Before You Go
Questions to ask your doctor:
- Where were you licensed?
- How long have you been performing electrolysis?
- How long will it take me to treat my skin?
- If I'm unhappy with the results of electrolysis, can I use laser treatment afterward?
- Can I do anything in between electrolysis sessions to enhance the results of each treatment?
Pre-procedure prep for Electrolysis: In order to get electrolysis, enough hair will need to be visible above the surface of your skin to grab with a medical tweezer, so don't wax, shave, or tweeze beforehand. Do not bleach hair within 48 hours before treatment. For optimal results, shave three to four days prior to treatment.
On the day of treatment: Ideally, two to four millimeters of the hair will protrude from the skin on the day of treatment.
What To Expect
Electrolysis destroys hair at its source - the follicle. The device used in electrolysis, the epilator, delivers a heated electrical charge via a pore-sized metal needle to the hair follicle. Once the follicle is damaged, the hair can be readily removed with a special tweezer.
Your skin may appear to be red or bumpy right after, but it shouldn't be too drastic. There are three methods used to create a hair-frying reaction. Galvanic electrolysis uses an electrical current to create a chemical reaction between your skin's supply of salt and water. When they combine, they create sodium hydroxide-a chemical that kills the hair.
Thermolysis electrolysis (which also goes by the names diathermy or short wave) uses an electrical current that vibrates the skin's water molecules. The vibrations create heat, and the heat damages your hair. Blend electrolysis, as its name implies, relies on both a heat and chemical reaction.
Who should do it: Electrolysis should be performed in a regulated venue. If you're interested in electrolysis for hair removal, speak with your dermatologist or other physician. Even if they don't administer treatments, they can recommend a capable electrologist - someone who is licensed to treat unwanted hair with electrolysis.
Make sure to ask where your practitioner is licensed.
Duration: It'll depend on how many hairs you're removing and how large the treatment area is. A single hair can be removed quicker than you can say 'zap!' Your upper lip may take about 30 minutes.
How Painful Is It?
The epilation needle may be skinny, but electrolysis treatment can be very painful. Each jolt can feel like a bee sting. Electrolysis of the upper lip can be particularly agonizing, because the area under the nose is rife with nerve endings.
Options for anesthesia: Ask your electrologist about applying numbing cream before your appointment.