This information from the Association of Idaho Electroligists and Estheticians should be helpful.
The appearance of our hair and skin have a lot to say about the way we feel. Removing unwanted facial and body hair is an important part of good grooming. Since ancient times, people have cut, scraped, burned, shaved, waxed and used various methods to get rid of hair they did not want (only to see the hair stubbornly return.) Within the last 115 years doctors and engineers have discovered and perfected a way to remove hair forever. Referred to by it's original name, Electrolysis is the common terminology for the permanent removal of unwanted hair. If you are considering whether electrolysis is the answer you've been looking for, contact a licensed Electrologist for a consultation. Consultations are usually free. Your decision to listen to your Electrologist's counsel and follow the suggested treatment is a vital step that will help you in achieving your goal.
How Hair Grows
Our genetic make-up determines the characteristics we inherit. This includes whether or not we are hairy. In addition to an inherited hair pattern, certain periods in our lives may trigger hormone stimulation which can cause more hair to grow. These periods may include puberty, pregnancy, menopause and stress. Each hair passes through three stages of growth during it's lifetime. The hair itself originates from hair-germ- cells located in a hair follicle in the skin. Once the hair begins to grow, it is nourished by the papilla which is located just below the hair root and at the base of the follicle. Depending on the hair and follicle structure, it will take a hair from five to thirteen weeks to return once it is shed or epilated. These hair-germ-cells and the papilla are the target of your Electrologist's treatment. The goal is to disable the reproduction elements of the unwanted hair.
Galvanic current Electrolysis) and high frequency current (Thermolysis) are both called the generic name electrolysis and are the only approved methods recommended by the American Medical Association for the permanent removal of unwanted hair.
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Temporary Hair Removal Methods
Cutting and Shaving
Cutting and shaving are the most commonly used methods. They are safe simple, and short-term. Disadvantages are: the inconvenience of a daily shaving routine, skin irritation, and notice-ability ( five o'clock shadow). By cutting the tip of the hair off (hair which was above the skin's surface), the hair feels courser when it grows above the skin surface again, resulting in the feel of stubble.
Tweezing and Depilatory Waxing
Pulling the hair out forcibly from the follicle by tweezing or waxing is a violent assault on the hair follicle. The only real advantage of tweezing is temporary removal of hair. The hair may return to grow deeper and coarser in an attempt to prevent future attempts of removal. Tweezing hair is an injury to the body. When the body is injured the blood rushes to the area bringing white blood cells and nourishment. Therefore, we say tweezing always stimulates hair growth. Tweezing is the very least desirable method of temporary removal. Waxing is considered to be no different than multiple tweezing.
Eliminating hair with a depilatory cream is similar to shaving. It is accomplished with chemical action rather than with a razor or scissors. It removes hair without leaving noticeable stubble. Hair regrowth is delayed. Disadvantages include the ongoing cost of the depilatory product and chemical reactions to the skin. A dry weeping type of dermatitis may occur.
The electronic tweezers method is considered temporary hair removal by some professionals. Pending lawsuits may settle this controversy.
Laser Hair Removal
This is called permanent hair reduction, NOT PERMANENT HAIR REMOVAL. Lasers see the skin as a window and targets the pigment in dark roots of the hair. If the skin and the hair are similar in color Laser is not effective. This method only works if the hair is very dark and the skin is very light. After many Laser Hair Removal treatments electrolysis clean up is usually needed.
Permanent Hair Removal Modalities
Galvanic current (electrolysis) was discovered in 1875 and for many years was the only modality available. It is very effective but slow, causing it a reputation of being expensive. Galvanic current reacts with the moisture in the bottom of the hair follicle, creating a strong alkaline solution called sodium hydroxide, thus destroying the hair.
Thermolysis employs a high-frequency current. Thermolysis is faster than galvanic current but has some delayed regrowth. If regrowth occurs from a treated follicle, it is usually weaker and easier to destroy the next time. Staying committed to the series of treatments is important. Thermolysis is a heat treatment. Super sensitive clients usually prefer this modality.
The blend is a combination of Galvanic current and Thermolysis . The Blend offers the assurance of the Galvanic current with the speed of Thermolysis.
Galvanism, Thermolysis, and The Blend
All three methods cauterize the papilla and destroy the ability of the follicle to produce a new hair.
Permanence and Regrowth
Depending on the modality used, in most instances approximately 70 percent of the hair removed during the electrolysis treatment will never return, leaving about 30 percent regrowth. The regrowth hair has been weakened and will be noticeably finer than it's forerunner. The hair growth cycle makes it essential to establish a series of treatments (fine hairs may grow to become strong hairs.) It takes a series of treatments, approximately nine months for some, for others a year and a half or more for other dormant hairs to appear for treatment. Each person is unique, therefore, at best, we can only estimate how long it will take to be cleared of unwanted hair. Understanding the hair growth cycle and the hair removal treatment will help prevent discouragement halfway through the series of treatments. Heredity, hormones, stress, medications, life style and the endocrine system can effect hair growth. Any of these can have an impact on how long it will take to clear the hair. It is impossible to accurately estimate the length of time required to clear an area because everyone's system is unique to themselves.
We are all Different.
When the treatment is being administered in a hair follicle there is some sensation. The sensation is hardly noticeable to some people and attention-getting to others. Some say it feels similar to a mosquito bite. For most, the initial sensation will diminish within minutes after treatment is begun. There is a sensation of heat. Everyone has a different level of pain tolerance. Some clients find it easy to fall asleep, while others do not. There are things we can do to help the sensitive individual.
Take whatever you normally take for pain, 20 to 30 minutes before your treatment. It will help reduce uncomfortable sensations. Some people avoid the use of caffeine beverages (coffee, tea and pop) because this helps reduce their sensitivity to pain. If you are sensitive we use a topical anesthetic or if you are extra sensitive you can get from your Doctor, a prescription for Emla (a topical anesthetic cream you put on about one hour before your appointment).
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Avoid touching or picking at the treated area. Hands may carry germs which can irritate and contaminate. Do not use soap on the area for three days. If necessary, a clean ice pack, ice cube or cotton ball wet with antiseptic may be gently applied to keep the area clean and cool. We recommend using a water-soluble skin cleanser. Avoid make-up containing mineral oil, tight-fitting garments (bikini area) and sunbathing of the treated area for at least 48 hours. Each of these can irritate the skin or encourage contamination. If honey-colored crusts (lymph) appear, do not disturb them. They will disappear within a few days. A gentle shower may soften and soothe them.
Depending on the location of treatment and your circulation in the area, small red spots may be present immediately after treatment. Most of these will probably disappear within a short time. Some clients develop tiny honey-colored lymph crusts which will disappear within a few days. This is the body's way of healing itself. After the hair is permanently removed the skin typically takes on an even, smoother appearance, similar to skin in an area which is not hampered by unwanted hair.