Advanced Cosmetic Procedures

About Electrolysis Treatment

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Advanced Cosmetic Procedures

Advanced Cosmetic Procedures involve using electrolysis to remove fibrous and vascular skin blemishes such as red veins, spider veins, blood spots, skin tags, milia [whiteheads], and many other marks or lumps and bumps on the skin.

Advanced Cosmetic Procedures are very often overlooked as the name doesn’t really convey the nature of the treatment. This term shows it doesn’t refer to hair growth but to the removal of common skin growths and imperfections. Many people, including doctors, do not realize the range of blemishes that can be removed by the electrologist. Most believe that only a dermatologist can remove them. Many individuals are alarmed when they see an unusual growth and find it far less frightening to ask their electrologist for advice first.

The demand for these procedures is very high as the medical profession is not only too busy but also very reluctant to do anything about benign lesions. They are seen purely as a cosmetic problem regardless of the psychological effect on the person having the unsightly marks, lumps and bumps on their skin.

Here is a more detailed description of some of the blemishes that can be easily and safely removed with Advanced Cosmetic Procedures:

TELANGIECTASIA: Dilated capillaries (thread veins)

SPIDER NAEVUS: Centrally dilated blood vessel with smaller capillaries radiating from it like spiders legs.

CHERRY ANGIOMA: Also known as Blood spots or Blood moles, Campbell de Morgan spots and Haemangioma, more commonly found on the torso but can occur anywhere.

SKIN TAGS: Also known as Filiform warts or Fibro-Epithelial Polyps, are pedunculated (on a stalk). These are frequently found in areas of friction especially on the neck, underarms and below the breast.

MILIA: These are sometimes known as whiteheads and are pearly white rounded lumps on cheeks and around eyes and eyelids.

SEBACEOUS HYPERPLASIA; Blocked sebaceous gland occurring from adolescence onwards commonly found on the face.


CAUSE OF HAIR GROWTH: The growth of excess facial hair is related to the balance of estrogen and testosterone. Women produce these hormones in a fine balance, allowing for menstruation, reproduction and menopause. A malfunction of this balance may result in an excess of’ testosterone and the result is development of thick, dark hair on the face, breasts and lower abdomen which becomes more noticeable as years go by. Should you have a sudden onset of hair growth, i.e. within a year or less, prompt investigation should be carried out to determine which organ has the hormone malfunction.

THEORY: The word electrolysis applies as a general description of three methods. Thermolysis causes heat resulting from friction, electrolysis is a chemical change in the tissue and the blend is a combination of both. It involves the insertion of a fine sterile filament into the hair follicle, electric current applied, hair growth cells destroyed and the hair removed with sterile tweezers. For a more detailed description of the methods, go to “Electrolysis Overview”.

REGROWTH: The percentage of regrowth decreases if you shave the hair prior to treatment. This way only actively growing hairs are treated rather than hairs in resting stage. Shaving does not encourage hair to grow thicker or darker.

STERILIZATION: Stainless steel tweezers are sterilized daily in an autoclave. Single use latex gloves and single use sterile needles indicate the high level of hygiene in this office.

TEMPORARY METHODS such as tweezing and waxing should be discontinued. These hairs will continue to appear on your skin up to nine months into your treatment programme.

Electrolysis involves labour-intensive, intricate precision procedures, requires professional judgment and must be performed in a sanitary environment by a skilled practitioner for optimal results. Your role in the treatment process is integral to the overall results. Expressing concerns or questions will assist in providing quality service.



The three methods used in electrolysis are Galvanic, Thermolysis, and Blend. All three methods involve inserting a small needle into the hair follicle.


The galvanic method was the first method developed for removing superfluous hair.

This method removes hair through chemical decomposition. Galvanic refers to galvanism or galvanic cells 2012-12-04 uses direct current. It has long been understood that the application of direct electrical current to a solution of salt water produces a reaction that causes the salt and the water to break into their constituent parts. These parts quickly rearrange themselves to form an entirely new substance. This process is called electrolysis. The new substances that are formed are sodium hydroxide (lye), hydrogen gas, and chlorine gas.

