ElectrolysisElectrolysis is the ONLY method of permanent hair removal.
Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Electrolysis
Curious about Electrolysis? Find the answers to our most frequently asked questions below.
What is Electrolysis?
Electrolysis is the ONLY METHOD of PERMANENT hair removal.
Electrolysis, performed with precision by a conscientious electrologist, will permanently remove unwanted hairs. The procedure involves inserting a fine probe into the natural opening of the hair follicle, alongside the unwanted hair. A current is released, destroying the growth cells of the hair and preventing the follicle from producing another hair. After treatment the hair is removed gently with forceps.
Electrolysis was invented in 1875 by an ophthalmologist, Dr. Charles Michel of St. Louis, Missouri. Some of his patients were suffering from painful ingrown eyelashes. He discovered that inserting a probe into the hair follicle and releasing an electrical charge destroyed the growth cells in the hair follicle, preventing the reproduction of hair from that treated follicle.
Dr. Michel realized that his technique could be used on most areas of the body where women and men had unwanted hair. Many years of research and technical improvements have brought us to where electrolysis is today.
Today electrolysis is the only process for PERMANENT HAIR REMOVAL to be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
There are three different forms of electrolysis practiced today: Galvanic, Thermolysis and Blend. Thermolysis and blend are the most commonly used.
Galvanic: Galvanic is the original form of electrolysis. The galvanic method uses direct current to create lye when it comes in contact with the body fluids found in the follicle. The lye destroys the target area by chemical decomposition.
Thermolysis: Thermolysis uses the short wave current (also known as alternating current or high frequency current). Heat is created in the follicle and coagulation destroys the target area.
Blend: Blend combines the use of both galvanic (direct) and thermolysis (alternating) currents simultaneously or sequentially to destroy the target area by coagulation and chemical reaction.
All three forms of electrolysis are equally effective and will produce permanent results when a qualified and conscientious electrologist performs treatments.
At Caress we primarily use thermolysis as we find that it is the fastest and our clients find it is the gentlest method. Our epilators are able to perform any mode of electrolysis. If you have a preference, we can accommodate your request.
How is Electrolysis Performed?
An electrologist gently slides a fine disposable and sterilized probe, approximately the diameter of the hair, into the natural opening of the hair follicle alongside the unwanted hair. Once the probe is in place at the target area of the hair follicle, a current is released. The current, a minute pulse of electrical energy, is released through the probe destroying the growth cells and preventing that follicle from producing another hair.
Is Electrolysis Really Permanent?
Yes! For more than 125 years, electrolysis has been proven to be the only safe, permanent method of hair removal. In addition, it is the only method approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for PERMANENT HAIR REMOVAL.
What is the Difference Between Electrolysis and Laser Treatments?
Electrolysis is the only method of permanent hair REMOVAL approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA has approved laser only for permanent hair REDUCTION. A particular laser must only achieve a 20 percent reduction in hair growth or texture in order to be approved.
Electrolysis can remove all types of hair from any area of the body, regardless of skin colour, or whether the hair is fine or coarse, light or dark in colour.
Laser is most effective on fair-skinned people with dark, coarse hair. Laser can’t be used on all areas of the body, especially around the eye area. Laser is not effective on white, grey, blonde or fine hairs, nor is it appropriate for darker-skinned people. Laser is also not effective for those suffering from polycystic ovarian syndrome.
Consumers should be leery when an advertisement sounds too good to be true. Many products advertise to give you the impression that they are permanent. Some use misleading terms such as “the most effective method of hair removal” or “like electrolysis without the needle.” Other advertisements actually use the word “permanent” and will continue to do so until they are reported.
If you see a misleading advertisement you may contact the Director of Investigation and Research:
The Information Centre Competition Bureau Industry Canada
Toll free: 1-800-348-5358
What Sensation Will I Feel During the Electrolysis Treatment?
The electrologist will gently slide a fine probe into the hair follicle beside the hair. Once the probe is in place, a minute current will be released causing a warm sensation. The current will be adjusted to the texture of the hair, the area being treated and the comfort level of the client. Each individual has different levels of pain tolerance and some areas may be more sensitive than others. A sample treatment will be performed during your FREE consultation so you will be able to determine for yourself how the treatment feels to you. If a client finds the treatment uncomfortable there are options to make the treatments virtually sensation free.
