Hair Removal

All About Electrolysis

Electrolysis is a procedure designed to remove unwanted hair by destroying the growth center of each hair with heat energy. A needle or probe is inserted into a hair follicle and zapped with a current of electricity. This damages the hair follicle so that the hair cannot grow back. It may take several treatments to achieve permanent hair removal. The number of treatments depends on the individual.

This type of hair removal can be uncomfortable. Tingling is common and redness may occur at the site of hair removal.

Hair removal by electricity was developed a century ago. Today it is FDA approved and modern methods are very safe. The procedure works on any skin or hair type. It can be tedious and time consuming so it is not ideal for large areas of unwanted hair.

There are three types of electrolysis:


This process causes a chemical reaction that destroys the hair follicle. Salt and water around the probe are transformed into sodium hydroxide, also known as lye. Lye is acidic. As the lye builds up, hair follicles are eaten away and destroyed.


Thermolysis uses shortwave radio frequency to heat up water molecules around the hair, which produces heat. When enough heat is generated, the cells that cause hair growth are damaged so the hair cannot grow back.


This procedure combines both galvanic and thermolysis in one treatment. The idea is that if one type of electrolysis does not destroy the hair, the other will.

There are home hair removal kits available but the best results can be obtained from a trained electrologist. There is some risk of damaging the skin and causing permanent scarring.

Side effects of this type of hair removal can be reddening, scabs, and ingrown hairs. Results can be inconsistent. It takes skill and training to properly administer the electrolysis instrument.

Read more on he differences between Electrolysis vs Laser.