What is Electrolysis?

Dean Laming ACIIBy Dean Laming on November 29th, 2016

Electrolysis is a type of hair removal where the device destroys the growth centre of the hair with chemical or heat energy. You can treat most parts of the body with this type of hair removal including eyebrows, face, abdomen, thighs, breasts and legs.

In a series of blog posts, we are going to be looking further into some of the more popular beauty treatments available. We aim to get a better understanding of what each treatment is, what it involves and what it does. But what is electrolysis? Today we explore the treatment in more detail.

What is electrolysis?

There are three different types of electrolysis for hair removal which are galvanic, thermolysis and a ‘blend’ of the two. Electrolysis works by passing a small amount of energy into each hair follicle using a very fine needle. This is to disable the follicle resulting in the hair falling out. The aim is for the hair follicle to be permanently disabled so it does not regrow.

Galvanic electrolysis

Galvanic electrolysis had been in use for over 150 years but was further developed in 1916, where an additional five heddles were added to help reduce the time of the treatment. This method uses a chemical reaction to destroy the hair follicle. A needle is inserted into the follicle and a small electric charge is administered. This reacts with the saline found at the base of the follicle which then produces sodium hydroxide. This helps destroy the cells and to permanently disable the follicle and prevent regrowth. This method is best suited to coarse, thick hair.


This is a newer method than galvanic as it offers a quicker alternative solution. You perform this treatment in a similar way but instead of an electric current, the needle delivers a radio energy at a high frequency. This vibrates the follicle which in turn irritates the water molecules surrounding the base. This produces heat which thickens the fluid into a mass then destroying the cell tissue. This method is best suited for fine hair.


This method is a mixture of galvanic and thermolysis which has been around since 1945. The galvanic current produces the sodium hydroxide whilst the high frequency vibrates and heats it up. As it heats up, it disperses and absorbs into every area of the hair follicle. This method is best suited for fine body and facial hair or scattered coarse hair.

Electrolysis training

‘’The Sterex Academy believe, for the sake of clients’ motivation and hair growth management, a variety of hair removal treatments should be offered by anyone claiming to be a hair removal expert BUT as the only permanent hair removal method, electrolysis must be included.’’

Gill Morris, Director of Commercial Development, Sterex Academy.

Further information

You can find out more about what our Salon Gold policy covers for freelance beauty therapists on our freelance insurance page.  Please note that our beauty policies will cover Electrolysis (hair removal only) as standard but if you require cover for Advanced Electrolysis (including cover for the removal of thread veins, warts, skin tags and mole hairs), this is available for an additional charge.

Disclaimer: It’s always advisable to discuss the nature of any treatment in detail with your Beauty Therapist before undergoing any form of beauty treatment. Have you tried Electrolysis?  What did you think?  Join in the conversation on Facebook.

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