Sunday, September 19, 2010

Electrology Hair Removal

Electrology is the practice of electrical epilation to permanently remove human hair. The actual process of removing the hair is referred to as electrolysis. The practitioner slides a solid hair-thin metal probe into each hair follicle. Proper insertion does not puncture the skin. Electricity is delivered to the follicle through the probe, which causes localized damage to the areas that generate hairs, either through the formation of caustic lye (galvanic method), overheating (thermolysis method), or both (blend method).

The practitioner selects a probe that slides easily into the hair follicle, usually the same diameter as the hair shaft or smaller. Care is given to insert the probe at the same angle as the hair is growing out of the skin. The power and duration of the electricity are started at the lowest setting, then titrated up until the hair comes out as easily as possible. If the patient experiences significant discomfort, the settings can be lowered.

Most practitioners will advise that complete removal of facial hair takes between 1 and 4 years, with an average treatment length of 2 years.

In the United States, electrolysis is regulated in many states, requiring training and licensure.

Electrolysis as a profession faced new competition in the 1990s after laser hair removal was developed and promoted as a quicker and easier way to remove hair. The Food and Drug Administration declared laser and similar devices can only claim to reduce hair growth, not permanently remove it. Many who have had laser surgery have noted that it seems to only shock the hair follicles into a temporary state of "hibernation," without permanently destroying them. Some laser or light treatments can permanently bleach the skin.

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