I wanted to relate my experience with home electrolysis. My ultimate goal is total beard removal. I decided to initially focus on the hairs under my nose and on my upper lip.
I first used the Clear and Easy version of the one-touch. I found that this machine could work, but initially I did get some burns and the needle was sometime very large compared to the hair folicles that I was inserting them into. I did the footswitch modification (found elsewhere on this site) and this helped a lot to control the current. Most of the burns I got seemed to be from either inserting or removing the needle when the current was flowing.
I do dabble a bit in electronics and decided to build my own device. I followed some of the tips found here and purchased some .005 and .003 insulated “blend” needles and a stylus from Texas Electrolysis supply.Then I built a small unit using around an LM 555 timer chip, some capacitors and some potentiometers to set the time and current. I used an inexpensive Radio Shack multi-meter to observe the current flow. My ultimate goal was to make a multi-needle, constant current home unit. While this was a facinating excercise and greatly expanded my electronics knowledge, it overall did little to remove hair! You aren’t zapping hairs when you are researching a circuit or soldiering. Also, it was clear to me that multi-needles would be practically impossible to place by myself. You need to be horizontal for them to stay in place. (Oh, I forgot to mention, I do have a rather high pain tolerance…)
After all this trail and error and a big bill at Radio Shack, here is the simple solution I arrived at:
I use a 9v battery, battery clip, a 10 Ohm resistor, a stylus with a 003 needle and a sponge in a bowl of saltwater as a footswitch. These are connected with wires terminated with (nicely soldiered) alligator clips. I figured out the 10 Kohm resistance by experimenting with the multi-meter; balancing my pain tolerence, treatment time, current and resistance. The circuit is simple… the negative battery lead goes to the stylus, the positive lead goes through the resistor and is attached to the salt-water sponge using an alligator clip. Insert the needle, touch you foot to the sponge and start counting…1,2,3.
I measured the voltage drop and observed that my normal body resistene is about 7 Kohms, for a 17 Kohm total resistance. This, at 9.6 volts, this results in a treatment current of around 600 uV (microvolts).
Using this simple circuit, for me, about 50 seconds seems to be the magic time. A bit less for velous hairs, a bit more for the terminals. I only mention this as an example, each of us is different. The hairs are sliding out, they don’t seem to be coming back and there is no skin damage. I do this at the same time every day and drink lots of water. Nearly every insertion generates a small amount of white stuff that bubbles a bit while the current is applied.
I have been moderatly successful using this simple circuit. I spend about an hour a week clobbering about 40 hairs per session for about 6 months. Figuing my beard has around 20,000 hairs, my face should be cleared in about 10 years… assuming I can reach all of the areas. (Did I mention that I am very patient!)
The good news is that the areas I have done are looking very good and clear. I am not inflicting any scars. Realistically, I will go see a professional some day, but for the time being, those 40 hairs per week are very satisfying.
If you are seriously considering DIY galvanic electolysis, then I highly recommend the keep-it-simple approach. With the exception of the professional needles and stylus, this approach costs next to nothing. It did take some experimenting to get the resistance and timing right, but now it is second nature. There is really no reason to spend money on one-touch machines and their expensive needle replacements that a long-duration treatment program would require.
Thanks to everyone on this forum for making so much great information available. I hope my experience can help someone a little bit.
19,000 hairs to go,