Galvanic electrolysis is the oldest proven process used to kill unwanted hair.
The Galvanic Electrolysis Method was first used by Dr. Michel in 1875. Since his first early work, much of the galvanic process has been overshadowed by thermolysis (RF), promising more speed. Recently, Laser Electrolysis promised even more speed. These promises have convinced people that galvanic electrolysis is dead and that the time-proven work done By Dr. Michel has no merit in todays’ world. Don’t believe it. The process of Galvanic Electrolysis for hair removal is very much alive and doing quite well, thank you. For 15 years, I have been very busy proving time and again that this process can promise dead hair, undamaged skin and timely, permanent elimination of unwanted hair on any part of the body. More interestingly, this underrated process has allowed me the ability to work in areas where only complications would result from the use of ANY OTHER process.
Efficient Method for Effective Hair Kill
Galvanic Electrolysis is actually a chemical process. Galvanic lye is a chemically unstable compound which provides free radicals to breakdown tissue and allow separation of the follicle wall surrounding the hair. A note: The follicle containing the hair is comprised of some 6 known layers. Galvanic lye (sodium hydroxide) causes a breakdown of the weaker layers and allows the inner-most part of the follicle to be removed. However, the lye continues to work for some time after the hair is removed, facilitating the death of the outer layers and re-growth cells.
Recent developments by me have produced a system that is less painful and even more effective. Recently, while on a quest for better connectivity, I began to question certain concepts that were always taken for granted by the electrolysis community. What followed was the development of a much more efficient and potentially more powerful technique that lowered certain operating limits to less than 1/2 of the current standard. The results of significant pain reduction per unit of current have even shaken my belief in the infallibility of equipment designers themselves. Needless to say, I have cautiously lowered my current estimates to 2/3 of the time required to complete any given project. Clients who would have needed 250 hours to complete are now finished in as little as 90-150 hours for a full beard removal.
Properly applied, galvanic electrolysis will not damage surrounding tissue excessively, nor will it damage the sebaceous glands as galvanic lye encounters difficulty in breaking down the sebum contained in the sebaceous glands. Even more important, is the recent discovery of a bundle of undifferentiated stem cells surrounding the midpoint of the follicle (please see photo). Called “The Bulge”, this bundle of stem cells sits outside the follicle itself.
All the functions of “The Bulge” are somewhat unclear. One thing seems certain. These stem cells are utilized by both the skin and the hair follicle as a means of renewing damaged tissue. Scarier yet, is the possibility that any process that uses heat for killing the hair (i.e. laser, thermolysis (RF or diathermy) may also damage this bundle of stem cells. Preservation of “The Bulge” seems important to maintaining skin texture and resisting aging. Preserving this “bulge” and the sebaceous glands is equally paramount in electrolysis work as well. Following full beard removal, my clients appear about 10 years younger than their actual age. Contrast this with clients who have had extensive facial thermolysis who often appear 10 years older than their chronological age.
This is the only up-to-date diagram of the hair follicle as it is now perceived to be. Please note the location of “the bulge” in relation to the outer wall of the follicle, and the surface of the skin.
My process of galvanic electrolysis is so gentle and thorough, that normal “peach fuzz” remains untouched. This softens the visual image of the face and prevents that “plastic look” so common in beard removals by “other methods”.
Few Passes Needed
Because of the effectiveness and permanence of galvanic, far fewer passes are needed. Approximately 1/5 to 1/10 as many passes are required to have the same effect as thermolysis (Radio Frequency or Diathermy). With galvanic electrolysis, a significant reduction can be achieved in 3-5 passes over the area. The skin benefits from the reduced collateral damage caused by treating the same area 10’s of times with other methodologies. Also, it should be noted that the precision of the process of galvanic electrolysis is far superior to that of any other method. Utilizing duration of treatment cycle and intensity settings, each hair can be custom treated determined by its size and relative location to other hairs that have been treated.
There are two factors affecting regrowth, which makes galvanic electrolysis the ideal method.
- The continuing effect of galvanic lye in the follicle tissue following the removal of the needle. This continued destruction damages the outer follicle wall as well as any DNA bearing material left in the follicle after the removal of the hair itself.
- Continued degradation of Sodium Hydroxide (Galvanic Lye) which is chemically unstable, results in the formation of Hydrogen Peroxide which sterilizes the former follicle site and inhibits the regrowth process of new hair.
