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Electrolysis – your questions answered

electrolysisWhat is electrolysis?

Electrolysis (or, more accurately, short wave diathermy or ‘thermolysis’) is described as ‘the only medically approved permanent method of hair removal. It is high frequency method using heat to destroy the papilla (through which the hair receives nourishment) by cauterizing and disabling it without damaging the outer layer of the skin. The hair is then removed very easily . Electrolysis is the most common form of treatment used today. It can be a very lengthy process: whether or not hair grows back depends of weather the hair roots are destroyed, and that can depend on what the hair was doing when removed—that is, whether it was still growing. Yet, in a recent survey, It was found to be the most frequently requested treatment. Its not a pleasant treatment to have but people subject themselves to some discomfort in order to get off unwanted hair, and as they can see the regrowth recessing over a period of time , their confidence increases—they begin to hold their head up high, smile become a different person. Its very rewarding for a therapist.

How often should you have it?

This depends on the sensitivity of your skin and its healing rate. If the skin is very sensitive and not healing quickly, you’ll properly be asked to come back every fortnight or three weeks. However, if the skin heals quite quickly and you have a lot of hair to remove, you may be able to have a treatment every week. The therapist will also want to give the treated hair time to reappear before you return to the salon; hair must be long enough so that the therapist can tell which way its growing under the skin—at least 1/8 inch (3mm). After treatment any regrown hair will become finer and less noticeable.

How long should a treatment take?

The therapist will properly start you off with a ten minute treatment, but will be watching closely to see how your skin reacts. You will be asked to come back in one or two weeks’ time and if your skin has healed well, then multiple treatments can be performed if needed.

How long should it take before you get results?

It depends of the amount of hair, the texture, and the cause of the hair growth. If you’ve never tampered with the hair and its simply excess hair that you feel is socially unacceptable, the therapist should be able to remove it all quite successfully after a few treatments . If however the hairs have been caused by hormonal changes in the body, you may not see a dramatic change at all. Even though removed hair may not grow back, you may get new hairs growing else where. If you have previously tweezed out he hair, it will be very strong and will probably need a much stronger current to remove it. It will also be a lot deeper in the skin, and far more persistent, growing back more quickly and more often.

Do try Electrolysis:

If you have any surplus hair which upsets or embarrasses you—even if its just one stray on the chin. Electrolysis can be used to remove unwanted hair from any part of the body except within the ear and nose. Therapist work most often on the face, arms, legs, bikini line, tummy and breasts.

Don’t try Electrolysis:

  • If you want to remove a hair from a mole (unless your doctor says its okay).
  • If you are under 16 or over 80.
  • Around the nipple if you are pregnant or have just had a baby.
  • Anywhere just prior to and during your period you’ll be very sensitive.
  • If you must have treatment, then make sure you tell the therapist so she can turn down the current and teat you for less time necessary.

You must check with your doctor first:

  • If you have a pacemaker—electrolysis could interfere with the frequency.
  • If you are diabetic. If a doctor agrees, remember you’ll have a slower heating rate so you should have fewer treatments and lower currents
  • If you have epilepsy— the therapist would have to be very cautious
  • If you have any heart problems
  • If you have any other medical problems, skin disorders or diseases such as eczema.
  • If you are pregnant or have just had a baby. Though electrolysis should be safe up to around seven months. (when you’ll start becoming more sensitive), the therapist will probably advise you to be patient and see if the hair disappears once you’ve had your baby. Quite often, superfluous hair will disappear within a couple of months, just like a pregnancy mask (pigmentation in skin) though in some cases it can take up to two years.

What should you tell the therapist?

  • If you have had any previous electrolysis treatment. If so, where, for how long, and the date of your last treatment.
  • Where you want treatment. You may choose to have electrolysis to remove hair from the face, including eyebrows, from the bikini line, legs, underarms, around the nipple or tummy.
  • When you first noticed unwanted hair. If you have always had it, but have only just decided to have it removed, it’s probably hereditary, or associated with people of your race. But if superfluous hair has suddenly appeared, it is probably due to hormonal changes in the body— puberty, pregnancy, the menopause or from taking drugs such as birth control pills or cortisone.
  • Hair will never start growing for no apparent reason. Pregnancy can stimulate hair growth which can be treated once puberty is over, or they can develop a temporary hair growth which will disappear once hormone balance is restored. After the menopause, many women develop some superfluous hair around the chin and upper lip, in a male growth pattern. That is also due to hormone changes in the body.
  • What temporary measures you have used—for example, tweezing, shaving or waxing. How long you’ve been using these methods and the date of the last time you used them. If you waxed or tweezed for two to three years, the hair will be a great deal stronger than if you had have left it alone, since these distort the hair follicle. So effective treatment is going to take longer . Cutting or shaving shouldn’t make any difference to the coarseness of the hair. 5. Whether you are currently having any medical treatment. The therapist will be able to tell whether you should get your doctors advice before proceeding with electrolysis. Its imperative that you are totally honest with the therapist otherwise if your hair isn’t disappearing as it should, she wont know why.
  • Whether you are on the pill. This could affect hair growth.
  • Whether you have any children, and the date of your last pregnancy.

Hair Today

There are three different stages of hair growth, and whether or not a hair will grow back depends at which stage it is removed.

Anagen is the growing stage. An anagen hair will normally be deep in the dermis; it will have searched out of a very good blood supply for nutrition, and will subsequently be a lot stronger hair. As the therapist removes a hair at anagen—when it is still connected to the blood supply– she is most likely to destroy part of it or permanently remove it. A hair removed at anagen has a bulb at the end.

Catagen is the transitional phase, when the hair detaches itself from the blood supply and starts to break down. A hair removal at catagen has a little tail at the end.

Telogen is the resting stage. Hair stays in the follicle for three to five months, waiting to be shed. It will then either be shed normally or will be pushed out by a new telogen, she is far less likely to remove hair for good because the hair has stopped growing. A hair removed at telogen has a blunt end.

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