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Electrolysis is a permanent hair removal solution for men and women. It is a 100+ year old method that is tried and true and the only method recognized by the FDA as permanent. 

How does electrolysis for hair removal work?

Electrolysis is the technique and science of permanent hair removal.  A small amount of electricity or a solution of sodium hydroxide is introduced to the base of the hair follicle (hair papilla) in order to destroy the root of the hair. 

Three methods of electrolysis for permanent hair removal:

  1. Thermolysis applies alternating current to the probe at the base of the hair in order to create heat and destroy the hair follicle. This is the most commonly used method because it is very fast and effective.

  2. Blend uses a combination of heat and current to speed up the galvanic chemical reaction to destroy the hair follicle. This method is slightly slower than thermolysis but is very effective and often used to treat difficult areas.

  3. Galvanic was the first form of electrolysis and is not often performed currently. It uses direct current to cause a chemical reaction within the body in order to destroy the hair follicle. Galvanic has fallen out of favor because it takes a significantly longer time to work.

At Barely There Electrolysis, we use a combination of the above modalities by creating customized settings to bring you the best possible results in permanent hair removal.

How is electrolysis performed?

A very fine probe is inserted into the natural opening in the skin (hair follicle) without piercing the skin. Once the probe is inserted, sodium hydroxide or electricity are delivered to the hair papilla in order to cut off blood supply to the hair follicle and permanently stop hair growth.

This 3D animation shows how a very fine electrolysis filament is inserted into the natural opening of the hair follicle alongside the hair shaft.  A quick computer-controlled current is then applied to destroy the hair growth cells allowing the electrologist to slide out the hair without any resistance.

Reasons for excessive hair growth:

Hair growth may be caused by many factors. Androgens are hormones that are present in both men and women. These hormones are responsible for hair growth. The use of some medications, family history, race, as well as physical and psychological stress may contribute to hair growth.  Laser Hair Reduction is also known to stimulate hair growth, especially on the chin and cheeks. Occasionally, a change in hair growth patterns may be a symptom of a medical disorder - metabolic or hormonal conditions like PCOS, Diabetes, Thyroid etc.

Who is a candidate for Electrolysis treatments?

Anyone.  Electrolysis works on any hair color, skin color,  and gender.  This is what sets Electrolysis apart from Laser Hair Reduction and is the leading reason clients seek out Electrolysis treatments. 

What areas can be treated with Electrolysis?

Basically anywhere that hair grows except for inside the ears and nose.  We typically treat eyebrows, face, chin, upper lip, back, bikini line, under arm, breast or chest area, lower abdomen, legs, and toes.  To find out more about your specific needs, speak directly with our Electrologist to figure out a plan that would work best for your situation.

Electrolysis vs Laser - What is the difference?


  • First Used in 1875 

  • Electrolysis is 100% Permanent

  • Only method approved by FDA as Permanent 

  • Safe/Effective for all skin and hair types

  • Targets "root cause" i.e. blood supply of the hair

  • Electrolysis works for all hair types, does not require maintenance, and can be performed on tanned skin.

  • Electrolysis works on hereditary, metabolic, and hormonal conditions such as PCOS, Hirsutism, Diabetic and Thyroid conditions etc.


  • First Used in the Mid 1990s

  • Only considered hair reduction and it's not guaranteed.

  • FDA approved only to be "permanent reduction"*

  • Not safe/effective for all skin and hair types**

  • Targets Melanin (Pigment of the hair)

*Laser - Lifetime maintenance is required. In some cases laser can stimulate more hair growth.


**Laser does not work on light hair of any color, blonde, brown, red, or grey. It also does not work on hair that is sparse or fine in texture. It is also not safe on tanned skin.

Have additional questions?  Read our Frequently Asked Questions page.  


Skin and Hair Follicle
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