Electrolysis FAQ

Does it Hurt?  Really?

The short answer is it depends.  It is impossible to destroy hair growth tissue without sensation because each hair follicle is surrounded by its own network of nerve endings. The sensation, which may or may not be felt, is assurance that destructive activity is taking place. Some clients sleep through hours of treatments and others honestly find 15 minutes to be uncomfortable.  We utilize advanced Apilus technology ensuring our clients a gentler and more comfortable way to permanent hair removal.  If you have tried electrolysis before, try it again and feel the Apilus difference.

The sensation you might experience depends on many reasons including where one is having treatment and what method is used.  Some parts of the body are more sensitive than others.  If you have ever waxed or plucked, you’ll find electrolysis to be surprisingly comfortable.  Some clients have described the sensation as a  pinch, a mosquito bite, a quick snap, or building warmth.  Many adjustments can be made which help to make the treatment more comfortable. Some clients choose to take an OTC analgesic such as Tylenol, Aspirin, or Advil 30 – 45 minutes before treatment and report treatment is very comfortable.  We will work within your personal comfort level and do have topical anesthetics available.

Where can I have treatment–who will you treat?

Just about anywhere!  Unwanted hair can be safely removed from most body areas.  Common areas include the hairline, bridge of nose, eyebrows, upper and lower lip, cheeks, sideburns, ears, chin, neck, shoulders, arms and underarms, fingers, hands, breasts, abdomen, bikini line, legs, back, and chest of men, women and teens.  The inside of the ear canal and inside the nose should not be treated.

Hours of Service

We work by appointment.  Feel free to call the office (319) 465-3646 Tuesdays 10:00 am to 6pm,  Wednesdays 3:00pm to 6:00pm, Fridays  9:00 am  to 5:30 pm, and  Saturdays 9:00 am to 12:30 pm and we will be available to take your call and questions.  We do not have a receptionist at all times so if you reach our answering service during these hours we are assisting/in treatment with other clients and will promptly return your call. Please leave a voice mail message as detailed as you need to and we will get right back to you.  For directions to us, please click here.

Because we work by appointment, we ask to be informed 24 hours in advance should you need to cancel or change an appointment.  We do understand that emergencies occur, but remember we reserve our time especially for you.  We would like to be able to offer the time slot to other clients if you will not be using it.  Should you not give 24 hours notice, we reserve the right to charge for our time.

What exactly do you do to the hair?

Electrology is the art and science of permanent hair removal utilizing probe devices.  A fine sterile probe is inserted into the hair follicle and a small amount of electrical energy is discharged which destroys the hair growth tissue. When this is competently and skillfully accomplished, the regenerative ability of the hair follicle is permanently eliminated.  The hair is lifted out after treatment and you leave with bare skin!

Why should I choose electrology over other hair removal methods?

If you want permanent hair removal, electrology is the only way to achieve this goal.

Is it really permanent?  How long does it take?

Absolutely!  However, electrolysis is not an overnight sensation.  Electrolysis requires a series of treatments to achieve permanency.  The number of treatments necessary varies with each client and with the area being treated. Factors such as hair growth cycles, the quantity and structure of hair presented, previous use of temporary hair removal methods, heredity, hormone function, normal physiologic changes, certain medications, and stress all influence the treatment program for each individual.  In most cases, it takes between 12 and 18 months to have absolute permanence.  It is very important to adhere to the recommended treatment schedule to achieve optimum results in the shortest time frame.

To see a sample treatment schedule for someone with heavy chin hair who used to pluck every day, click here.  Depending on how much hair is visible, this client may work up to an hour long treatment in 2 to 3 appointments and stay there for +/- 9 weeks.  Then the frequency at which they visit or the amount of treatment time will be reduced.  Without looking at your individual hair pattern and knowing what removal methods you have tried, as well as the potential cause of the hair growth, it is impossible to accurately estimate how many treatments it will take.  These samples will give you a picture of typical situations.  If you would like to know exactly what your treatment schedule looks like we encourage you to call for a free consultation and find out exactly what you will need to do to get great results from us.

What are the basic methods you use in treatments?

Electrolysis — Direct current (DC), is used to achieve chemical destruction of the hair follicle. One or more sterile probes are used.

Thermolysis — Alternating current (AC), sometimes referred to as high frequency or short-wave, is used to create heat which destroys the hair follicle. One sterile probe is used.

The Blend (also referred to as Dual Modality) — Both of the above currents are used simultaneously or sequentially to achieve dual action destruction of the hair follicle. Most often, a single sterile probe is used for this procedure.

You can get great results with any modality if you have a skilled electrologist.  Your electrologist will select the best method for your individual situation.

