Electrical epilation

Diathermy epilation is the permanent removal of unwanted hair using a short-wave diathermy current. This current creates heat, which is delivered to the hair at the root. The heat dries up all the moisture, living cells and blood supply at the root of the hair, thus destroying it.

Each hair grows in a structure known as a hair follicle. The root of the hair sits at the base of this follicle. To target the heat created by the treatment at the root of the hair, a minute probe or needle is inserted into the follicle. Once it is in place, the current is activated for 1 or 2 seconds.

Galvanic epilation is the permanent removal of unwanted hair using a Galvanic current.  This current produces a chemical, which is a result of water, salts and a low current mixing at root of the hair. The chemical produced is caustic in effect; therefore it erodes the living cells and blood supply at the root of the hair, thus destroying it.

Again as in Diathermy the therapist will target the chemical created by the treatment at the root of the hair using a minute probe or needle inserted into the follicle. Once it is in place, the current is activated for 10 – 20 seconds. Do not be alarmed with the term ‘needle’, these are supplied in measurements ranging between thousandths of an inch, therefore can only just be seen by the naked eye.

Galvanic epilation is the original treatment used for unwanted hair; the current used now is modified. Although it was successful, the treatment proved to be much slower than epilation by Short wave diathermy. The current needs to be held on considerably longer than Short wave diathermy; this reduces the numbers of hairs treated in one session. Galvanic epilation is rarely used in isolation as fewer hairs are treated per treatment. Up to date equipment now combines both Short wave diathermy and Galvanic. Combining heat with chemical offers a very successful and commercial treatment as the chemical produced is heated slightly making it very effective.

This treatment requires a skilled therapist who can deliver an accurate, smooth insertion into the follicle These skills are necessary to obtain maximum effect reducing the hair growth and minimising skin trauma. The initial consultation will involve the therapist assessing the skin condition and the hair growth of concern. The treatment plan will be identified for the client’s individual needs. It is important that a client is confident with the therapist and the hygiene procedures. Individually pre-sterilised needles should be used for every treatment and the salon should display a certificate of registration issued by the local council. This registration is proof that the salon procedures have been inspected and are up to the required standard for any skin piercing treatment.

Treatment is often recommended every 7 – 14 days; this will vary depending on the area and skin type.

Although this is classed as a permanent removal of hair, the result is achieved over a period of time. The hair cycle of growth involves three stages; one of these stages is the active stage and is the ideal stage to be destroyed. Whilst the hair is resting or breaking down the treatment is not so successful. The therapist cannot change the cycle of growth therefore a number of insertions will automatically have to be repeated as the hair moves through the growing cycle. Regular treatments will ensure the hairs are all treated over a period of time. It is important to remember that a high percentage of hairs are in the growing stage at one time.

Skin sensitivity must also be considered; therefore hair growth is often destroyed in stages ensuring the skin does not suffer any unnecessary trauma.

I have been having Epilation treatment fortnightly for six months. There is an improvement and I now feel I can reduce the treatment to once a month. My therapist does not agree, do you have any advice?

Without seeing the area being treated it is difficult to answer, however, I would feel that moving to monthly treatments will give the hair the chance to gather strength again. The therapist must feel that the hair still needs the regular treatment to prevent new cells growing to form a stronger hair. It is important you discuss this with the therapist to ensure you understand her concerns.

Does Epilation hurt?

It would be misleading to say it is painless, however the sensation is minimal. As heat is created in the follicle, it will activate nerve endings. The main sensation is a second of heat when the current is applied. This has been described as a pinprick or a slight sting. It can create more sensation over the centre of the upper lip, which is a more sensitive area The degree of feeling differs greatly from person to person, the only way to find out is to book a consultation and test patch and find out how you tolerate the sensation.

I have been told to be aware of cross-infection that can happen during an Epilation treatment. What does this mean?

This refers to the hygiene procedures for the treatment. As mentioned above, the salon should display a certificate of registration from the local authority. As a client you must look for needles that are pre-packaged and pre-sterilised for every client. The salon should be clean and the Therapist working with clean hands and short, unvarnished nails. The use of disposable items is recommended such as, tissue roll on the couch, tissues and cotton wool for the skin, in some salons disposable gloves are also worn by the therapist. Cross infection can also be the result of the client not following the home care. Touching the skin and application of perfumes and make-up straight after Epilation can cause infection in the follicle. It is important to apply the after care lotion.

Will Galvanic epilation produce the same reaction as Diathermy epilation?

When comparing Galvanic with Diathermy, it would be said that Galvanic produces a more obvious redness directly after treatment but this will subside quickly.