How Does Electrolysis Work to Remove Hair?

‍Electrolysis is the only FDA-approved method for permanently removing unwanted facial hair. During this process, an electrolysis specialist inserts a fine needle into the hair follicle to target and destroy the papilla (the part of the hair shaft that feeds nutrients to keep it growing). The chemical reaction in your body causes cell death, which leads to permanent hair removal. In order to effectively target the papilla and stop the growth of facial hairs, your electrologist will insert multiple needles into different areas of your face. Each area requires a different number of insertion points as well as a unique angle in order to reach all areas of the hair follicles. When you consult with an electrologist about facial hair treatment, he or she will ask you about your lifestyle and habits in order to determine what type of treatment will be best for you.

Types of Electrolysis for Facial Hair Removal

Electrolysis for facial hair removal comes in two main types, galvanic electrolysis and thermolysis. Galvanic electrolysis is the older method that is no longer recommended as it can be more painful and may cause scarring. It involves putting an acid near the hair that generates an electric current that travels through the hair and into the skin, burning the hair root. Thermolysis, the more modern method, uses a heated probe that is inserted into the hair follicle. The heat damages the hair follicle without destroying the surrounding skin. This method is less painful and more effective.

Full-face Electrolysis

Full-face electrolysis removes all unwanted facial hair on the upper lip, chin, cheeks, and forehead. This is the most comprehensive form of electrolysis, and treatment usually takes 3-5 years. If you choose this method, you will likely have to make multiple trips to your electrologist over the course of several years to complete the process. The best candidates for full-face electrolysis are people who are committed to the long-term process and want permanent results. If you want to remove hairs quickly, go with a method that treats fewer areas such as half-face or bikini-line electrolysis.

Half-face Electrolysis

Half-face electrolysis removes hair from one side of the face, including the upper lip, chin, and cheeks. This can be an ideal compromise for people who want permanent results but don’t want to commit to full-face electrolysis. This process usually takes 2-3 years for complete hair removal. Because it’s less extensive than full-face electrolysis, you will likely see smaller and less frequent growth cycles. Your electrologist may need to make multiple passes over the course of the treatment.

Which Area Does Full Face Electrolysis Treat?

In general, full-face electrolysis treats the upper lip, chin, cheeks, and forehead. The electrologist may target a few stray hairs elsewhere on the face, but this is uncommon. If you want to treat the entire face, you may want to consider full-face electrolysis over other methods. The main advantage of this is that you only have to visit the electrologist once a month instead of several times, which can make the process more manageable. Plus, you might be able to finish the treatment faster than with other methods.

Bikini Zone Electrolysis

Bikini-zone electrolysis removes hair from the sideburn area and upper hairline, as well as the lower lip. This can be an ideal option for people who want to remove facial hair from those three areas but are not interested in full-face electrolysis. The best candidates for bikini-zone electrolysis are people who want permanent results, but whose jobs don’t require a clean-shaven face. People in professions like healthcare or law enforcement, who can’t have visible facial hair, usually choose this method.

How to Choose Which Area to Treat?

Before making a final decision about which area to treat, consider the following factors.

-Frequency of hair growth: When choosing which area to treat, it’s important to note the frequency of hair growth in each area. Areas with a high frequency of hair growth, such as the upper lip and chin, are best treated with full-face electrolysis. Areas with a low frequency of hair growth, such as the lower lip and hairline, should be treated with bikini-line electrolysis.

- Commitment to treatment: People with a busy lifestyle might want to go with the quick treatment of bikini-line electrolysis. However, anyone who wants a permanent result should consider going with full-face electrolysis.

Limitations of Electrolysis for Facial Hair Removal

Electrolysis is the only FDA-approved method for permanent removal of facial hair. It also has the advantage of being completely painless compared to other methods, like shaving, waxing, or laser hair removal. Electrolysis is a time-consuming process that requires patience, commitment, and a significant amount of money. It can be costly, and many electrologists charge a bulk rate that may end up being more than you expect. However, electrolysis is the only permanent solution to facial hair, and it usually works for people who are committed to the treatment.

The Bottom Line

Facial hair can have a big impact on your self-confidence and your social life, but there are several ways to treat and remove it. The best option for you depends on your budget, lifestyle, and goals for treatment. Electrolysis is the only FDA-approved method for permanent removal of facial hair, and it comes in two types: galvanic and thermolysis. Which method you choose will depend on the area of the face you want to be treated, as well as your commitment to treatment.