What is Electrolysis?

May 1, 2024
Electrolysis being performed on a face

What is Electrolysis?

Electrolysis is a method of removing individual hairs from the face or body. Today's medical electrolysis devices destroy the growth center of the hair with chemical or heat energy. After a very fine wire is inserted into the hair follicle, the hair is removed with tweezers.

Most areas of the body can be treated with electrolysis, including the eyebrows, face, abdomen, thighs, breasts, and legs. There are generally no permanent side effects, but sometimes a temporary, slight reddening of the skin may occur.

How Does Electrolysis Work?

Your specially trained technician will insert a thin wire into each of your hair follicles (but not through your skin) in the area you want treated. Then, they’ll send a current of electricity down the wire, which heats up and kills the hair follicle as well as the root itself. When the electrical current is passed through the probe, you may feel a hot, pinching sensation. There should be minimal discomfort throughout the procedure, depending on the area of the skin being treated. Some areas may be more sensitive than others.

Destroying both the hair follicle and root makes the hair fall out and stops it from ever growing back.


After treatment, you may experience some skin sensitivity and redness. This should fade within a few hours.

Generally, it can take several appointments over the course of months to clear a larger area of all hair growth. Treatment times vary for every individual. Over the course of your electrolysis treatments, the hair in the desired areas should thin and become lighter until, finally, the hair vanishes completely.

Safe & Effective

In the hands of a qualified professional, electrolysis is absolutely safe and effective. A skilled and experienced electrologist should be trained to insert the probe into the hair follicle without damage or irritation to the surrounding tissue. The result is permanent hair removal.

Electrolysis vs. Laser Hair Removal

Because electrolysis destroys the hair follicle, hair can never grow back. It’s effective for the greatest range of skin and hair types. While laser hair removal reduces the amount of hair that grows back, it doesn’t end all growth.

Laser hair removal also differs from electrolysis in these ways:

  • It uses heat to destroy cells that have a lot of color. The light from the laser attaches to pigment, or color, in your hair to heat up the follicle. This damages—but does not destroy—the follicle.  
  • Unlike electrolysis, which treats one hair follicle at a time, your technician can use a light-emitting laser hair to remove all the hair in a large area.
  • Because the light from the laser damages cells that have a lot of color, it works best for people with light skin and thick, dark hair.
  • Your technician must go back and forth over the treatment area with the laser to remove all the hair in the area, which can irritate sensitive skin.

Electrolysis Methods

There are three recognized methods of electrolysis, all with equal effectiveness


The Galvanic method is the original method of electrolysis. It uses an electrical current to stimulate a chemical reaction, creating a tiny amount of lye that destroys the hair follicle cells.


The Thermolysis method involves using radiofrequency energy to generate a tiny burst of heat that destroys the follicle cells.

The Blend:

The Blend method combines the galvanic and thermolysis methods. The RF energy of the thermolysis method heats the lye generated by the galvanic method, destroying the follicle cells.