The process of electrolysis was first used for permanent hair removal in 1875 by Charles E. Michel, M.D.

It is the sodium hydroxide, or lye, which is the source of follicle destruction in the galvanic method. The galvanic method is basically a chemical process.

Here is the mechanism behind “true” electrolysis: with the galvanic method, the body salts 2012-12-04pe of salt water solution. The moisture content of this salt water solution is at its greatest concentration deep within the follicle. When the electrolysis current is applied to be inserted needle, the newly manufactured lye causes a chemical decomposition of the hair growing cells to occur.

Two electrodes are required for this process to take place. One electrode is actually the electrology needle, the other electrode touches the patient’s body in some location. This “patient electrode” is usually a metal wand held in the patient’s hand.


The thermolysis method is not true electrolysis since no chemical action is involved. It does, however, provide for permanent hair removal. Thermolysis is often referred to as electrolysis. In this everyday usage, electrolysis refers to all types of permanent hair removal.

Thermolysis, also called short-wave method, high frequency method, or diathermy, and destroys the hair follicle by heat or electrocoagulation. It is the most widely practiced method of permanent hair removal available today.

Thermolysis was first put into practice in 1923, but did not become popular until the 1940s.

All thermolysis equipment operates at a specific radio frequency approved by the FCC (Federal Communications Commission), since it is a type of radio device. With thermolysis treatment, high frequency radio energy is emitted (mostly) from the tip of the electrolysis needle, first inserted into the hair follicle. The high frequency energy agitates the molecules making up the hair growing cells. This agitation causes the cells to heat, ideally to the point of permanent tissue destruction. This destruction is referred to as electrocoagulation. A microwave oven is another example of radio waves heating organic tissue.

The thermolysis method does not require the use of the second patient electrode.

Thermolysis is ideally suited for thin, shallowly rooted hairs. It is a straightforward approach, and requires a minimum of operator training. However, its usefulness greatly degrades with the larger, coarse and deeply rooted hairs that generally comprise the typical male beard (for example).

The incidence of treatment complications is somewhat higher with thermolysis as compared to multiple needle galvanic or the blend (described next). Additionally, treatment complications greatly increase with the use of flash (high intensity, short duration) thermolysis: the adverse result of pitted scarring seems to be greatest with flash thermolysis.

The flash method is intended for treating small follicles, but has been adopted for treatment of large follicles. The flash method dispenses a high intensity blast of high frequency energy within less than one second’s duration. When this intensity is proportionate to the size of small follicle, it is an acceptable method. But when this intensity is delivered at a much greater intensity, proportionate to the large follicle, serious permanent side effects may occur. This intense heat can cause pitted scarring.


The blend method, also called dual action method, is the combination and simultaneous use of galvanic and thermolysis techniques.

This combination method alleviates the shortcomings of each of the individual techniques, while bolstering their advantages. By doing so, blend electrolysis incorporates the high kill rate associated with the galvanic method along with the swiftness found in thermolysis.

It is especially useful in treating the deep, course hair follicles that typically make up the beard.

Basically, most of the blend’s capacity for destroying the hair growing cells is accomplished by way of chemical decomposition. That destruction, as indicated previously, is through galvanically produced lye. But unlike galvanic on its own, this combination current reduces the normal two-minute duration down to about 10 seconds.

The high frequency current that is used to produce a cooking action with thermolysis is instead used with the blend mainly as an accelerant. This is attributed to three separate actions:

  • Increased Causticity — heated lye is considerably more caustic.
  • Porosity — the tissue very close to the needle is turned into a porous mass through which the heated lye solution can easily diffuse.
  • Agitation — rather than working its way through the tissue by diffusion, the lye surrounding the needle is spread by agitation. This turbulence sends the hot lye solution into every area in the hair follicle and around the hair shaft.

