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FAQS

These frequently asked questions are based on common questions asked of electrologists. The information below is not intended to provide a diagnosis or define a treatment. Please consult your licensed professional electrologist before selecting a course of treatment.

1. What is electrolysis?

Electrology is the science of permanent hair removal. Using state-of-the-art technology, a minute amount of electricity is gently applied to the base of the hair follicle. This process destroys the hair growth tissue. Therefore, the regenerative ability of the hair follicle is permanently eliminated.

The term electrolysis is used to describe all methods of permanent hair removal consisting of Galvanic, Thermolysis and the Blend. The Galvanic electrolysis modality was the first method used to remove hair permanently back in 1875. The term electrolysis branded the process of permanent hair removal.

An electrologist inserts a very fine needle into the natural opening of the hair follicle (the pore) alongside the hair shaft. A minute amount of current is then applied to destroy the hair growth cells.

The medical device used, called an epilator, destroys growth cells with chemical and/or heat energy. The modality used is the preference of the professional electrologist.

There are three modalities used today that fall under the heading of electrolysis:

  • Galvanic electrolysis is a chemical process. The current produces a chemical reaction with the salt and water fluid in the base of the follicle eliminating the hair growth cells. Multiple needle galvanic electrolysis can utilize up to 16 needles simultaneously.
  • Thermolysis (short-wave or flash) produces heat. When this modality is used it heats and destroys the hair growth cells in the follicle. This modality can be utilized in two ways: (1) the shortwave current is used at a lower intensity and longer timing. (2) the flash method of Thermolysis uses high intensity current for less time in the follicle.
  • The Blend method combines galvanic current with Thermolysis current. Thermolysis heats up the chemical reaction in the follicle destroying hair growth cells.
2. Why should I choose electrolysis over other hair removal methods?

Unlike all other hair removal methods, professionally performed Electrolysis eliminates all unwanted hair - permanently - with unsurpassed results. Moreover, it does so for all skin and hair types and colors. No other hair removal method can claim such universal acceptability and success.

3. Why should I choose electrolysis over temporary methods like laser, waxing, threading, tweezing, shaving and depilatories?

Laser promoters compare laser to electrolysis although laser assisted hair removal is considered a temporary method. Some laser devices have been cleared for permanent reduction by the FDA not to be confused with permanent removal. Permanent reduction is an unclear term referring both to the number of hairs and/or the thickness of each hair. Additionally a "paradoxical effect" could occur which means increased hair growth. Laser hair removal has not been evaluated for long term safety of the patient's skin and health.

For more information visit Laser Facts

Additional temporary methods of hair removal like tweezing, waxing, and threading will seriously hinder the success of the process due to the following fact: the removal of a hair that's pulled from the root in an androgen (male hormone) dependent area, stimulates the root causing more blood supply and androgen hormone to the area.   This causes hairs to re-grow and surface thicker and darker and stimulates other follicles to produce coarser hair which will continue to spread. An androgen dependent area consists of all facial hair( except the eyebrows) and the neck, breasts, sternum, stomach and bikini area.

Other methods of temporary hair removal not contributing to additional hair growth would be the use of depilatories (like Nair and Neet) and also shaving. Depilatories chemically dissolve the hair slightly below the skin surface with the potential to irritate the skin. An old wives tale that cutting or shaving will increase the rate of hair growth and thickness of the hair shaft is just not true. The shaft appears thicker and causes stubble because the tapered end is missing. Even among educated skin care specialists, there remains a belief that by shaving the hair it becomes thicker and darker. Again, this is just not true and shaving is therefore the preferred method of temporary hair removal. In conclusion, all of these above mentioned temporary forms of hair removal could result in mild to severe skin irritation depending on individual skin sensitivity.

Additionally, devices are marketed claiming to permanently remove hair by means of electronic tweezers and/or home electrolysis/laser units. Electronic tweezers which supposedly conduct electricity through the hair shaft are based on a flawed scientific principle. Hair is not a conductor of electricity and this device is no more effective than ordinary tweezers. Home electrolysis units in an untrained hand run the risk of pitting and scarring from improper current application and needle placement.

4. Do electrologists follow appropriate Infection Control Precautions?

In New Jersey, electrologists are licensed under the State Board of Medical Examiners and are additionally required to obtain an Office Premise License following strict inspection rules and regulations. The Standard Precautions include, but are not limited to, handwashing, the use of gloves, sterilization of critical items used in electrolysis treatments, the proper disinfection of semi-critical and non-critical items, and the proper cleaning of environmental surfaces.

