How Does Electrolysis Hair Removal Work?

electrolysis-hair-removal-treatment.jpg
Photo Peter Muller / Getty Images

Electrolysis hair removal is the only method approved by the FDA for permanent hair removal. It does require multiple sessions to achieve the best possible results. However, this doesn't guarantee that you'll never see any hair where you got treated for the rest of your life.

How It Works

An electric current is applied using a very fine needle-shaped electrode or metal probe into each hair follicle with the mission to destroy the hair's root.

There are three types of electrolysis: galvanic, thermolysis and blend.

Hair grows in different stages: growing, resting and shedding. Because all of the hair isn't on the same stage at any given time, multiple sessions are needed to get treatments.

The Pros

  1. It has the best track record. Electrolysis has the best overall results compared to any other methods when it comes to getting rid of hair permanently.
  2. Many different hair and skin types can benefit. It doesn't target the hair pigment (color) like laser treatment but attacks the follicle itself. People that aren't good candidates for laser can still get electrolysis.

The Cons

  1. Bent follicles can make electrolysis hair removal harder. Previous waxing or tweezing can make hair follicles bent or misshapen, which makes getting the needle to the root more difficult.
  2. Multiple treatments are needed. You have to truly be committed to electrolysis because you will need anywhere from 15-30 sessions.

    Ouch Factor

    Everyone has their own tolerance to pain. Electrolysis has been likened to a stinging and pricking sensation, and each follicle has to go through it.

    Electrolysis Hair Removal Costs

    An average 30-minute session is about $45. Read more electrolysis costs.