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The Pros and Cons of Electrolysis

By Megan Halloway

Electrolysis is a method by which body hair is removed. It can be performed on any part of the body except the ears and the inside of the nose. Women often have electrolysis done on their bikini area, underarms, tummy, breasts, chin, brows, and upper lip, although hair can also be removed on the toes, arms, forehead, buttocks and legs. Many men also use electrolysis to remove unwanted hair on their eyebrows, cheekbones, neck, but especially their shoulders and backs. Electrolysis can be arduous in that each individual hair must receive treatment. The treatment consists of a trained practitioner inserting a needle under the skin. An electric current passes through the hair follicle, damaging it.

It is believed that experiments involving electronial epilation (the removal of hair) were taking place as long ago as the Civil War era. Dr. Charles E. Michel (himself an ophthalmologist) reported in the St. Louis Clinical Record in 1875 of the first successful permanent hair epilation by electrolysis. Since then, electrolysis has become quite popular.

Is electrolysis for you?

You should compare the pros and cons of receiving electrolysis before you make that decision. What are some of the advantages of using electrolysis for permanent hair removal? Perhaps the strongest case for using electrolysis for hair removal is that is has the best record of accomplishment for results. For over one hundred and twenty five years, practitioners have been removing hair safely and effectively. In fact, electrolysis is the only method approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a way to remove hair permanently. While some hair may grow back and require additional treatments, that hair is often thinner and lighter. Studies have shown that more than 90% of clients are happy with their electrolysis results.

While the advantages to having electrolysis are huge, a couple of smaller disadvantages may prevent some people off from trying it. One disadvantage is the cost involved. Electrolysis can be very expensive. The average cost of a one-hour electrolysis session is generally between $50 and $60. Remember, however, that during this one-hour session, each hair follicle has to be individually treated. Electrolysis sessions are often broken down into fifteen, thirty, and forty-five minute sessions as well, making them a bit more affordable. You may also get a discount by purchasing a package of two or more hours. Because it is not possible to remove the hair permanently in one treatment, you will need to have additional treatments. How many treatments you need is determined by many things including hair growth cycles, heredity, hormone function, and stress. The average cost of a complete treatment of your legs ranges between $1000 and $3000.

Another disadvantage of electrolysis is that it can be painful and there is a risk of scarring. The sensation of pain depends on each person's pain threshold, but there is a feeling of a pinprick and of course, some areas of the body are more sensitive than other areas. Some people compare the pain of electrolysis to that of plucking a hair with a pair of tweezers. While scarring is not common, there is always a risk. Pitted scarring often occurs when flash thermolysis electrolysis is used on thick, deeply rooted hair as opposed to shallow, thin hair. Finding a qualified practitioner with years of experience should reduce the risk of scarring.

When considering electrolysis, there are several things you should ask the practitioner. Ask if they use needle electrolysis. This has a much higher success rate than those that use the electric tweezers or photoepilators. Ask how many clients they have treated and how long they have been in business. Finally, ask their qualifications and training for being a practitioner. One third of the states in the U.S. do not require a certification for electrologists. However, you can research the Internet to find whether your state is one that requires certification. If it is, the practitioner should have the certificate prominently displayed.

Some people are not good candidates for electrolysis. People with a pacemaker cannot receive electrolysis. Those with diabetes or other serious health problems should always contact their physician before seeking electrolysis treatments to make sure it is safe. Electrolysis is safe for women who are pregnant as long as the thermolysis mode is used.

The decision to have electrolysis is a personal one. While it may require money and time, many people feel that the removal of hair boosts their self-esteem such, that it is well worth it.

About The Author
Megan Halloway is a cosmetologist specializing in hair removal.

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