Electrolysis: Observations from 13 years and 140,000 hours of experience – Part 1

Jenna the Denver electrologist here, continuing her series on scholarly articles related to electrolysis. I find these articles by running searches on PubMed. The article that we are going to look at today is “Electrolysis: Observations from 13 years and 140,000 hours of experience” by Robert N. Richards and Gay E. Meharg. Did you know that electrolysis has been around since 1875? I didn’t realize it was that old! I will summarize the article in the following paragraphs.

The article goes over the types of electrolysis methods available. The first method is galvanic electrolysis, which used a single or multiple needle. The needle is inserted into a hair follicle, and a direct electric current passes through the needle into the follicle. The way galvanic electrolysis works to destroy the hair follicle is because the electricity interacts with the tissue saline to form sodium hydroxide, more commonly known as lye. Lye is a caustic agent that destroys hair bulb and dermal papilla. This type of electrolysis is the most effective, but it is pretty slow; each hair may require more than a minute to properly be destroyed!

The second method is thermolysis. This utilizes shortwave, diathermy, or high radio frequency. When the need is inserted into the hair follicle, an alternating current travels through the follicular tissue. This causes the molecules to vibrate, which results in heat that destroys the hair bulb. The thermolysis method is much faster; it may only need a few seconds to do the trick. However, it is not as effective as galvanic electrolysis. It does a good job usually with fine hairs, but not thick hairs. The thermolysis method also doesn’t work well for hair follicles that are curved.

The third method is called the blend method. As you can probably guess by the name, it combines galvanic electrolysis and thermolysis. With the blend method, you can pick which type of electrolysis you want to use based on the type of hair. For fine hairs, you can move faster with thermolysis, and for thick hairs, you can make sure it gets completely destroyed with galvanic electrolysis.

In my next blog post, I’ll finish summarizing this article. Until then, have a happy New Year!