Touchy subject yes, but we all have those annoying black (and sometimes white) hairs which sprout on our chin and manage to grow to great lengths before we spot them in the car rear view mirror. We have all been there and we are all wondering just what we should do about those hairs that gave us such a fright that we nearly caused an accident.
There are a number of options:
- Hair remover cream – just like shaving, it ‘melts’ the hair off at the skins surface but can cause skin irritation and the results are not long lasting
- Shaving – leaves stubble and skin rashes
- IPL – semi permanent reduction in hair, great results for a few years but ultimately not permanent and it will only work on very dark hair on very light skin
- Electrolysis – the only FDA approved method for permanent hair removal, we think this is the best option
Electrolysis treatment is a method used to remove hair permanently. A very fine disposable needle is used to pass a very low current of electricity through the needle, which has been inserted into the hair follicle into the area which nourishes the hair (dermal papilla) this destroys the hair follicle’s ability to regenerate, thus permanently preventing regrowth.
So what is electrolysis? It was first invented by the medical profession in the 1800s to remove ingrown eyelashes. There are a number of methods of electrolysis used today but the main three are:
- Diathermy – also known as High Frequency or Radio Wave and is used by doctors to remove skin tags and close wounds, uses a short wave current to destroy the hair bulb with heat
- Galvanic – uses a direct current to produce a chemical reaction (basically a reconfiguration of the molecules already inside the follicle into sodium hydroxide – lye) to destroy the tissue in the dermal papilla
- Blend – uses both diathermy and galvanic at the same time to maximise results, the heat speeds up the chemical reaction making the treatments a lot quicker – this is the method used by Puhoi Beauty & Spa
Choosing your electroligist is REALLY important, it is quite a difficult treatment to perform. You should not feel the needle being inserted nor should you feel the hair coming out. It is a very common mistake to not treat the hair sufficiently and if this happens the hair will continue to grow back and you will effectively be paying for costly plucking. Michelle Clarke is Puhoi Beauty & Spas resident electrology expert, internationally qualified with over 25 years of successfully treating hairs and trained with Micheal Bono and other electrology super stars.
Puhoi Beauty & Spa offers free Electrolysis Consultations which you can book online here.
Before a treatment you should:
- Remove all jewellery
- Take off your make-up – you wont be able to wash your face after the treatment (or at least in that area)
- Not drink coffee, tea or other stimulants – it sets of the flight or fright response
- Take a panodol if you wish but not an asprin which would thin the blood
- Eat something starchy 1 hour before hand – raises the pain threshold
- Relax before the treatment, rushing around sets of the flight or fright response
- Make sure you are well hydrated – the galvanic current needs water to work
After a treatment you should treat the area like an open wound to avoid infection:
- Not touch the area – could cause infection
- Stay out of the sun
- Not exercise or swim
- Avoid heat – sun, sauna, hot water, spa, sunbeds
- Apply special calming balm available from Puhoi Beauty & Spa
You will need to stop plucking hairs if you are doing so so that we can treat them, however you can cut any hairs annoying you with the scissors. The best stage to treat a hair is in the anagen (growth) stage as this is when the hair is attached to the dremal papilla and we can achieve the best results. You can tell when a hair is in anagen stage because it is thick and strong and short – it will have just poked through the skin.
HOW LONG DOES ELECTROLYSIS TAKE?
Electrolysis is progressively permanent, what that means is that we cannot use a strong enough current to destroy the dermal papilla outright as we would also damage the skin, so we treat the hair follicle to its maximum tolerance each time, and this makes the hair weaker and weaker. Generally each hair will need to be treated around 3 times. Puhoi Beauty will create an electrolysis treatment plan specially for your hair removal needs which will take into account the area being treated, the type and amount of hair, the skin’s sensitivity, and your availability. Generally, you will have weekly appointments until the selected area is cleared of the first flush of growth, around 8-12 weeks. After this, you will generally have fortnightly/monthly appointments which will get less and less regular for up to 12-18 months. The time of each session will depend on the number of hairs and type of hair being treated. Generally for a small area like lip, chin, or eyebrows a 20 minute treatment will be ample. For larger areas such as underarms up to one hour appointments can be booked. The hair is treated progressively so that the skin is not damaged and each hair will generally be treated 3 times, although this can vary depending on hair type and cause of hair growth. Once the area has finished being treated no hairs will grow out of the treated follicles again. Sometimes previously vellus (fine) hairs might become terminal (thicker) hairs under the influence of hormones and you can treat these hairs with electrolysis too, but there should not be many.