What’s in a name?
Electrolysis takes its name from the electro-chemical reaction at the core of the treatment. The galvanic part comes from the original name for what we now know as a battery – a Galvanic Cell. These Galvanic Cells were used to power the first electrolysis machines (epilators) back in the 19th century.
How does it work?
A negative current is applied to the hair follicle and any moisture present in the follicle is gradually converted into sodium hydroxide (commonly known as lye) over a few minutes. Lye is highly reactive in the presence of organic compounds (in this case, skin). Fortunately, the amount of lye produced is miniscule and highly targeted to the area it is intended to work on within the hair follicle.
How is it done?
Firstly, a conductive pad is attached to the client’s arm or leg to allow a circuit to be completed between the client and the machine.
The electrologist then slides a hair-thin metal probe into each targeted hair follicle. Contrary to the popular misconception, these probes are not needles. In fact, they are completely blunt in order to prevent puncturing the skin and cannot be felt as they slide into the follicle alongside the target hair.
For several minutes, a tiny current is passed through the probe to convert moisture into lye. The probe is then removed along with the entire hair, which will come out effortlessly.
Why does it work?
Right up until the 1990s it had been a mystery as to why hair removal treatment with Galvanic Electrolysis proved to be permanent when alternative methods that also destroyed the hair root usually allowed the hair to eventually regrow. Researchers in South Korea were finally able to provide an answer when they demonstrated that hair follicles with both the hair and root removed (i.e.: with the bottom third of the follicle removed) were able to regenerate new hairs from stem cells located in an area of the follicle called the bulge proving that the bulge must be removed or destroyed to prevent hair regrowth.
Galvanic Electrolysis destroys the bulge as well as the hair and its root. The bulge is impervious to laser light, being semi-transparent like skin, and only susceptible to thermolysis when in the growth stage and in close contact with the hair itself.