The first option is to apply a topical anesthetic (Emla or Maxilene) prior to the electrolysis treatment. These products can be purchased from our clinic or at the pharmacy. No prescription is required. The client applies the anesthetic on the area one hour prior to the treatment time. The topical anesthetic reduces the sensation from 50 to 100 percent in most cases if applied properly.
The second option is used primarily on the upper lip area. Your dentist, or a dentist located nearby, will freeze your upper lip for a small fee prior to your electrolysis treatment. We usually recommend that you extend your treatment time for electrolysis since you will be frozen for at least one hour. Many clients who are nervous or particularly sensitive find this solution wonderful because they can relax during the electrolysis treatment and get the area cleared up faster.
How Many Electrolysis Treatments will I Need?
The length of appointment and the number of treatments necessary will vary with each client. Many factors will determine how many treatments you will need, for example ethnic background, hair texture, density, the area being treated and temporary methods previously used.
An estimate will be given during the consultation after the electrologist examines the area and performs a sample treatment to determine the strength of your hair.
The larger the area and the more dense the hair growth, the longer the treatments should be. The time the client has available, the tolerance level and financial resources are all taken into consideration.
The experience and skill of the electrologist and the technology used may also determine the number of treatments needed. The gender, ethnic origin and age of the client, as well as the coarseness of the hair and whether the hair is straight or curly are all deciding factors. Previous methods of temporary hair removal used and the cause of hair growth will also affect the number of treatments required.
How are Electrolysis Treatments Charged?
Electrolysis treatments are charged by the length of time. The size and density of the area to be treated will determine the cost. Most clients are pleasantly surprised at the affordability of electrolysis. Remember that electrolysis is a lifetime investment and is the ONLY method of permanent hair removal.
Many electrolysis clients are interested in removing unwanted hair on smaller areas such as upper lip, eyebrows and chin. Usually we treat these areas in 15-minute treatment sessions. We can, however, treat any area on the body, including larger areas such as underarms, bikini lines, legs and backs. For larger areas we recommend one-hour treatments. Caress Electrolysis offers prepaid cards, which reduce the price of the pay as you go rate. Please see our rates here.
What Areas Can be Treated by Electrolysis?
Any area where women and men have unwanted hair may be treated successfully with electrolysis.
The most common areas treated on women are their face, such as their upper lip, chin/neck, sides and brows. Frequently we treat body areas on women such as the bikini line, underarms, tummy, chest and breast. Also unwanted hairs on areas such as fingers, toes, arms, back, nape, forehead, buttocks and legs can be successfully removed by electrolysis.
The most common areas treated on men are the eyebrows, cheekbones, ears, nostrils and neck. Other areas men want treated include their shoulders and backs.
What Causes Unwanted Hair Growth?
Unwanted hair growth is usually caused by one of three general categories:
- Congenital: genetic hair patterns we are born with.
- Systemic: caused by hormonal changes and glandular problems.
- Topical: caused by temporary methods of hair removal such as tweezing and irritation to the skin.
Congenital patterns are what we are born with. They are pre-established patterns for hair growth that we inherit from our parents. Congenital patterns determine the colour, quantity and type of hair we will have.
Systemic problems cause abnormal hair growth, which is directly associated with the endocrine system. Disease, polycystic ovarian syndrome, cysts, malfunction of glands and illness can adversely affect the production of hormones resulting in the growth of superfluous hair. Some surgical procedures like hysterectomies and medications such as steroids and birth control pills may affect the hormone balance producing unwanted hair.
Topical causes are the body’s way of defending the epidermis from irritation. Sustained irritation almost always stimulates hair in the immediate vicinity to grow deeper and coarser, creating a mat of hair that covers the skin and protects against irritation. Whenever there is irritation, there is an increase in blood supply that reaches the hair follicles giving that hair more nourishment and usually producing a stronger hair. One common irritant is continuous tweezing or waxing. Moles and scars also have an increase of capillaries nourishing them, producing more noticeable hairs in that region.
Are there any Risks from Having Electrolysis Treatments?
For most healthy people there is absolutely no risk. Electrolysis has been performed safely for over 100 years for many satisfied clients. The electrologist will review your medical history and any medications you are taking, and address any concerns during the free consultation.
Clients who have a pacemaker device require their doctor’s permission before proceeding with electrolysis treatments. Anyone with a serious health problem should speak with their physician before beginning electrolysis treatments. A doctor’s note is necessary before beginning electrolysis treatments on any mole. Electrolysis using the thermolysis method is safe during pregnancy.
