What is electrolysis?

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Electrolysis for removing hair: Overview

Electrolysis is a common method of removing unwanted hair. A small needle or thin metal probe is inserted into the opening of the skin where hair grows (small sacs beneath the skin called hair follicles). Next, a low-level electrical current passes through the needle or probe into your skin and destroys the hair follicle. Hair is unable to grow back in an area where the follicle has been destroyed.

The process of electrolysis can be slow and can require several treatment sessions to destroy the hair follicles. Treatment can be uncomfortable. The destruction of each individual hair follicle may take a few seconds.

Electrolysis

Electrolysis is a method to remove hair permanently.

During electrolysis, a very thin probe is placed in the hair follicle and an electric current through the probe destroys the ability of that follicle to grow hair.

Removal of hair using electrolysis can take a long time because each hair follicle usually must be done one at a time. The process may be painful and difficult to do for large areas of dense hair.

How well does electrolysis for removing hair work?

When electrolysis is done correctly, it permanently removes unwanted hair. Successful hair removal depends on the skill of the person doing the electrolysis.

What are the risks of electrolysis for removing hair?

Electrolysis poses few risks in a healthy person. During treatment, you may feel some pain from the electrical current flow. After treatment, your skin may be red, swollen (inflamed), and tender. These are temporary side effects. Electrolysis can cause scarring, keloid scars, and changes in skin color of the treated skin in some people.

What can you expect as you recover from electrolysis for removing hair?

After electrolysis, your treated skin may temporarily be red, swollen, and tender. You may need additional treatments to permanently remove all unwanted hair. You should notice a loss of unwanted hair in the treated area within several weeks to months after the first treatment.

Why is electrolysis for removing hair done?

Electrolysis is done to permanently remove unwanted hair. It is commonly used to remove hair on the face (eyebrows, upper and lower lips, cheeks, chin, hairline, bridge of the nose between eyebrows, and sideburns) and also on the neck, shoulders, arms and underarms, breasts, abdomen, bikini line, legs, back, and chest.

Electrolysis should not be done on the inside of your ears or nose. It also should never be done to remove hair from a mole or a birthmark. If you have a pacemaker, you should not have electrolysis on any part of your body.

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The content above contains general health information provided by Healthwise, Incorporated, and reviewed by its medical experts. This content should not replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Not all treatments or services described are offered as services by us. For recommended treatments, please consult your healthcare provider.