types of electrolysis

Hi all…I’m looking into having electrolysis on chest and stomach hair and am wanting to find out more info on the different types of electrolysis available. Which ones are recommendable for dark black hair?
Another quick question…before having an electrolysis treatment, is it okay to shave the region on the day, or let it grow for a day or two? I’m into swimming, and I like the smooth look!
Thanks in advance for any help on this!

Hi good and thanks for the question.

It’s perfectly fine to shave before electrolysis. I actually prefer it when my clients shave, as an electrologist, but shaving is not absolutely needed for success. It’s the client call. A couple days growth is adequate so the forceps can grasp and gently lift out the treated hair.

Any type of electrolysis (galvanic, thermolysis, blend) will destroy a hair follicle. However, the chest and stomach area is large and thus involves a lot of coarse,usually deep hair. Because of the large area, I use thermolysis. Thermolysis is destruction by heat and one can spend less time (less than a second to a couple seconds) per hair, thus speeding up the process and reaching the goal sooner.

Occassionally, for certain stubborn hairs that remain, I will use the blend method (heat and chemical) to finish then off for good.

The color of your hair doesn’t matter, as electrolysis works on any hair color or skin color.

This area can be very sensitive, so some clients order 5% lidocaine (Ela-max)through their electrologist or off the internet. A doctor can write you prescription for EMLA. Emla is 2.5% lidocaine mixed with prilocaine. That works, too.

Another option for this area, is to do several laser treatments first and follow up with electrolysis for hair that the laser won’t affect.
Laser can be an expensive gamble, meaning it has brought satisfactory results from some and has done nothing for others. You may want to research this on the laser forum.

Whatever you decide, just know that as a swimmer you can become hair-free and it will look and feel just wonderful, however, expect a couple of years of treatment with some maintenance. It’s a routine that requires motivation, but time well spent after you reach your goal.



Even though it may take a few years to get the treatment completely finished, is it true that the area can “look” cleared for most of the treatment? I’m under the impression that once the initial clearance takes place (which time varies depending on the size and density of hairs), that the area will look and feel pretty smooth until the treatment is finished, because each time you go in the electrologist will get all of the new hairs. Is that correct?


This makes sense for smaller areas but don’t expect first and second and third clearings on a large area such as this until much closer to the end, depending on how much hair we’re talking about, of course. Thinning the chest and stomach is helpful to lesson the impact of having so much hair. I like to thin in case a treatment is stopped so there aren’t bare areas mixed with very hairy areas.

Young men also can have the problem of having continual development of their hair pattern up into their mid-thirties. So new developing hair keeps one pretty busy until the situation calms down.



I had some Electrolysis using the "Galvanic" system and they used "LYE" which is suppose to help kill the hair follicle faster, but I had an allergic reaction to it. I wanted to know has anyone tried the "Thermolysis" type? If so did it work?


Thermolysis, of course, does work. It is indeed the most common method used. If you are allergic to lye, do not go into blend, because it also creates lye. By all means do thermolysis, you’ll be amazed at the speed difference!

Since the destructive force in thermolysis is heat, you will not get the allergic reaction. If you get something that looks like an allergic reaction, there could be a few possibilities, although uncommon. Are you allergic to nickel? If yes, you’ll need a gold coated probe. Are you allergic to latex? Many electrologists use vynil gloves. Is it anythting applied before or post treatment? Or, are you sure it’s an allergy and not overtreatment?

Anyone else can think of more possibilities?


Thanks for the help. I had 2 treatments done with the Galvanic and the woman applied a Lye solution to my skin (pre-treatment) to help aid the process of killing the follicle. Well the next day the back of my hands became Extremley red and chapped as did my forehead and 4 out of my 10 finger nails turned a white/clear color and began to flake off. Thank god it only lasted about a week then it cleared up, and I was only getting my “BACK” done. I guess it manifested itself on the most sensitive parts of the body. But yes I would call that an allergic reaction. As far as Nickel or Latex goes, no I’m fine with that.

What is this lye solution pre-treatment that your electrologist applied to your skin??? Are sure it wasn’t alcohol or an antiseptic to cleanse the skin before treatment???

We electrologists make lye each time we enter a follicle if blend or galvanic electrolysis is being done. This action takes place BELOW the skin. Lye (sodium hydroxide) is made by a direct electric current that is passed down the probe into the the hair follicle. This current causes the salt water in the hair follicle and surrounding tissues to break up into parts and thus change into lye. Lye is very caustic and causes the growing hair cells to be destroyed. When this lye is heated by AC current (thermolysis) it speeds things up and becomes more deadly to hair cells,thus the BLEND method.

The electrologist is simply making microscopic Drano in each follicle that continues to work in the treated follicle after you leave your electrologist’s office. Lye is not something you smear on the top of the skin, it is a chemical reaction that is made to happen inside the hair follicle, by the electrologist.

Yb certainly highlighted different reasons for this allergic reaction, so I would go through them one by one, and avoid whatever might have caused the reaction. If you are allergic to lye, then sure, thermolysis would be a great option for you, Solara.

I’m just curious as to what was applied to your skin pre-treatment, as I’m almost certain it wasn’t lye.


Why does lye kill the follicle faster? I thought thermolysis was the fastest of all methods?

[ April 01, 2004, 11:53 PM: Message edited by: Mina ]


I’m certain it wasn’t lye. Probably just misunderstanding.

As Dee has mentioned above, we want the lye at the bottom 1/3 of the follicle. We even do a procedure called cataphoreses to nutralize any lye that could have remained after treatment, so that it doesn’t go up to the skin surface and destroy it. We want the least possible damage to the surface of the skin. Lye is a strong base, and if she would apply it to the skin, then you would see good amount of skin reaction over the entire area. You might want to find out what exactly she applied to your skin before and after treatment. Before we blame lye, let’s take the other variables out of the game first. (Unless you are certain what the culprit is)

Hey everyone,
I’ve been reading up on Electrolysis and I’m definitely thinking of getting it done but i’ve got two magor concerns. One is that my skin kelloids very easily and i’ve heard Electrolysis can cause kelloiding, So what do you guys think? No.2 Everyone says electrolysis will only work with a good practitioner, I agree but how can i know if their good or not?
Thanx everyone in advance