Caress Electrolysis maintains strict sterilization procedures to ensure the safety of all its clients. Probes are discarded and forceps sterilized after each use.
How Do I Select an Electrologist?
Select your electrologist very carefully. In Canada the electrolysis profession is not well regulated. A person may practice electrolysis without any formal training or diploma. Take the time to investigate an electrologist and educate yourself. Start by booking a consultation. Visiting the office allows you to observe the cleanliness and privacy of the clinic and any other concerns you may have. The electrologist you choose will determine the success of your electrolysis treatments.
The effectiveness of electrolysis is determined by the skill, expertise and precision of the electrologist performing the procedure. The electrologist’s at Caress Electrolysis are all certified and conscientious and the majority of the electrologist’s have several years of experience. With the state of art equipment they are able to perform electrolysis effectively and gently. Most of the electrologist’s at Caress were former satisfied electrolysis clients themselves and have chosen this career to help others in similar situations.
Caress Electrolysis prices are competitive with other clinics. There are costs to maintaining infection control procedures, updating and maintaining equipment and premises, and keeping up to date with new procedures and equipment.
All electrologists should follow stringent sterilization procedures according to Health Canada. At Caress we use sterilized disposable probes and sterilize our forceps between each use. Disposable or laundered towels are placed under a client so bare skin does not come in contact with the surface of the lounge bed. Alcohol and creams are stored in a container that does not allow cross contamination and new cotton swabs are used each time an alcohol or cream container is used.
The use of microscopes in electrolysis is a recent technology allowing the operator a superior view of the hair follicle. The cost of this technology is very high and therefore you will only see the use of microscopes in well-established, upscale offices such as Caress. The magnification and light source during epilation leave no doubt that this piece of equipment is absolutely necessary to have comfortable, cost-effective treatments.
What are your Sterilization Procedures?
At Caress Electrolysis we take stringent sterilization and sanitation procedures seriously. We use a new sterile disposable probe on each client, disposing of the probe a sharps container after each use. Forceps are sterilized between uses in accordance with Health Canada. At Caress we all wear a new pair of disposable gloves for each client.
Caress Electrolysis is a member of the Canadian Organization of Professional Electrologists (COPE). COPE was the first electrolysis organization to approach the Government of Canada’s Health Department to aid in the enforcement of proper sanitization and sterilization procedures for electrologists. The premises at Caress are inspected on a regular basis by a public health inspector from the City of Ottawa Public Health Branch.
What Questions Should I Ask During my Consultation?
After a thorough consultation, you should be able to ask questions not covered or issues you aren’t clear on concerning the procedure. The electrologist will answer all of your questions to put your mind at ease and demystify all myths concerning electrolysis. Some questions you may consider asking, if not covered during the consultation, include:
1. Do you use disposable probes and sterilize your forceps?
Sterilized probes, disposed after each treatment is the ONLY acceptable answer. Forceps must be sterilized before reuse and a new pair of disposable gloves must be worn for each client. A sharps container must be used to safely store the used probes.
2. Where and when did you graduate in electrolysis?
In Canada, electrolysis may be practiced without any formal training or diploma. As a result, ask to see an electrolysis certificate if one is not on display in the office. Also ask if the electrologist is continuing her education and training through seminars and workshops. An electrologist should also be affiliated with a certified electrolysis organization to keep abreast of upcoming training seminars, new procedures and techniques. Caress Electrolysis is a member of the Canadian Organization of Professional Electrologists (COPE).
3. What is cost of the treatments?
The cost and length of the treatments should be discussed to ensure you are able to continue through the entire treatment process at an affordable rate. Caress offers prepaid cards which reduce the pay as you go rate.
4. What are the business hours of the clinic?
The clinic hours must be convenient for you to proceed with your treatment in a timely manner. Caress Electrolysis regular working hours are Monday to Thursday, Friday from 9am to 6pm and Saturday from 9am to 4pm, although we may be able to start earlier or stay later in order to accommodate your schedule.
5. Is your equipment modern?
The equipment should be up to date and in good repair. The use of a microscope and its light source is a superior method to view the hair follicles compared to the older magnifying glass, which was widely used in the past. The microscope at Caress makes the treatments more precise and comfortable for the client resulting in better and faster results.