Why I Don't Recommend Electrolysis for Facial Hair Removal Anymore

Why I Don't Recommend Electrolysis for Facial Hair Removal Anymore

Like many women, I've tried almost everything under the sun to deal with annoying chin hairs.

Plucking, shaving, waxing - you name it. But the hair just kept coming back.

So when a local hair removal salon started offering electrolysis a few years back, I was intrigued.

This technology promised permanent hair removal by zapping the follicle so the hair could never regrow.

Hallelujah, right?

I diligently started a course of electrolysis appointments to banish my chin hairs once and for all.

But let's just say, after a year of treatments, the cons started to outweigh the pros.

Keep reading for the good, the bad and the hair-raising ugly truth I learned about electrolysis for facial hair removal.

Spoiler: I don't recommend it anymore!

The Lowdown on Electrolysis

First, let's explain what electrolysis actually is.

It's a method of permanent hair removal that uses an electric current to destroy the hair follicle.

Here's how it works:

The technician first inserts a tiny probe alongside each individual hair into the follicle.

The probe delivers an electric current down the hair shaft and into the follicle.

This zaps and damages the follicle so it can no longer produce hair. It basically shocks the follicle into retirement!

There are two main types of electrolysis performed:

Galvanic electrolysis: This uses a direct current to chemically decompose the hair follicle.

Thermolysis: This heats and desiccates the follicle using a high frequency alternating current.

Many technicians use a blend of both methods called the Blend method. Electrolysis can be used to remove facial and body hair anywhere - chin, upper lip, eyebrows, underarms, bikini line etc.

It's an intricate and labor intensive process that requires skill.

Each hair must be isolated and treated one by one. Sessions can take hours depending on the area being treated.

Now that we've got the overview, let me take you through my experience.

My Journey with Electrolysis for Chin Hair Removal

When I started electrolysis, I had high hopes.

I'd been battling hormonal chin hairs for years and was desperate for a lifelong solution.

The promise of permanent removal sounded like a dream come true!

My technician was experienced in permanent hair removal who walked me through what to expect during our first meeting.

She examined my hair growth pattern (with those grippy latex gloves) and recommended 45 minute sessions every 4 weeks.

We agreed I'd come in with some regrowth so there was enough hair for the current to travel down the shaft. But not too long since having a chin full of stubble for weeks wasn't an option!

I booked my first appointment and played the waiting game for the hairs to reach just the right length.

My Electrolysis Experience

The day of my first session arrived. I wasn't sure what to expect pain-wise but I was determined to grit my teeth through any discomfort for the end result.

The technician sanitised my chin then got to work zooming in on each hair using a magnifying lamp.

She carefully inserted the tiny probe alongside the first hair. Then I felt the electric current.

There was a quick hot prickle sensation.

It was definitely uncomfortable but not as bad as I feared.

She continued to isolate and treat each hair on my chin and upper lip area, zapping follicle by follicle.

About 15 minutes in, the stinging started to intensify.

By the end, my chin was feeling raw and throbbing.

I left with an angry red rash that took days to calm down.

But I knew it would take time for my skin to adjust.

The next few sessions were similar - uncomfortable stinging and lingering irritation.

But I focused on the positives.

My hair regrowth did seem finer and slower. The technician assured me it would take a full year to see significant permanent reduction.

I persevered through the pain over the next 6 months.

I stuck to the 4 week schedule, though I considered taking ibuprofen beforehand just to tolerate the pain.

In total, I endured it for a full year before realising this treatment might not be worth it.

Here's Why I Stopped Electrolysis for Facial Hair Removal

Although electrolysis did work initially to slow my hair growth, it soon became clear the cons were starting to outweigh the benefits.

Here were my main gripes:

The Pain Factor

Even after a year, I never got used to the zapping sensation down my delicate chin and lip area.

The stinging pain grew to be uncomfortable over time. I dreaded going but tried telling myself it would pay off.

The final straw came during one appointment when there was an issue with the regular electrolysis machine.

The backup they used had a thicker probe that was really uncomfortable as it went into the hair follicle. I left that session in agony. I couldn't touch my chin for a week!

After that mishap, I realised I couldn't justify signing up for this prolonged pain regularly just to potentially reduce my hair a bit. The discomfort far outweighed any hair removal.

Skin Irritation and Scarring

Immediately after treatments, my skin always looked red, swollen and angry. And was very sensitive to touch.

Over time I noticed little scars starting to form on my chin from the repeated poking. The scarring accumulated to create pigmentation. There was definitely darker patches of skin from the electrolysis.

Regrowth Between Sessions

While the hair regrowth eventually slowed, I still had to deal with stubble in between my 4 week electrolysis sessions. And to get optimal results, I needed to allow some regrowth rather than stay totally smooth.

But maintaining a perfect "in between" length was frustrating and the hairs were prickly!

Time Commitment and Cost

It adds up over time and despite the costs I didn't achieve the permanent results promised.

The ongoing time commitment was draining too. I got tired of revolving my schedule around monthly hair removal sessions, leaving with red, painful skin.

After a year and no end in sight, I decided enough was enough. Although it works for some, it just wasn't right for my situation.

Why I Don't Recommend Electrolysis Anymore

For all these reasons, I can no longer recommend electrolysis as a facial hair removal method, at least in my experience.

Although it can permanently damage follicles, the lengthy process, pain factor, risks and cost ended up making it not worth it for me.

The reality is, electrolysis requires a major time and pain tolerance commitment to see results. And even then, usually multiple treatments are needed before due to hair regrowth.

There is also the risk of scarring or post-treatment complications like infection.

While it does work for some people, I found it was too harsh for my sensitive skin.

I can't recommend a facial hair treatment that left me with months of swelling, scabs, ingrown hairs and eventual scarring.

For me, and likely other women with less pain tolerance or delicate skin, electrolysis for face and chin hair removal ended up doing more harm than good. In my opinion, the risks and discomfort outweigh the potential rewards.

What I Recommend Instead for Facial Hair Removal

Now that I've stopped electrolysis after giving it a fair try, here are the much gentler alternatives I've had better success with managing facial hair:

Spearmint essential oil - Spearmint has anti-androgenic properties that can naturally balance hormones like testosterone that stimulate hair growth. It helped slow my growth rate noticeably when applied twice daily.

Tweezing - For the occasional stray chin hair, precision tweezing is my go-to for quick, painless removal. Just beware of ingrown hairs.

Dermaplaning/Shaving - This exfoliating facial treatment uses a blade to gently scrape off peach fuzz and those prickly dark hairs. It leaves my face super smooth with no pain!

While my electrolysis days are behind me, hopefully my experience helps set expectations for those considering it. Try exploring gentler alternatives like spearmint or shaving first.

But if you have a higher pain tolerance and commit to the lengthy process electrolysis requires, it may permanently banish your unwanted hairs. Just know the risks and be prepared for the realities I faced.