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Electrolysis

Eliminating unwanted facial or body hair can be an ongoing nuisance if you resort to standard removal techniques like shaving or waxing. The money and time you spend on these methods can add up significantly over an extended period as well. Fortunately, there are options in hair removal that are safe and produce results that last much longer. Electrolysis, one of the tried-and-true options in hair removal is also the only treatment that promises permanent hair reduction, giving you smoother skin without the work. The Maas Clinic offers electrolysis in a comfortable, relaxing environment, with skilled professionals that provide you with a safe procedure and superior results.

What is Electrolysis?

Electrolysis is a process of hair removal that uses controlled heat to damage hair follicles and eliminate unwanted hair. A small probe delivers the heat to the base of the follicle without actually penetrating the skin. The heat destroys the follicle, and the hair inside can be painlessly removed using forceps designed for this purpose. Because the follicle is damaged during the treatment, future hair is unable to grow.

Electrolysis has evolved considerably since its origins more than a century ago. Early electrolysis treatments used direct energy currents that created a chemical reaction to destroy the follicle. Today, thermolysis or controlled heating is the selected method because it is faster, less painful and more effective overall. The device is also regulated by computer technology to ensure a safe process and consistent results.

How Your Hair Grows

While electrolysis is an efficient method of hair removal, multiple treatment sessions are required to achieve an optimal outcome due to the way in which hair grows. Your follicles do not all function at the same time. Instead, hair grows in cycles, and different follicles will be at different points of the cycle at any one time. The sequences include:

  • Anagen (Growth) Phase – During this portion of the cycle, the hair inside the follicle is growing. The anagen phase is the longest, lasting anywhere from two to seven years. It is also the most common stage of hair growth, with 90 percent of your follicles engaged in the anagen phase at any one time.
  • Telogen (Resting) Phase – At this point, the hair rests while new hair begins to grow underneath. The telogen phase goes on about three months and includes anywhere from 10 to 15 percent of all the hair at one time.
  • Exogen (Hair Shedding) Phase – This last portion of the hair cycle is the time in which you will start to see strands of hair in your brush or shower drain. The hair that was in the resting phase begins to fall out, allowing the new hair to make an appearance. It is normal to lose anywhere from 50 to 100 hairs a day, so while it might seem like you are shedding excessively, this is a normal part of the hair growth process.

Electrolysis, like other methods of hair removal, only works on hair follicles that are in the growth phase. While the treated follicles will be permanently affected, multiple treatments will be needed to address all the follicles in the treatment area during the anagen phase to achieve full results. 

Benefits of Electrolysis

Electrolysis may not be the first hair removal option you think of since there are many treatments available for this purpose today. However, there are some advantages to selecting electrolysis as your hair removal method:

  • Effective regardless of skin tone or hair color
  • The only method approved by the FDA for permanent hair removal
  • Can be used on any part of the face or body, including the eyebrows
  • No harsh chemicals used that can cause unwanted side effects
  • Once results achieved, no maintenance sessions are necessary
  • No recovery after the procedure – can return to activities immediately

Electrolysis vs. Laser Hair Removal

While electrolysis offers many potential benefits, there are other options in hair removal to consider. The Maas Clinic offers different hair removal treatments so we can tailor your procedure to your needs. In addition to electrolysis, we offer laser hair removal. It can be helpful to compare these two processes so you can make the right decision for you.

Laser hair removal uses laser technology to damage the follicle and remove the hair in a similar fashion to electrolysis. The current hair sheds and new hairs have difficulty growing. The process must be performed in a series of sessions to treat all the follicles in the area when they are in the growth phase.

Unlike electrolysis, laser hair removal may not cause sufficient damage to the follicle to result in permanent hair removal. Some patients may require maintenance sessions to keep their smooth, silky skin. Laser treatments also work best on lighter skin tones and darker hair colors because the laser targets the contrast between the two. For darker skinned individuals or those with blonde, red or white hair, electrolysis may be the only solution.

Dr. Maas also offers MiraDry, a radiofrequency treatment used to address hyperhidrosis or excessive sweating. Some patients find that in addition to sweat reduction, they also experience a decrease of underarm hair. However, MiraDry has not been approved as a hair removal treatment.

What to Expect from Your Electrolysis Treatment

Electrolysis is performed in the offices of The Maas Clinic. The amount of time needed for the procedure will depend on the size of the treatment area. Larger areas could take up to an hour, while smaller areas might only take a few minutes. You may feel the sensation of heat as the probe delivers the thermal energy, but most patients find the process to be very tolerable. For patients with pain sensitivity, a topical anesthetic may be applied before the procedure.

After Electrolysis

Once your procedure is over, you can return to your daily routine. You might experience slight redness or tenderness in the treatment area, but these side effects rarely last long. It’s best to avoid strenuous exercise or saunas for the first 24 hours after your electrolysis session since excessive sweat could irritate the skin during this time.

Once you have completed your electrolysis sessions, you should enjoy your silky skin permanently. If you are ready to toss your razor or depilatories, contact The Maas Clinic at (415) 567-7000 or contact us by email to find out if electrolysis is a good option for you.

The information about electrolysis was reviewed by Dr. Corey Maas. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us using our contact form on the sidebar.

It is never too late, To be what you might have been.- George Eliot