Why do I have to come so often?  Does it make a difference if I let them all “grow in” and then come in?

Yes, it makes a difference!  It is important to follow your individual treatment schedule to get the fastest results.  Hairs are most effectively treated in their early growth stages when the hairs are finer and straighter and the target zone is smaller helping us to reach all of the germinative cells that grow hairs.  Regular treatments ensures catching hairs at this early growth stage and makes for a more effective treatment with less potential for regrowth.  If you can make the time commitment at the beginning of treatment, you can think of it as taking time off the end so you get the best results in the shortest time frame.

Why should I choose electrology over temporary or long lasting hair removal methods?

Laser vs. Electrology:

While laser promoters compare laser to electrology it is actually not a permanent form of hair removal.  Only a few laser devices have been cleared to claim a  permanent reduction in hair by the FDA.  Intense Pulsed Light (IPG) though often called laser, is NOT a true laser and not approved by the FDA to claim any efficacy.  Electrology is cleared for permanent removal of hair.  All laser-assisted hair removal is considered a temporary or long-lasting method of hair removal.  Additionally, laser hair removal has not been evaluated for the long-term safety of the patient’s skin and health–new research is showing prolonged exposure to a laser is capable of changing skin cells at the genetic level.  For more information on questions regarding the safety of laser hair removal click here.  To access the FDA Laser Fact Page click here.

Essentially, laser targets the pigmented cells in hairs.  It also takes a series of treatments (generally 6+ spaced out every 6 weeks or so) as all hair is not present at one time.  On some body parts it takes up to a year to see a complete growth cycle–think about the hair on your head, if it all fell out and re-grew as fast as most people think, you’d have really, really short hair all the time!  Clients shave prior to treatment, the laser is applied to the skin and heats the pigmented cells charring the moisture out of the hairs.  The hairs slough/fall out on their own over the next few days or weeks.  Skin looks sunburned after treatment and must be protected from the sun.  The best results are very dark hair and very, very light skin.  Darker skin tones or tanned skin must be treated with extreme caution as laser is attracted to pigment and may require bleaching and sun avoidance for 6 weeks prior to and following treatment if it can be treated at all.  White, grey, and some red hairs are unaffected by laser.  Laser does have potential to work with electrolysis.  One could argue laser would be well used to initially clear large areas like legs and then follow up with electrolysis as the hair grows back in following a series of laser treatments.

Do make sure your laser technician is a doctor (MD) and has appropriate training.  There is no regulation for laser training.  Yes, you read that right.  A Dr. can take anyone of you and “train you” in her/his office without any program requirements.  You too could take a weekend course and be a certified laser technician (CLT) and use the Allied Health Association “Rent a Medical Director” program and not have a doctor on site at all.  Each state varies, some don’t even require a medical director–not even one in name only!  Treatments are only as good as your technician/operator in any hair removal method, but for safety reasons, especially important here given the larger expense of treatments and potential for tissue damage.

Electrology has proven itself safe, effective, and permanent for over 125 years.

Waxing, Sugaring, Nads, Epilady or Threading vs. Electrology:

Waxing, Sugaring, Nads, and threading will remove all of the visible hair by ripping it out by the root.  Except in the case of threading, the outer layer of skin is often removed when the hair is removed.  It can result in skin problems including ingrown hair, scarring, pigment changes, and bruising.  To keep your skin clear, (and contrary to advertising claims) all of these methods must be done frequently forever.  You must also wait until hair is at least 1/4″ to 1/2″ (about 3 weeks of growth) long for the wax/sugar/Nads “glue” to adhere to the removal strip.

Research has shown that any method that rips hair out by the root such as waxing, sugaring, and Nads type products can actually increase hair growth in hormonally dependent areas such as the upper lip, chin, breasts, and abdomen!  This is not such an issue on areas like eyebrows and legs wax away if you must and your skin can tolerate it.

Tweezing vs. Electrology:

Tweezing is easy to do, and inexpensive too.  However hair can become coarser from the repeated tweezing and skin problems including ingrown hair, pigment changes, and scaring can result. Obviously it is not a permanent solution to unwanted hair.  NEVER tweeze the upper/lower lip, chin, breasts, or abdomen!  You are stimulating growth in these areas.  The hair will become thicker and darker.  NEVER tweeze out ingrown hairs.  You will make the situation worse.  The hair will distort further and you will have a bigger lesion the next time it grows in, really, trust us.  Stop performing self-surgery, we mean it.

Shaving vs. Electrology:

Shaving is inexpensive and easy. However, the hair does grow back quickly and feels coarse as it is cut off leaving a blunt tip.  Shaving DOES NOT increase hair growth in any way.  Seriously, this is the biggest myth in hair removal.  Hair is dead above the skin surface.  Anything you do at this level does not affect hair growth.  Shaving is a safe temporary method of removal for basically anywhere.

