Questions and Answers about Electrolysis:
Q: What is Electrolysis?
A: Electrolysis utilizes a fine blunt needle that slides into the natural opening of the hair follicle (you don't get poked!). After the needle (or probe is another-more appropriate term, since a needle is usually sharp, and the probes I use are blunt) is at the correct depth for the particular type of hair you wish to have permanently removed, a small amount of electrical current is applied to permanently disable the ability of that follicle to produce another hair in the future (very, very small amount of current--you will not ever feel a "shock") After the follicle has been sufficiently treated, your electrologist will remove the hair.
We are all experienced, California licensed Electrologists. We practice to the highest standards of our field.
Q: What will my skin look like after a treatment?
A: Immediately after your treatment, your skin will sometimes be a little red (more so on light, or fair skinned people). This can be eliminated quickly by applying ice immediately after the treatment. For most clients their skin is back to normal color within 15 minutes or so. If you stay red longer, let your electrologist know! I have ice available in my office to apply immediately if necessary.
Q: Why choose electrolysis instead of waxing, tweezing, or laser hair removal?
A: If you want permanent hair removal, electrolysis is still the only way to achieve your goal.
Q: I thought Laser treatments were permanent! Why do you say they are not?
A: Some lasers are allowed to claim 'permanent hair reduction'--that's not the same as Permanent Hair removal! Don't take my word for it. Ask the FDA. If you e-mail, call, or write to them about any laser system on the market, and ask them if it will provide permanent hair removal, they will respond that no laser is approved to make that claim. The first laser approved for use in hair removal was in 1996 (note: this does not say "permanent hair removal"! ). The FDA has only approved some lasers for the use of the term "permanent hair reduction". I can tell you that none of my clients would be satisfied to pay that much money to have their problem merely "reduced". And I have several former laser clients that spent anywhere from $400 to $3000 to have their hair removed with a laser, only to find their hair return. The FDA information: HERE. You can also visit a great website developed by Andrea James; as a transgender male to female she experienced first hand and through her contacts second hand the trials and tribulations women go through in having unwanted hair removed by every possible method. She discusses the various methods, their usefulness, and saves you the trouble and money of using useless products/treatments. www.hairfacts.com
See also my laser tab for up to date laser information (each kind and it's efficacy is detailed.)
Q: Some laser websites claim that electrolysis is painful. Is that true?
A: Electrolysis feels different to everyone. I can't tell you how often my new clients say, "I thought this was going to hurt!" The honest answer is, electrolysis can be uncomfortable, or not uncomfortable at all! I have clients that must use a topical anesthetic to stand the treatment, and others that I treat the most sensitive of areas and they can talk to me, or fall asleep. You won't know which you are until you give it a try. Most electrologists offer a free consultation to try a few hairs. Some electrologists make fair claim to being "gentle". If you try one electrologist, and you find it overly painful, try another! Electrolysis is an art and a science. To produce permanent hair removal, enough current must be applied in the follicle to sufficiently disable it. But using the Blend Method of electrolysis, we have control over the length of time we stay in the follicle (usually seconds). If you find it uncomfortable, the current can be lowered, and applied for a few more seconds to still completely destroy the follicle. If an electrologist is not very skilled, he/she may not be inserting the probe properly (too shallow or too slanted are two common errors). This can lead to unnecessary discomfort. Using the new topical anesthetics EMLA, generic for EMLA (Rx necessary), or LMX (non-Rx) any treatment can be performed comfortably...but try it without, first--a majority of my clientèle don't use any topical anesthetic, it's just not usually any more uncomfortable than tweezing.
Q: What do doctors think about electrolysis?
A: Unfortunately for the consumer, some doctors are not very familiar with any hair removal methods. Others refer to their local electrologist. The best doctor for this information is an endocrinologist--endocrinologists specifically deal with hormonal problems, and women's hormonal problems quite often lead to facial hair growth (along with other areas of growth). There are a few websites available from doctor offices or groups that are in this arena.
One is www.hormonehelpny.com (run by a wonderful, caring endocrinologist--I highly recommend his book if you think you have a hormone problem of any sort). Another site that is HONcode approved is: www.medicinenet.com/electrolysis/article.html
(HONcode approval is a good way to verify medical information you get off of the web is legitimate; HONcode info www.hon.ch/visitor.html
A: I heard it takes a lot of treatments to get rid of the hair...isn't laser or waxing faster?
Q: They sure are... but faster is not the same as permanent. You are looking for a permanent hair removal solution for your problem. Yes, Electrolysis will take a few to many treatments (depending on area and amount of hair). Body hair not caused by a hormone problem (most bikini-line hair, underarm hair, breast hair, and stomach hair) will take a number of treatments to get through all of the hair cycles until every follicle has been treated. But then this area will remain hair free forever. This will normally take anywhere from 9 months to 24 months--frequency of visits being the key factor here. Women's facial hair, or other hormonal hair problems can be expected to be brought under control (removal of the coarse hairs). Depending on what is causing your facial hair problem in the first place, some clients will need electrolysis treatments off and on for the rest of their lives. This is because although we do permanently remove the hair follicles we treat, fine vellus hair that is not coarse at the initial treatments can coarsen up over time with the hormonal influences that caused the original problem. Many women choose to find out what caused their hormonal hair problem in the first place, and get that part of their problem under control--then they will need significantly fewer electrolysis treatments over the course of their lives to remain coarse hair free.
A: Is electrolysis expensive?
Q: Compare apples to apples. Electrolysis is the permanent hair removal solution to your unwanted hair growth problem. If you pay $25-35 to have your lip waxed every month, you can pay that for the rest of your life. Or you can pay $30-$40 to have an electrolysis treatment on your lip, and after 5 to 12 (average treatment times for lip), you will need very little future hair removal ( probably some fine vellus hairs will eventually coarsen up over time--remember we can't remove hair that isn't there to remove!).
If you have your underarms waxed every 5 weeks at $30-45 a session, that is about $300-450 a year. If you ever stop, it all comes back. Electrolysis on the underarms can take anywhere from 9 hours to 30 hours that is $585 to $1950 spread out over however many month/years you want-but the majority of the hair is removed forever, and eventually the area remains hair free, forever. (There is a big variation in amounts of hair women have in their armpits, that is why it can 9 to 30 hrs.).
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