This spreading action is also very important when one considers the need for properly destroying the undifferentiated cells found slightly higher up in the follicle, called stem cells, that are responsible for new hair growth. Additionally, the blend is able to successfully treat curved and distorted follicles along with near-miss insertions due to its spreading action.

Despite all of its technical advantages, blend electrolysis does have a few disadvantages. For some individuals, the galvanic action tends to be somewhat more painful than thermolysis. Proper pain management makes the technique feasible, for example, by using a topical anaesthetic (e.g. Emla, available over-the-counter at pharmacies) and/or ice.

As well, administering effective blend electrolysis is a more complicated and involved process, requiring more training and expertise along with more sophisticated equipment. Thus, it is incumbent upon the informed client to ascertain that his or her electrologist indeed has sufficient skill and experience to be fully competent with the use of blend.

Complementing the electrologist’s skill is the type of equipment used: state-of-the-art computerized blend epilators are better suited due to the extensiveness and sheer volume of follicles requiring treatment during hair removal.


Electrolysis does not cure the cause of superfluous hair. It permanently stops hair growth only in the pore or hair follicle treated. This sounds like a paradox, but not actually.

Hair growth, either natural or unnatural, is due to a hormone. This hormone becomes more active with age, or it could be very active at an early age due to heredity. Other causes that activate this hormone to grow superfluous hair are side effects of certain medications, pregnancy, or glandular disturbances.

Electrolysis cannot inactivate this hormone, or cure the cause of hair growth. It does permanently stop growth of any existing hair, by destroying the papilla or root.

When hairs seemingly reappear in an area already treated, they are not the same hairs. They are new hairs growing from any of the thousands of dormant hair follicles that are activated by the hormone. Electrolysis absolutely does not stimulate hair growth.

Eventually, all the hair follicles in a particular area are destroyed. This may take just a few treatments or many. It is not usual to be completed in one, two, or three treatments. A chin or neck problem may take many hours.

Once an area is completed, it is normal that a person may have to receive one or two treatments per year as a general cleanup or check.

Many patients become discouraged in the beginning. This is due mostly to the lack of the knowledge just noted; or the person may have tampered with the hair beforehand, that is, by tweezing or waxing. These latter methods can distort hair follicles, making electrolysis more difficult but ultimately still successful. Cutting or shaving produce no harmful after-effects.

  • Shaving does NOT cause hair to grow more rapidly or cause it to become dark or coarse.
  • Shaving removes resting hair from the skin and ensures electrolysis is performed only on growing hairs.
  • Electrolysis treatment is more effective on growing hairs. Research has shown it is impossible to eliminate future hair growth from a follicle treated in the resting stage.
  • Shaving 3-4 days prior to electrolysis treatment makes electrolysis less time consuming, therefore less expensive.
  • Resting hairs do not respond well to electrolysis treatment, therefore treatment without preshaving could be wasted.

Signs of fragile skin:

Capillary damage, resulting in spider naevi, dilated capillaries, or blood spots, are most often signs of fragile skin.

Properties of fragile skin:

  • Fragile skin cannot withstand exposure to hot or cold temperature extremes, rough washing, and so forth.
  • The capillaries are there as a sign of weakness; because of this weakness, they could re-form. This is not because of any fault in the treatment procedure, but as a result of the inherent problem from which you suffer, namely thin skin structure and fragility.
  • There are no guarantees of complete success in the treatment of dilated capillaries.

After skin care treatment:

  • Do not stress your skin with vigorous washing and cleansing for 24 hours (this includes applying make-up).
  • An antibiotic, e.g. “Bactroban”, should be used for the first 24 hours to protect the skin, speed healing, and prevent infection.
  • Night creams and moisturizers are to be avoided that evening.
  • No picking: removing crusts prematurely may result in scars and/or infection.
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