysis devices should incite wariness. Achieving therapeutic levels capable of disabling follicles while preserving healthy skin demands extensive practitioner expertise guiding precise movements and modulating intensities over long sessions – not grooming gadgets promising a quick fix.

Dr. Erika Salam (Derma)
Dr. Erika Salam (Derma)
DR Erika Salam is MD - Dermatology & VL, doctor at 𝙎𝙝𝙞𝙟𝙖 𝗨𝗿𝗯𝗮𝗻, loves to write about Skin and Hair problems on the web.

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