Three Types of Electrolysis Explained
Electrolysis is a method that has been around since the 1800’s. It has been discovered by the ophthalmologist Charles E. Michel for patients with excess hair on their lashes. Over the years other types of electrolysis have been established for hair removal: galvanic current, thermolysis and blend current.
Originally, electrolysis stood for galvanic current. This was the first type of electrolysis established. This is a way by which direct electric current is released from a tiny probe inserted into the hair follicle, to stop hair growth. The current causes a chemical reaction that produces a corrosive solution called lye. This solution is what destroys the cells and tissues responsible for hair growth.
This chemical reaction can be described as the separation of salt and water molecules, combining the salt with moisture in the follicle to create the corrosive saline solution: lye. There is no burning involved in this process, simply a conversion in molecules. Note that, greater moisture of the skin in and out, generates better results. Also, higher the intensity of the current, the more effective the procedure.
This type of electrolysis is advised against in the following cases: epilepsy, pregnancy, cancer patients, type 1 diabetes, AIDS, Accutane treatment etc. It is also recommended to remove metallic jewelry before any treatment and not to treat areas that have metal implants, patients with a pace maker or even shortly after a Botox treatment.
Thermolysis, also known as short-wave current, was established a little later and perfected in the late 1930’s. This process involves passing a vibrating current of high-frequency down a needle into the hair follicle. This vibration or friction generated produces heat at the tip of the needle that destroys the hair follicle by drying in out. Tissues surrounding the follicle should at all times contain enough moisture and water, which acts as the conductive element here. This will increase the heat levels and bring out better results.
Thermolysis is considered the most rapid method and has different modes, each with a different duration of application. Note that different hair types will need different energy levels. The stronger the hair the higher the energy level.
Blend electrolysis is a combination of both galvanic current and thermolysis. The combination of both methods simply increases the effectiveness of the treatment. In this process the high-frequency current warms up the surrounding tissue with the probe and enhances the destructive effect of the lye solution created. This opens the pore more and allows the lye to penetrate all open spaces in the follicle, increasing the range of activity. With the blend method the action continues even after the probe is removed thus working effectively even on the most stubborn hair. Moreover, the current intensity may be adjusted to the clients tolerance level to ensure a comfortable experience during the treatment.
In all three cases the skin moisture needs to be well maintained and as high as possible. The moisture (water) surrounding the follicle will help pass the currents better to destroy the hair follicle. It will also help protect the skin from burns or high heat, on the inside. So, if some patients feel some pain more than others, than it most likely could be due to the lack of moisture in their skin. This is also why we always encourage our clients to keep moisturizing their face and body and drink more water, for a more comfortable and painless experience.
After each electrolysis treatment, a small facial is done on the treated area, also known as cataphoresisa. This is a post-depilation treatment that has a disinfectant effect and helps prevent bacterial infections. It tightens the pores after the treatment and reduces the redness.