|Frequently Asked Questions
What is electrology?
Is electrolysis really permanent?
Is electrology the only method of permanent hair removal?
What about laser removal?
What areas of the body can be treated?
Is electrolysis uncomfortable?
Are individual hairs eliminated in one treatment or is regrowth to be expected?
What is the normal growth cycle of a hair?
Are there any risks with electrolysis?
Is electrolysis expensive?
What are the 3 methods of electrolysis?
Can women begin or continue electrolysis during pregnancy?
Can hairs be removed from moles?
Do elctrologists follow appropriate infection control precautions?
What about the electronic tweezer and cotton swab/patch methods of electrolysis?
How should I choose an electrologist?
How can I become a registered electrologist in Oklahoma?
Q1: What is electrology?
A1: Electrology is the specialty of permanent hair removal utilizing only solid needle-type devices. A fine sterile needle/probe is inserted into the hair follicle, and a small amount of electrical energy is discharged which destroys the hair growth tissue at the bottom of the hair follicle. When this is competently and accurately accomplished, the cells that produce a new hair are permanently eliminated.
Q2: Is electrolysis really permanent?
A2: YES! Electrolysis has been shown to be permanent in over 125 years of use. It is recognized by the American Medical Association and the FDA as the only method of permanent hair removal. Also, there are hundreds of thousands of individuals who have become free of their unwanted hair with the help of electrolysis. However, Permanent hair removal can only be achieved with a series of visits, over a period of time. Factors such as hormonal imbalance, medications, stress, and heredity may cause fine hairs to become longer, darker, and more coarse. This may mean that future visits will be needed to treat these “new” hairs if they should form, but once the regenerative cells that produce a hair has been eliminated, that hair is dead and cannot regrow.
Q3: Is electrology the only method of permanent hair removal?
A3: Electrology is the only dependable method of permanent hair removal. Other methods of hair removal, i.e. shaving, tweezing, depilatories, waxing, sugaring, and stringing are not only temporary and time consuming but often cause skin irritations, ingrown hairs, skin discoloration, and scarring.
Q4: What about laser removal?
A4: The FDA has cleared over 20 different lasers to market hair removal. To date, no published studies have shown any laser to provide permanent hair removal. The FDA has not approved any laser devices for permanent hair removal (as is electrolysis). At most, some have been approved for permanent hair reduction. Laser is designed to attract to the pigment of the hair. Therefore, at this time, it will not work on blond, gray, red, or lightly pigmented hairs. Varying results have been reported on darkly pigmented hairs.
Oklahoma electrologists report seeing many clients that have done the complete series of laser treatments. Clients have reported conflicting degrees of help with the laser. While a few are happy with the results on their dark hairs, it clearly does not work on all individuals. We are seeing a number of clients that are reporting little to no improvement after the complete set of laser treatment. This includes those who have fair skin and dark hair (the "ideal candidates"). There are also some recent media reports that are voicing concern over safety issues, including some potentially serious side effects when the laser is improperly used. For the most recent information on the status of laser, please visit the FDA link on laser hair removal.
Q5: What areas of the body can be treated?
A5: Hair can be removed from almost any part of the body. Common areas for women may include: facial areas on lip, chin, neck, sideburns, eyebrows, and harline. Many women also desire to have hair removed from breasts, abdomen, bikini line, buttocks, underarms, arms, hands, fingers, legs, feet, and toes. Common areas for men include: hairline/beard line, back, shoulders, chest, ears, and center of eyebrows. Electrologists do not treat inside the ear canal or inside the nose. Your electrologist may request written permission from your physician before removing hair from a mole.
Q6: Is electrolysis uncomfortable?
A6: It is impossible to destroy the cells that make hairs grow without sensation, because each hair follicle is surrounded by its own network of nerve endings. However, the amount of any discomfort during electrolysis is quite variable depending on a patient’s tolerance and stress levels, machine settings, area of the body having electrolysis, as well as other factors. A definite sensation (often described as a small sting) will be noticed but most patients tolerate it well. If you are stressed, extra sensitive, or just nervous about your first appointment, it is helpful to take an oral over-the-counter pain medication about one half hour before your appointment. Usually whatever you normally take for a headache is sufficient.
Q7: Are individual hairs eliminated in one treatment or is regrowth to be expected?
A7: Deep, coarse hairs cannot always be eliminated with one treatment; thus, breaking down the hair germ cells may require additional treatments. During the course of treatment and due to the cyclic nature of hair growth, hairs emerging from a dormant phase will also appear and be visible at the same time as finer regrowth hairs.
Q8: What is the normal growth cycle of a hair?