5. How many treatments are required?

The number of treatments necessary varies with each patient/client. Factors such as hair growth cycles, the quantity and structure of hair presented, previous use of temporary hair removal methods, heredity, hormone function, normal physiologic changes, certain medications and stress influence the treatment program for each individual. It is very important to adhere to the recommended treatment schedule to achieve optimum results in the shortest time frame. Some improvement should be observed within several months after initiating treatment, provided the patient adheres to the recommended treatment schedule. The client's role in the treatment process is important to the overall success of treatment. Consistency in maintaining a scheduled course of treatment will significantly impact results. As treatment develops with the decrease of hair growth, sessions will become less frequent and for shorter periods of time until completion.

6. Are all hairs eliminated in one treatment?

No. Electrolysis involves labor intensive, intricate procedures, which require professional judgment, and which must be performed in a sanitary environment by a skilled, licensed professional.

Factors to consider are:

  • The three cycles of hair growth surfacing over a period of a year.
  • Previous methods of hair removal like tweezing, waxing, threading or laser which could take two to four months to resurface depending on how fast an individual's growth cycle is. These previous methods can also increase hair growth.
  • Medications and hormonal issues.
  • Maintaining a consistent schedule of appointments.
7. What is the normal growth cycle of a hair?

All hairs have differing cycles of growth and are not visible on the surface of the skin at the same time. Hair normally grows for its usual cycle and then naturally sheds and replaces itself. Following active growing periods, most hair follicles go into a dormant stage. The period of dormancy may last for an indefinite period of time, however, replacement hairs usually appear within 3 to 12 months. The appearance of these coarse replacement hairs from dormant hair follicles should not be mistaken as regrowth from previously treated follicles.

8. What does electrolysis feel like?

Electrolysis treatments sting, but individual tolerances vary greatly. Different areas of the body have different sensitivities and this varies from person to person. Even the most sensitive patient/client should be able to tolerate the treatments.

9. Does electrolysis have any side effects on the skin?

Immediately following treatment, normal side effects may be a slight redness and/or swelling which usually disappears within a few hours. Occasionally, small whiteheads or tiny scabs may occur. It is important to remember that scabs are a part of the normal healing process in some people. If scabbing does occur, the patient is advised not to remove them prematurely as hyper-pigmentation can occur. Post treatment care, as instructed by your electrologist, will ensure proper healing.

10. Can unwanted hair be removed from anywhere on the body?

Electrolysis works on all skin, hair types and color. It can be applied to facial and body parts, including: Hairline, Eyebrows, Ears, Nose, Chin, Upper & Lower Lip, Jaw line, Cheeks and Sideburns, Neck, Sternum, Breast, Abdomen and Back, Underarms, Forearms and Hands, Bikini line, Legs and Feet. Based on a personal and confidential consultation, your electrologist will design a treatment plan that addresses your specific hair removal needs.

11. Can women begin or continue electrolysis treatments during pregnancy?

Unwanted hair can be caused by hormonal changes brought on by pregnancy. Electrolysis can be performed on any normal skin. This includes pregnant women. During the first trimester, areas above the abdomen can be safely treated. After second trimester, areas above the breast can be safely treated. However, written approval from your physician is required before beginning treatment.

12. Can hairs be removed from moles?

Hairs can safely be removed from moles with required written approval from your physician before beginning treatment.

13. How should I choose an electrologist?

All electrologists in New Jersey must be licensed under the State Board of Medical Examiners. By law, each electrologist is required to hold a valid Personal license and each practice must hold an Office Premise license. The State mandates 20 hours of continuing education biennially to maintain licensure.

Although not required, membership in the Electrologists Association of New Jersey indicates the electrologist is keeping current with their field. Look for licenses and certificates, with current dates, as evidence of professionalism.

Many electrologists assumed the added commitment of International Board Certification, which is a separate credential from the NJ State Licensure Exam, by passing a voluntary certification examination.

Certified Professional Electrologists (CPE's) are challenged to improve their knowledge and practice through the American Electrology Association Continuing Education and Recertification programs, which requires 75 hours of approved continuing education every five years to recertify.

The Certified Professional Electrologist (CPE) credential signifies that the electrologists' knowledge has been tested and measured against a national standard of excellence. The commitment to keep the credential, through on-going continuing education, exemplifies the highest degree of professionalism.

To find a qualified licensed electrologist, visit "Find an Electrologist" located on our home page. Additionally, many people find an electrologist through the Yellow Pages and the internet. Referrals from family and friends can make excellent recommendations. Also, one can ask a physician who is familiar with electrolysis.

Electrolysis - safe, permanent hair removal.

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