How Electrolysis Hair Removal Works

July 19, 2021
Caitlyn Martyn
By: Caitlyn Martyn | by L'Oréal
How Electrolysis Hair Removal Works

Trying new hair removal methods can be a scary prospect,  especially because certain ones have the reputation of being painful (read: your first ever bikini wax). But when you find the right one, it can be a game-changer. For a non-invasive, permanent solution you may be considering electrolysis hair removal. We spoke to consulting expert, Dr. Michelle Henry, a board-certified dermatologist based in New York City, to learn more about how electrolysis hair removal works, how it differs from other hair removal methods and what to expect if you’re thinking about making an appointment. 

What Is Electrolysis Hair Removal and How Does it Work?

Electrolysis hair removal is the only method approved by the FDA for permanent hair removal. The process is very simple: a fine needle is threaded into the hair follicles and emits an electric current, which damages the hair, causing it to stop growing. “This method removes the unwanted hair by disrupting hair growth in the follicles themselves, causing the hair to fall out and not grow back,” says Dr. Henry. 

How Electrolysis Differs From Other Hair Removal Methods 

If you’ve got gray hair, electrolysis might be the right option for you. Because the lasers used in laser hair removal are attracted to pigment, it often doesn’t work as well to remove lighter hair colors, like blonde, gray or white. With electrolysis hair removal, on the other hand, pigment isn’t a factor. “What differentiates electrolysis hair removal from other types of hair removal methods is that it can treat gray hairs,” Dr. Henry says. “Lasers can’t identify these lighter hairs, but electrolysis does, because it goes directly into the follicle and interacts with the skin rather than the hair.”

What to Expect 

According to Dr. Henry, no special prep is needed beforehand. But afterwards, she says, gentle care is necessary. The skin can feel tender and there might be some inflammation in the follicle right after. So, to properly care for the skin, focus on using products with calming, soothing ingredients. 

To achieve best results, be sure to stay the course — electrolysis hair removal requires multiple sessions, says Dr. Henry. Thinking of giving it a shot? Consult your derm to find out if electrolysis hair removal is right for you. 


Photo: Chaunte Vaughn

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