A8: All hairs have differing cycles of growth activity and are not visible on the surface of the skin at the same time. Hair normally grows for its usual cycle and then naturally sheds and replaces itself. Following active growing periods, hair follicles go into a dormant phase. This period of dormancy may last for an indefinite period of time, however, replacement hairs usually appear within 3 to 12 months in most areas of the body. However, hairs in some areas of the body, such as the eyebrows and underarms, may take up to 18 months to 2 years to reappear. The appearance of these coarse replacement hairs from dormant hair follicles should not be mistaken as regrowth from previously treated follicles.
Q9: Are there any risks with electrolysis?
A9: Immediately following treatment, there will be slight redness and/or swelling. Redness is usually gone within 30 minutes to an hour while swelling may last a few hours. Like many minor medical procedures, electrolysis does have a short healing phase. Occasionally, small whiteheads or tiny scabs may occur. Scabs are a part of the normal healing process and will not cause any permanent damage if they are not picked off. Since electrolysis does cause tiny “wounds” under the skin, it does break the skins barrier to bacteria and increases your chance of infection, which could cause scarring. It is important to follow after care instructions to prevent any infection. Other side effects may occur in persons with special health conditions. Your Electrologist will take a health history to enable your treatments to be safe with minimal side effects.
Q10: Is electrolysis expensive?
A10: Electrolysis is charged according to the length of the appointment time. The amount of time needed depends on a number of factors, most importantly the number of hairs to be removed. Since achieving permanent hair removal takes time, this allows the cost to be spread out over time also. Your Electrologist will be happy to assist you in scheduling your appointments to stay within your budget.
Q11: What are the 3 methods of electrolysis?
A11: Thermolysis uses AC current (radio wave) to produce heat. Galvanic electrolysis utilizes DC current to produce lye, causing chemical destruction (this method normally utilizes 16 probes at one time). Blend electrolysis uses both AC and DC current to produce heated lye. All 3 methods are proven safe and effective.
Q12: Can women begin or continue electrolysis during pregnancy?
A12: Electrolysis has never been proven harmful to pregnant women in over 125 years of use. Your electrologist has been trained in the safe treatment of pregnant women; however, some women choose to complete their treatments after the baby is born. Specific questions and concerns should be discussed with your physician and your electrologist.
Q13: Can hairs be removed from moles?
A13: Yes. There is no contraindication for mole hair removal. However, your electrologist may ask you to have your mole examined by your physician before electrolysis is performed.
Q14: Do elctrologists follow appropriate infection control precautions?
A14: Yes. The Oklahoma State electrology advisory committee, under the Oklahoma State Medical Board, has developed our Oklahoma State Electrology Infection Control Standards. These standards include the sterilization of all electrolysis instruments which may have parenteral contact. The standards are consistent with universal precaution guidelines which include hand-washing and use of disposable gloves for each client. Your Oklahoma electrologist is licensed by the Oklahoma State Board of Medical Licensure and Supervision, and is therefore fully trained and tested in proper sterilization procedures. Electrologists are under the same type of strict sterilization guidelines as all other medical professionals in this state.
Q15: What about the electronic tweezer and cotton swab/patch methods of electrolysis?
A15: The Oklahoma State Electrologists Association and the American Electrology Association will not allow anyone that uses these methods to be a member of their association. Electrolysis, by definition, utilizes a needle (probe) to get the electrical current down to the bulb of the hair. These other methods are not electrolysis. According to Dr. James Schuster, a Board certified Dermatologist and degreed Electrical Engineer who has done electrolysis research for many years, these methods do not provide permanent hair removal. Another study of the tweezer method, disputing its efficacy, can be viewed at: http://www.rafischer.com/hairtest.htm. The Oklahoma State Electrologists Association does not recognize these methods and does not recommend them. Electrolysis is the only proven method of permanent hair removal.
Q16: How should I choose an electrologist?
A16: All of the members of the OKLAHOMA STATE ELECTROLOGISTS ASSOCIATION are Registered Electrologists and are licensed by the Oklahoma State Board of Medical Licensure and Supervision. Just click on the “Electrologists” button and find the area of the state in which you live. You will find maps, names and address of very qualified electrologists that will be happy to take good care of you. Feel free to contact the electrologist of your choice via U.S. Postal Service, phone calls, or e-mail.
Q17: How can I become a registered electrologist in Oklahoma?
A17: Contact the Oklahoma State Board of Medical Licensure and Supervision and request information about becoming an electrologist in Oklahoma. You can click on the “OSBMLS” Link or the Oklahoma State Seal to go the Medical Board’s web site.