Jenna the Denver electrolysis expert here! This is part two for the blog post I started last week on the article “Electrolysis: Observations from 13 years and 140,000 hours of experience” by Robert N. Richards and Gay E. Meharg.
The next part of the article describes the properties of the needles used in electrolysis. The needles should be good electrical conductors (obviously!). Needle diameter needs to be very fine (also obviously!), such as between 0.002 to 0.006 inches, or for those outside of the United States, 0.005 to 0.015 millimeters. It is possible for needles to break off in the skin, but this is very uncommon. Even if a needle does break off, symptoms have not been reported.
The article notes that the type of needle used is less important than “proper electrolysis technique, accurate insertion, and appropriate intensities and duration.” However, the authors prefer to use a flexible two-piece needle over a more rigid one piece needle. It’s important to have flexibility in order to properly insert – not all hair follicles are perfectly straight.
It’s important to note that this article dates back to 1995, so some of the things it says may be out of date by now. I don’t know if this is still true now, but back then, there was very little medical research being done in electrolysis, and a study to determine efficacy of different methods was about to be launched by the American Electrology Association (an organization that I will be looking at in a future blog post).
Richards and Meharg note that plucking can produce side effects, but they vary according to the individual. For example, some women pluck facial hair daily and nothing happens to their skin. However, other women pluck their hair and end up with hyperpigmentation, scarring, ingrown hairs, and distorted hair follicles. The same goes for waxing – some people have side effects and some do not. One reason that you should not pluck or wax hairs is because it can damage the hair shaft and thus produce more negative side effects. If electrolysis is performed correctly, there is no scarring – people who think they were scarred by electrolysis are more likely incorrectly targeting electrolysis as the cause instead of their plucking and picking.