Are you looking into getting but wondering, what is electrolysis or how does electrolysis work? Electrolysis is the only permanent hair removal procedure approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). After more than a century of use, it’s renowned for its effective, permanent, and painless benefits.

Yet, despite its effectiveness, there remains a lot of misinformation and misconceptions about electrolysis. We’re always being asked “what is electrolysis” and “how does electrolysis work” by our clients. And we often hear others – even industry professionals – repeating common but outdated electrolysis myths.

In this article, we’ll explain what is electrolysis, how does electrolysis work, and we’ll bust five common myths you’ll hear repeated about this hair removal procedure.

What is electrolysis?

Electrolysis is a method of permanent hair removal using an electric current to destroy the hair follicle. We use a fine needle injected next to the hair follicle to achieve lasting effects you’ll notice from the very first session. The hair is removed with tweezers after the follicle is destroyed. You can expect no further hair growth from that follicle going forwards.

Because some hair follicles are dormant at any time, you’ll need multiple sessions to achieve a substantial reduction in hair growth. But, with each additional session, you’ll notice less and less hair – the results are impressive.

You can receive electrolysis for your eyebrows, face, abdomen, thighs, breasts, and legs. There are no permanent side effects – though you may notice some skin reddening. It will fade within a few days, however.

Related blog: Laser hair removal VS Electrolysis: Which is best?

How does electrolysis work?

When we’re asked, “what is electrolysis”, we answer, “what type do you mean?” There are three broad types of electrolysis:

  • Galvanic
  • Thermolysis
  • Blend

Galvanic electrolysis

Galvanic electrolysis was first developed in 1875. Initially used to remove ingrown eyelashes, it was further developed for use elsewhere. It delivers a 0 to 30 milliamps current to your hair follicle, causing a form of chemical electrolysis as the hair follicle reacts and degrades. Like all forms of electrolysis, the effects are permanent.


Thermolysis involves heat (“thermos”) to break down (“lysis”) your hair follicles. Also known as radiofrequency, shortwave, or diathermy electrolysis, it involves inserting a probe next to the hair follicles and heating up the hair matrix cells to 118 to 122°F, causing electrocoagulation.

Blend electrolysis

Finally, blend electrolysis combines the two prior methods, hence the name. It uses a direct current and radiofrequency to more efficiently remove hair with less damage to the surrounding tissue. It’s sometimes known as the ‘dual-action method’.

Related blog: Electrolysis hair removal: Everything you need to know

5 Myths about electrolysis

1. It’s extremely painful

Electricity. Heat. Skin. It sounds painful, right? We understand why it’s a common misconception. But, it’s just that – a misconception. With recent advances in the procedure, you won’t find any electrolysis types that cause significant pain.

Like many cosmetic treatments, you may notice a slight discomfort. However, you can speak to your electrolysis practitioner and ask for an anesthetic cream. It will numb the affected area, reducing any discomfort to an absolute minimum.

You may also notice a little soreness in the following hours and days. It’s only temporary and will subside.

2. It’s not permanent

With so many hair removal techniques claiming to be permanent, it’s understandable why you’d be skeptical. Nevertheless, we promise electrolysis is about as permanent as it gets. While no hair removal treatment guarantees a 100% reduction in hair loss, you can expect a noticeable and significant decrease after an entire course of sessions – around 80 to 95%.

We’ll always try to remove every hair we can. But with finer hairs, it’s more difficult to damage the underlying follicle fully. And if the follicle remains, hair regrowth is inevitable.

Electrolysis is one of the most effective hair removal techniques on the market.

3. You only need one treatment

Yes, electrolysis can yield noticeable benefits after a single session. It’s not miraculous, however. Just as with other hair removal treatments, you’ll need to be patient. Because some hair follicles remain in a dormant state, you’ll need multiple sessions to see a sizable reduction in hair growth.

We typically advise our clients to undergo eight to twelve electrolysis sessions. It’s a lot, but the benefits are permanent. It takes around 12 months to complete all sessions. The average session lasts between 15 to 60 minutes, depending on the size of the area being treated.

4. It’s not suitable for men

Electrolysis is suitable for everyone, no matter their shape, size, gender, or quantity of hair. We see plenty of men wanting hair removal who opt for electrolysis. In fact, the split of people undergoing hair removal is probably a lot more equal than you think.

However, because men have higher testosterone levels, it can mean a few more sessions are needed to achieve the desired results.

Common areas for men to undergo electrolysis are their back, chest, and eyebrows. But we’ll remove hair from anywhere it’s unwanted.

5. Temporary hair removal is better

The hair removal market is packed with temporary products. You’ll see creams and liquids claiming to remove all hair – some even use bleach and other harsh chemicals to disguise dark hair. And then, of course, there’s waxing and tweezers.

None of these methods is permanent or will achieve lasting results. While we always believe there’s a hair removal treatment for everyone, we do not recommend waxing or chemical depilatories (like liquids or creams) for truly long-term results. Such treatments do not damage the hair follicle, meaning hair regrowth will reoccur.

Related blog: How painful is electrolysis VS laser hair removal?

What is electrolysis? Permanent hair removal treatment

Ignore the myths and misconceptions surrounding electrolysis. Alongside laser hair removal, it’s the only truly permanent solution to hair removal.

With a trained professional, it should be relatively painless, permanent, and suitable for all ages and genders.

Contact us if you’re interested in permanent hair removal with electrolysis. We’re ready to help.