Why thermolysis and not blend?

I had a consultation a week ago where my electrologist tried thermolysis first, then flash thermolysis on my chin. I could tolerate both methods at what she said was a relatively high heat setting–I just get a little antsy towards the end of the 15 minutes.

I think she uses an Apilus, and from pictures I’ve seen online, it looks like it’s one of the more advanced machines that Apilus makes.

It LOOKS like this machine can also do the Blend method, which everyone says is the most effective method. So why does she only use thermolysis on me? She didn’t even try blend or galvanic. Should I request blend next time I go in? Or should I just trust her judgement? I’m not unhappy with the results from thermolysis–I’ve been in twice (15 minutes each time) and now the area has been completely cleared.

p.s. I have a friend who claims to have gone in THREE times total for the area between her eyebrows, and this took away all of the hairs permanently. So why does everybody else have to go in every week for several months?

Thanks in advance!!!

There is a NOTION (not proven anywhere), that started on the west coast, that Blend is better than Thermolysis. More electrologists use Thermolysis all over the world than use Blend.

We are all guilty of believing “newer is better” and this affects the electrologists when they go to buy a machine, however, it is NOT TRUE. Blend can take from one to three minutes per hair while thermolysis only takes 3 seconds per hair. This means you can only remove 60-20 hairs per HOUR with Blend but can remove about 120 hairs per HOUR with thermolysis. This number can vary slightly with the skill and training of the electrologist, location on the body of the hair, texture of hair, ease of accessibility to the hair, prior treatment (waxing, tweezing) and density of the hair… (number of follicles per sq. inch…more hairs slows things down).

Electrolysis is a BUSINESS that DEPENDS ON REPEAT VISITS and REPUTATION of the electrologist.
All electrologists believe they are “hot-shots” but all of us did not graduate at the top of the class and training varies widely from state to state with some states not even requiring a license to practice. You have read good stories here and learned about poor results too. You MUST get as much information as possible about your electrologist BEFORE you have any work done just as you should before going to a doctor.

Doctors do NOT give guarantees and electrology too may have been oversold as patients expect permanency from each electrologist. Patients MUST learn results depend on the skill, experience, and training of the electrologist and this varies from operator to operator.

Since when does it take 1-3 minutes to remove a hair with blend, Harvey? Didn’t you mean to say galvanic?

Hi there discolane. There are three modalities of electrolysis for removing a hair permanently. Galvanic is chemical destruction, thermolysis is heat destruction and a conbination of the galvanic and thermolysis is called the blend.
Flash thermolysis takes less than a second per hair. Manual thermolysis is a couple to several seconds per hair. Blend is 7-20 seconds per hair.
Galvanic is usually 1-3 minutes per hair, but can take as long as 9 minutes.

Electrologists have battled back and forth over one method being superior or just as good as the other for years. Electrology textbooks put it this way: what is the shape of the heating pattern created by these different modalities and how does that pattern affect the permanent destruction of the hair. The smaller the heating pattern, the higher the regrowth rate.

Flash has the smallest heating pattern, so regrowth is higher, followed in this order by manual thermolysis, blend and pure galvanic.

Your electrologist is using the modality that is probably more comfortable for her and more effective for you. Not knowing your situation, you might ask her, since her Apilus is capable of doing blend, if she can give a treatment using the blend method so you can compare the sensation of flash thermolysis to the sensation of blend.

Before I was an electrologist, I had the hair removed from my underarms. My electrologist used flash and I have been hair free in this area for 15 years. I remember being very concerned because the regrowth I was experiencing. It was quite a bit and months had passed with regular weekly appointments. I held on and did finally acheive permanecy, but now that I am an electrologist,I have always wondered if I would have reached the end sooner with blend.

I am not partisan to any method. I use all modalities for hair removal as the situation warrants. I reserve Flash for fine, blond straight hairs and manual thermolysis is used for medium straight hairs. I use blend for thicker, deeper hairs that may or may not be curved. On occassion,I’ll bring out the big gun, my multiple needle unit, where I can treat 16 hairs at once in 1-3 minutes for that stubborn beard hair. They all work!

Different methods do work, and each has their limitations. It’s been said again and again that outcome is operator dependent. Some can go at lightening speeds, some are more comfortable going slower. If you trust your electrologist, so much the better.

As for your friend getting permanency between her eyebrows with 3 sessions, that’s great, but I didn’t know if you were asking why others doing the same area are having to go weekly. Were you trying to compare treatment time in this area with blend vs. thermolysis?

Don’t be afraid to ask your electrologist questions.


I am doing Blend and am epilating at three to four seconds per hair. And this is in the pubic region!

One note about the epilation times per hair: In addition to the epilation time, there remains the time spent pulling the hair out, the time spent moving on to the next hair, and the time spent performing the insertion. So dropping the epilation time by one to two seconds would make little difference.

  • Eric

[ January 23, 2004, 07:24 PM: Message edited by: DIY’er ]

A word about Thermolysis and the regrowth question.

Thermolysis is just as effective as blend or galvanic. However, since it has the shortest path of destruction, and the shortest duration of treatment time, it is very dependent on placement of the probe in the right spot in the follicle to gain the goal of permanent hair removal. We can’t see inside the follicle to know when perfect placement would be, and so the electrologist’s skill at placing the probe by feel alone is the key here.

Simply put, you will have regrowth in the follicles that have had less than perfect treatments due to less than perfect placements of the probe, but that is usually made up for most people by the increased speed of the clearance allowed by the Thermolysis Technique.

Remember that Electrology is a number of compromises that can only be made properly when your priorities are understood by both you and your Electrologist. If speed to the time when you look finished is the most important thing, you will always go with Thermolysis if you have a good thermolysis practitioner. If the idea of getting the highest kill rate possible is more important than the rate at which hair is disappearing from you face is your top goal, then Blend or Galvanic will be your choice.

Good practitioners can get great results no matter what modality they practice.


Do you know if the folks using local anesthetic typically do fast blend or flash? It would seem to me that if pain is not an issue, and you can crank up the RF to get short epilation times, there’d be little reason not to add some DC and get some residual lye effect.

I have to say that from a patient’s point of view, flash makes a lot of sense. Five, ten, fifteen seconds is a long time to endure (and hold still for) pain.

On another point: Has anyone ever made a shielded RF needle? If the needle were surrounded by an insulator and then by a conductive, grounded layer there would be no RF emission except at the exposed tip. This design could completely control the area of RF emission and could largely eliminate any surface damage.

However, the upper anchor wouldn’t be destroyed and the hair would be difficult to remove. It could be left to shed naturally, but the patients wouldn’t appreciate leaving the office with the same number of hairs.

Just wondering.

  • Eric