Electrolysis can get costly if the services of a skilled electrologist are used to remove hair on large areas of the body. Doing electrolysis yourself the homemade way can be cost-effective. However, it's important to choose the right tool and learn correct techniques for home electrolysis.
About DIY Electrolysis
Electrolysis is considered the most permanent method of hair removal. However, if you can't find a skilled electrologist in your city or lack the financial means to pay for electrolysis treatments, home treatment can be effective. However, this means acquiring the required skills so that you don't injure your skin and cause infection and scarring.
Before you decide that home electrolysis is for you, consider the area that you're treating. If it's a small area, such as the chin or upper lip, you might come out ahead by seeking the services of a professional. Home electrolysis for facial hair is ill-advised. Electrolysis practitioners charge by the hour. The hourly cost can range from $45 to $125. Small areas of hair, such as the brow or upper lip, can effectively be treated in an hour.
Choose the Right Tools
Often, consumers confuse home electrolysis devices with electric tweezers, which are a dubious method to remove hair, as hair is a poor conductor of electricity. As early as 1985, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission removed some brands of electric tweezers due to deceptive advertising--in other words, the product did not work as it claimed.
A home electrolysis device uses an intricate, barely-there probe (needle), which is inserted through the skin next to the hair follicle. The device delivers an electric jolt to kill the hair root. The probe is on springs that allow it to enter the skin at a certain depth and no further. It usually takes about 20 seconds to treat each hair follicle--five seconds to locate the hair root and another 15 seconds to deliver enough electricity to kill it.
Home electrolysis devices can be purchased online under brands such as One Touch Home Electrolysis. That product costs about $25 in 2009 at drugstores or beauty supply shops. Some people buy professional electrolysis machines. But be aware that in some states, it's illegal to purchase and use these machines if you are not a trained electrologist.
Helpful Home Electrolysis Tips
If you've never performed electrolysis on yourself before, practice on a small area of skin, such as on a leg or thigh. The American Medical Association's Committee on Cutaneous Health and Cosmetics recommends that you only treat areas of the skin that are accessible, such as the lower arms and legs. The AMA advises that you not use home electrolysis on your face; this requires use of a reverse hand direction. Performed improperly, treating facial hair yourself can result in marked scarring.
Keeping your equipment clean is of paramount importance. Disinfect the probe of the device with alcohol each time before it is used, especially if you share the device with others. Keep sterile tweezers handy so you can remove each hair follicle after it is treated. Cover the work area in clean towels so you can rest your equipment on them when you want to take a break.
Treat no more than one square inch of hair at one time. If you're getting started with home electrolysis, give yourself a couple of days after the first treatment to see how your skin reacts. Never treat a hair more than twice in the same home session. As with any method of hair reduction, you will note regrowth that requires additional electrolysis treatment.
Unfortunately, while home electrolysis is cost-efficient, many women experience more pain and post-treatment inflammation than if they'd sought the services of a professional. Sometimes home electrolysis doesn't work. The more hair you have, the less chances you have for success.
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Lisa Sefcik has been writing professionally since 1987. Her subject matter includes pet care, travel, consumer reviews, classical music and entertainment. She's worked as a policy analyst, news reporter and freelance writer/columnist for Cox Publications and numerous national print publications. Sefcik holds a paralegal certification as well as degrees in journalism and piano performance from the University of Texas at Austin.