The real secret to the power of galvanic electrolysis is the continuing devastation of the hair follicle and
regrowth cells after the needle has been withdrawn. When this characteristic is properly exploited, speed can be greatly accelerated, and it is for this reason that my ability to permanently kill a hair follicle is much greater than with any other method.
A Few Words About Speed
For years, detractors of the process of galvanic electrolysis have claimed that it “is too slow and has since gone out of favor with the electrolysis community” One comment was told me “that galvanic ‘went out’ 25 years ago” indicating that it had somehow failed the operator’s demanding requirements. This is simply NOT the case. Like Laser electrolysis today, Thermolysis (Radio Frequency energy) was hailed as some kind of major step forward in the killing of unwanted hair. Proponents touted its speed (in hairs per minute/hour) and downplayed its potential for skin damage through misuse. Thermolysis came to dominate the hair removal industry much the same as I predict laser electrolysis will in the coming years. Always a case of the hare and the tortoise, (Ooooh, that was a BAD pun) Galvanic will always prove that a job done right can prevail over a job done over, and over, and over, ad nauseam. If you listen carefully, you will hear Dr. Michel, the original inventor of Galvanic Electrolysis in 1875, laughing hysterically.
When done properly, galvanic electrolysis is very gentle on the skin and less damaging to surrounding tissue.
Galvanic lye can ONLY be produced at the surface of the needle itself, and not throughout the body as many detractors claim. The process is very controllable and its precision limits the presence of the lye to within a very small area which heals easily. Redness and swelling are limited to 4-8 hours in worst cases (usually old growth first passes) subsequent work generally fades in a couple hours. Retreatments can require as little as 1/2 second of galvanic treatment per hair to effectively kill young emerging hairs. In this case, redness and swelling are gone sometimes by the end of the session.
Following the removal of a very black beard and mustache, this photo, taken under intense halogen light, shows no skin damage or discoloration.
Nearly done. In this photo, taken at 100X magnification, the skin is completely intact and only a couple of hairs remain. These are most likely old hairs coming out of dormancy.
With recent changes in the way I work, I have been able to not only produce a treatment that is 5-10 times more effective than ANY Thermolysis treatments with about one half of the discomfort experienced by most modern machines. I am able to treat each individual hair as fast as 3 seconds or in some cases, less. What this has recently shown, is that galvanic is here to stay and, as part of my new system of operation, will ultimately prove out to be the fastest as well as the least damaging process you can choose for your work.
Less Likely to Produce Side Effects
Because of limited action on the outer follicle wall and the surrounding tissue, galvanic electrolysis has the overwhelming advantage of permanence while leaving the skin intact. This allows the healing processes to immediately begin compacting debris and shipping it to the surface of the skin where it appears looking like a blackhead or my favorite term: “space junk”.
Nothing spectacular, this piece of black debris was recovered from the skin. Usually these bits of black debris leave the skin harmlessly, leaving no signs of the work done to kill the follicle that produced it.
This piece of elongated space junk was the product of a hair follicle that took some time to finally die. Usually, the debris is very brittle and breaks off in little bits as the debris reaches the skin surface (previous picture), but this example was from a follicle that became distorted and produced the debris sideways into the soft skin below the surface and this piece was actually ingrown.
Caught in the act of making space junk, the follicle on the right is badly injured and will ultimately die. The keratin is no longer formed into a hair, but into space junk or debris, which will eventually be ejected from the skin. I was able to remove this intact, following treatment.
The skin’s greatest power is the ability to heal. This is also where other hair removal processes such as thermolysis and laser do considerable damage by disabling the ability of the skin to eject debris by forming scar tissue around the now dead follicle. Encapsulated debris can remain for a lifetime.
There are some very minor side effects of the use of galvanic electrolysis of which you should be aware:
- Galvanic (or any other process) can cause the spread of some ailments of the skin. Check before you begin treatments.
- The use of galvanic current can cause the re-sensitizing of certain dental work. Personal experience here. I was convinced that certain fillings were starting to need attention. After stopping treatments, the symptoms disappeared. It was not painful but worth noting.
- Galvanic current is passing through you. Be aware of this when it comes to minor pains or twitches. Many clients simply change hands to eliminate the problem.
- When grasping the metal hand-held part of the galvanic setup, be aware that your hand is producing hydrochloric acid (albeit in small amounts) over the surface of the skin. If you have sensitive skin, this may feel like a very slight burning sensation. This why I use a stainless bowl filled with water for your hand. No need for holding anything and the burning can be eliminated by adding baking soda to the water. One other method of reducing the burning sensation is to coat your hand with a liberal amount of skin cream. Any type will do.