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Electrolysis can accomplish what tweezing, waxing, and bleaching can't - the permanent removal of the shadow above your lip or your caterpillar brows.

By Zeel Editorial Staff, Last updated: June 26, 2012

Treatment Basics

Regulatory approval: Electrolysis is the only FDA approved technique for permanent hair removal.

Electrolysis can accomplish what tweezing, waxing, and bleaching can't - the permanent removal of the shadow above your lip or your caterpillar brows. Hair removal is much like a game of whack-a-mole: you get rid of one, and another hair sprouts almost instantly.

Razors can shorten unwelcome strands, and tweezers can pluck hairs. But these are temporary removal methods - these hairs are destined to grow back. Electrolysis is the only technique known to remove hair permanently, though the treatments can be quite literally shocking (after all, it's electric!).

Electrolysis was first used in 1875 to eliminate irritating eyelashes. Since its invention, three variations have come to light. All three methods have the same goal, ultimately damaging the surrounding blood vessels that encourage hair growth. Squelch the blood supply, and you squelch the hair's life support.

What It's Good For

From straggling chin hairs to unkempt bikini lines, electrolysis leaves no hair unburned. Just don't zap nose or ear hair - for this kind of growth, laser is better.

Recommended Uses
Name Description Cost
Unwanted hair Electrolysis is the only hair removal method to be certified as permanent by the FDA. It destroys hair at its root by frying it with an electrical pulse, transmitted through a tiny needle...more Electrolysis costs between $100 and $200 per treatment (depending on the length of treatment.)

Who it works for: Each hair should stick up about two to four millimeters above the skin, so if you're a perpetual waxer, you'll need to wait until the hair grows back. People of any skin shade and hair color can receive the treatment.

Recommended age range: Hair growth begins with puberty and doesn't slow until menopause. Electrolysis can be used to remove hair at any age, but a responsible physician will require parental consent for individuals under 18.

When will I see results?: Treating fine hairs that grow on your upper lip may take six to 10 treatments. Eliminating particularly stubborn hair, or especially thick or extensive hair growth, can take weekly sessions for two or three years.

How long it lasts: Electrolysis is intended to be permanent, but that doesn't mean regrowth is impossible. To achieve permanent results, you'll need to endure at least four electrolysis sessions. (You could require as many as 30 for more stubborn stalks of hair!) With each zap, the blood supply to the follicle diminishes. Each time the follicles are fried, your hair should lighten and lessen until it disappears altogether. Electrolysis may leave your skin red or bumpy afterwards.

Key benefits of Electrolysis: Very pale body hair often can't be affected by laser hair removal because it doesn't have enough melanin (color) for the laser to target. Electrolysis can successfully remove white and light hair. It is the only permanent form of hair removal.

Licensed uses: Electrolysis is the only FDA-approved method of permanent hair removal.

Did you know?: Between treatments, resist the temptation to tweeze stray hairs. Tweezing can distort hair follicles, making electrolysis more difficult and painful. Shave the hair instead.

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