Just a few decades ago, when someone was looking for permanent hair removal, their mother, aunt, or a lady at the hair salon would discreetly advise them about electrolysis and would slip them the name of their electrologist. But these days it seems like nobody is talking about electrolysis… but they should be!
Electrolysis is the only truly permanent form of hair removal and it’s absolutely the best choice for eliminating unwanted hair, especially as a permanent solution for unwanted facial hair. So let’s talk about it:
Old Hollywood Beauty Secrets
How do you think stars like Marilyn Monroe, Rita Hayworth, and Audrey Hepburn had such flawless, hairless skin? They certainly weren’t born that way! With all of those hot lights on movie sets, you can be sure that even peach fuzz and stray hairs would have been glaringly obvious on camera.
To get that smooth, hairless look, these women underwent hair removal treatments as part of their beauty regimens, but it certainly wasn’t laser hair removal—laser wasn’t even discovered until 1963 and didn’t become popular until the 80s. These famous ladies were flawless thanks to electrolysis!
Rita Hayworth, one of the most popular pin-up models of all time, actually underwent electrolysis treatments to adjust her hairline and change the look of her face. Back in Old Hollywood, beauty ideals were quite different and Rita, born Margarita Carmen Cansino, was of Spanish descent. She was already beautiful but she decided to change her characteristically-Latina lower hairline and become a redhead. By the end of her electrolysis treatments, her hairline was an inch higher and her new look helped launch her career.
The Only Permanent Hair Removal
Everyone used to get electrolysis, and it worked. In fact, it’s still the only truly permanent hair removal because it’s the only solution that targets hair follicles individually to ensure they never come back.
So why isn’t everyone talking about electrolysis? This silence is partially leftover from those old days of unwanted hair being a taboo subject. In your grandmother’s time, it wasn’t ladylike to speak openly about hair removal, especially in regards to unsightly facial hair. It’s time we changed that.
In more recent years, the laser hair removal industry has put out a lot of expensive campaigns to promote laser treatments and educate the public. While all that publicity has broken down some of the taboos concerning hair removal, not all these taboos have completely gone away just yet.
For instance, contemporary hair removal campaigns have focused particularly on underarm and leg hair removal, which people find easier to talk about. After all, everyone has armpit and leg hair, so it’s not as embarrassing to discuss. But when it comes to facial hair removal, people are often still very shy. The laser hair industry also hasn’t focused on facial hair in most of their marketing campaigns because laser treatments are generally not nearly as effective or permanent as electrolysis.
What Is Electrolysis?
Electrolysis is the only proven, permanent method of hair removal. It’s an effective procedure that can be used for all skin and hair types and can be safely used on any part of the body to eliminate unwanted hair.
In an electrolysis session, a professional electrologist will insert an incredibly thin metal probe into each hair follicle. Depending on the method of electrolysis, a small electrical current and/or radio frequency energy is passed through the probe, permanently destroying the follicle cells at the root. After the hair follicle has been effectively treated, you will never have to worry about hair regrowth from that follicle again.
Electrolysis has been used safely since 1875. Even with evolving beauty standards, the hunt for permanent hair removal has been around for a very long time. With electrolysis, you’ll find an established, permanent hair removal solution that will give you the long term results you’re looking for.
There are three recognized methods of electrolysis, all with equal effectiveness.
Galvanic: The original method of electrolysis is galvanic electrolysis. This uses an electrical current to stimulate a chemical reaction in the hair follicle, creating a tiny amount of lye that destroys the hair follicle cells.
Thermolysis: Another method of permanent hair removal is thermolysis electrolysis, which involves using radiofrequency energy to generate a tiny burst of heat that destroys the follicle cells.
The Blend: Both galvanic and thermolysis methods of hair removal can also be blended to work together. The RF energy of the thermolysis method heats the lye generated by the galvanic method, destroying the follicle cells.
Is Electrolysis Safe?
In the hands of a qualified professional, electrolysis is absolutely safe and permanent. A skilled and experienced electrologist should be trained to insert the probe into the hair follicle without damage or irritation to the surrounding tissue.