Depilatories vs. Electrology:

Depilatories are essentially a chemical shave.  It will remove the hair by dissolving it with a chemical. This can result in a chemical burning of the skin if you are not careful about patch testing and respecting timing.

Is Electrolysis safe?

Absolutely.  Our office follows the American Electrology Association (AEA) Standards for Infection Control which ensure electrolysis is performed under the highest standards of cleanliness and safety.  We utilize only sterile disposable probes for all treatments and always utilize fresh latex-free medical grade disposable gloves for each treatment.

What do you mean my hair is “resting” under the skin?

All hairs start as an empty hair follicle and then grow into a fully mature hair.  At some point, it separates from its blood supply, ascends toward the surface of the skin and falls out.  Following active growing periods, most hair follicles go into a dormant or resting stage. The period of dormancy may last for an indefinite period of time, however, replacement hairs usually appear within 3 to 12 months.  If you have ever brushed your hair and looked at the hairs in the brush you may have noticed the white tuft on the end of them.  These are hairs that were naturally shed.  As opposed to when you pluck, say an eyebrow hair, it might have a moist shinny ball at the end.  This is a growing hair.

Not all hairs are visible on the surface of the skin at any one time.  Depending on the area of the body, you may wait for 12 weeks or 12 months to see all of the dormant hairs come to the surface as your hair pattern fills in.   The appearance of these coarse replacement hairs from dormant hair follicles should not be mistaken as regrowth from previously treated follicles.

What will my skin look like–will everyone know I’ve been in?

Immediately following treatment, there may be a slight redness and/or swelling which usually disappears within a few minutes to a few hours. Though not desirable on face work, small white dots or tiny red dots may occur.  Ideally, by the next day no one should be able to tell you have had treatment.  On body work a pinpoint film or crust may develop.  It is important to remember that scabs are a part of the normal healing process in some people. If this does occur, the client is advised to not pick them off.  Be sure and tell your Electrologist about any skin reactions so they can work with you to minimize their occurrence.   When electrology is administered by a qualified electrologist using state-of-the-art technology and techniques, the results are exciting!

Can women begin or continue electrology treatments during pregnancy?

Yes.  Electrology has never been proven harmful in any way to pregnant women for over 125 years.  Our office does not treat the breasts, abdomen, or bikini line of pregnant women in their last trimester due to the increased sensation they experience.

Can hairs be removed from moles?

Yes they can.  Your electrologist may require a note (on a prescription pad is fine) from your healthcare provider stating it is a typical hairy nevus (mole with a hair) and safe to treat.

Can you work on my tattoo?

Yes.  Electrology has never been a problem for tattoos.  In fact it is one of the few hair removal methods that doesn’t affect the design.

How much does it cost?

We charge only for actual treatment time.  What that means is if you have a 15 minute appointment you will not be in and out in your car in 15 minutes.  You will be in the treatment chair for 15 minutes.  We book additional time between each client to ensure you receive your full time.  If you are squeezing us between your other appointments allow us about a 30 minute window for your 15 minute appointment.

Our current pricing schedule is as follows:

10 minutes = $25

15 minutes = $30

30 minutes = $45

45 minutes = $60

60 minutes = $70

90 minutes =  $100

Larger blocks of time can be reserved if your electrologist agrees.

Should I be tipping?

At our practice, we feel that every client deserves outstanding service for every treatment and as such it is included in the fees you pay.

What forms of payment do you accept–do you send a bill?

We accept cash, checks, Visa or MasterCard at the time of service.  We are happy to provide a receipt or statement if you need it for your FLEX spending plan or your records.

How should I choose an electrologist?

Regulation of electrology is on a state-by-state basis. States regulating the practice of electrology require a practitioner hold a valid license.  Currently Minnesota does not regulate Electrologists at all. In Illinois Electrologists will eventually be state licensed but at this time it is not regulated. In Iowa Electrologists are State Licensed, they would hold an “RE” designation or “LE”, both mean the same thing, that they have passed the state approved license examination.

Membership in the American Electrology Association or other professional organization can indicate the electrologist is keeping current with their field. Look for certificates, with current dates.  An electrologist with  “CPE” designation is a Certified Professional Electrologist.  It is a voluntary national certification awarded with the passing of a written certification examination and indicates a willingness to pursue advanced opportunities.

Most Electrologists offer a free consultation as we do.  Meet with them and look for a clean, professional office space and modern equipment.  Find someone you trust and enjoy spending some quality hair-removal time with.