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Your questions answered

This leaflet aims to provide a simple description of

what Electrolysis is and to answer some frequently
asked questions about it

Occupational Therapy Department

Professional Support Services

Produced: September 2010

Review: September 2013

Electrolysis - An overview
Electrolysis is the only safe, permanent way of removing unwanted hair.
Some methods of non-permanent hair removal you may have tried in the
past are:
Waxing and Plucking: These may distort the hair follicle and in fact,
stimulate hair growth. They can also cause pitting of the skin, changes in
skin pigmentation and an acneform rash.
Depilatory creams: Can sensitise the skin, leading to eventual skin damage.
Shaving: Can cause a shaving rash on sensitive skin. The new hair at
the shaved site can appear thicker. The shaved area may also take on a
shadowy appearance.
The amateur use of Electrolysis, e.g.: DIY home kits, can result in
considerable permanent skin damage and pain. In addition, the hair may not
be removed safely or correctly and scarring can occur. Unfortunately, this can
also be applied to the work of a poorly trained operator.

Electrolysis works by passing a small electric current, through a fine probe, to
the hair root. Repeated treatments destroy the hair development. It is
important to realise that the probe must be in exactly the right place for it to be
effective. Competent Electrologists are aware when to release the current
and how much current to release. This skill only comes with experience.
It is vitally important that you consult an experienced and skilful
Electrologist for treatment. This cannot be emphasised too strongly.
Whilst, in the majority of cases, electrolysis is permanent, its results are not
instant. The length of time it takes to complete successfully depends on a
number of things:

1. The cause of the hair growth, some common causes can be:


puberty, pregnancy, the menopause, prescription drugs, illness and

Whether the body is still producing new hair growth.
The quantity of hair to be treated.
Which temporary methods of hair removal have been used in the past,
as some techniques actually encourage hair growth?
The cycle of hair growth. Only a proportion of the hairs will be showing
at any one time. One third of the hairs could be under the skin surface at
the time of treatment. Bearing in mind that each hair has a growing
phase, a changing phase, and a resting phase.
Sensitivity of the area to be treated, this will govern the frequency and
length of each treatment session.

7. The strength of the hair root, as this will determine the progress of the

Why consult an Electrologist?

In view of embarrassment, pain, expense or inconvenience many people can
be reluctant to consult an Electrologist. A qualified Electrologist is however a
highly trained professional in her own field. Consulting one should be no
more embarrassing than consulting any other practitioner e.g.: a doctor or a
dentist. In addition, the cost of treatment in relation to its benefits is not
expensive. It must also be appreciated that hair removal via Electrolysis
should be permanent.
Often, the most difficult step for a person to take is booking a consultation with
an electrologist. A qualified electrologist is a highly trained operative in their
On the first visit, the Electrologist will ask you some questions. The reason for
this is to:
1. Try to establish a cause for the hair growth.
2. To ensure that there are no contra-indications to the treatment,
(reasons why treatment cannot be undertaken).
They should explain how Electrolysis works by outlining the process.
They should also provide a short demonstration in order to quell any fears of
pain. In addition, she should answer any questions regarding the treatment.
As a result of the above, the clients mind should be set at ease about their
The consultation is usually free of charge with no obligation to undertake
treatment. The Electrologist should be able to assess how many treatment
sessions will be required and how often they will be needed. For most people,
their immediate feeling is one of relief that their hair problem is, at last, being
professionally addressed. This in turn normally reduces their level of anxiety
and embarrassment. As to the question of pain, this is very subjective. Some
people are more sensitive than others. Most patients, having been treated by
a skilled Electrologist, report that the pain is minimal, and most importantly,
worth it!

What is involved in the treatment?

Treatment involves inserting a very fine, sterile needle into the base of the
hair follicle. Then an electric current is transmitted through this for a few
seconds. This current produces heat, which cauterises and destroys the hair
root. The hair, which as a result is now loosened, can be gently lifted out with
tweezers. Several treatments are necessary to completely destroy the hair
root. Re-growth after treatment becomes progressively weaker and finally
ceases all together.
Final results however can take months or years to achieve.


The level of discomfort experienced by each patient varies:

1. According to the level of sensitivity of each individuals skin,
2. And to the area that is being treated.
The treatment might sting or you may experience a warm sensation at the site
being treated. These sensations are however only mild and perfectly normal.
The normal reaction of the skin, in the first instance, to electrolysis is slight
inflammation and perhaps very minimal, localised swelling.
The length of time this lasts varies according to the skin type. In many cases it
lasts no more than a few minutes. A soothing, after-care lotion is immediately
applied after treatment. An information leaflet on after-care is also provided.
Treatment appointments are made for regular intervals to suit the client. For
the maximum benefit to be achieved from treatment it is important that clients
keep their appointments.
When you begin you treatment, appointments are usually given on a weekly
basis. Once progress is noted, the frequency of treatment sessions will be
reduced but re-growth should be kept under control. It will be the Electrologist
who will determine how often you have treatment.
Patients are advised not to have Electrolysis treatment in other clinics
whilst they are undergoing Electrolysis at the Royal Preston Hospital. It
is not advisable to undertake Electrolysis under more that one
practitioner at the same time.
If you cannot keep your appointment, please give as much notice as possible,
by telephoning the department on: 01772 522585.

The British Institute and Association of Electrolysis

The British Institute and Association of Electrolysis are aware of the need for
high standards of hygiene to be maintained. Members are kept up to date
with latest techniques and treatment methods. These standards are laid
down by the Environmental Health Department, to ensure strict levels of
hygiene. These standards are adhered to at all times in Royal Preston
Hospital. Pre-sterilised disposable probes are used on every occasion to
ensure safe and hygienic treatments. Autoclaves are used, as are certain
bead sterilisers and other equipment is also kept in sanitised conditions.


When choosing a practitioner in Electrolysis:

You should look for a displayed, current certificate, of registered membership
of The British Institute and Association of Electrolysis. You should feel
confident that you would receive good treatment from a registered member.
You can contact The British Institute and Association of Electrolysis for a
list of registered members or for advice (Please enclose a stamped, selfaddressed envelope for a reply):
The Secretary,
The British Institute and Association of Electrolysis Ltd.
40, Parkfield Road,
UB10 8LX
Tel: 0870 1280477.

Our Details
For further information and advice

(01772) 522585.

Sources of further information:


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