In Canada, the practice of electrolysis is overseen by the Federation of Canadian Electrolysis Associations, aka FCEA. FCEA is a non-profit, federally chartered corporation dedicated to promoting professionalism and education in the field of permanent hair removal. When choosing to work with an electrologist we recommend that you ensure they are members of the FCEA. In Ontario, you can find the directory of certified electrologists here.
Electrolysis vs. Laser Hair Removal
In the United States, only electrolysis is backed by the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a solution for permanent hair removal. Laser hair removal is not recognized by the FDA.
In Canada, like with many esthetics, electrolysis is not regulated but those who practice electrolysis diligently obtain the CCE or CPE designation. This demonstrates to their clients that they have the certified professional ability and perform within Canadian health and safety standards.
While laser hair removal can be effective in reducing the amount of hair growth in large areas, like on your legs, it can’t get all of the hair follicles because it’s not targeted. When it comes to targeted hair removal, like unwanted hair on your face, electrolysis is the only proven permanent hair removal solution.
For facial hair, electrolysis is almost always the best solution for permanent hair removal. For larger areas, like your legs and under arms, you may choose to have laser treatments to reduce the amount of hair and then have electrolysis done to eliminate the stubborn hairs that laser won’t permanently eliminate.
What to Expect at Your First Electrolysis Appointment
Before you begin treatment, you should always have a consultation with your electrologist to go over timing expectations and the long-term plan to achieve your desired results. Depending on your unique individual needs, it can take several appointments over the course of months to clear a larger area of hair growth. Treatment times vary for every individual.
Over the course of your electrolysis treatments, the hair in the targeted areas should thin and become lighter until, finally, the hair vanishes completely.
The big question that many people ask is, does electrolysis hurt? Your reaction to electrolysis can depend on your pain tolerance level, but because the target area of each hair follicle is miniscule, most people find the sensation to be very manageable.
When the electrical current passes through the probe, you may feel a hot, pinching sensation. There should be minimal discomfort throughout the procedure, depending on the area of the skin being treated. Some areas may be more sensitive than others, but the experience should never be painful. If you are experiencing any major pain or discomfort, inform the practitioner and cease the treatment immediately.
When compared to laser hair removal, most people find that electrolysis hurts far less because the target area is so tiny compared to the much larger area that the laser targets. And unlike laser, which will help reduce the overall hair in the area but cannot get all of it, the targeted hair in an electrolysis treatment will be eliminated permanently. So with electrolysis, you can be sure that the tiny zap of discomfort is not just reducing hair growth but stopping the hair permanently from regrowing.
After your electrolysis treatment, you may experience some skin sensitivity and redness. This should fade within a few hours.
How Many Electrolysis Treatments Will Be Necessary?
The number of electrolysis treatments required can depend on the amount of hair in the areas treated. Generally, it can take a few appointments over the course of a couple of months to clear a larger area of all hair growth. Keep in mind that as some hair follicles are stopped, new follicles can also arise as a result of hormones, but over the course of your electrolysis treatments, the hair in the targeted areas should thin and become lighter until, finally, the hair vanishes completely.
Before you begin treatment, you should always consult with your electrologist to come up with a long-term plan that will give you the results you desire in the least amount of time possible.
Electrolysis & Hair Removal for Transgender Women
If you are transgender and looking a safe and permanent hair removal, you should definitely include electrolysis as part of your journey. Being able to control hair and limit hair growth in unwanted places is very important and electrolysis is a necessary part of bringing hair in unwanted places down to zero.
Many people choose a combination of electrolysis (especially for the face) and laser hair removal for larger areas. The laser will help to reduce the overall hair growth while the electrolysis will permanently remove more stubborn hairs.
Say Goodbye to Unwanted Hair Forever
If you’re bothered by unwanted hair, especially facial hair, electrolysis is a convenient and cost-effective way to achieve the smooth, hairless look you desire with lasting, permanent results. So let’s end the taboo and start talking about electrolysis openly because it’s definitely something that everyone should know about!
Looking for an electrologist in Ontario? Click here to browse the directory of certified members of the FCEA Ontario chapter.