Electrolysis permanent hair removal Halifax, Sackville, Windsor NS

Managing Hirsutism Caused by PCOS: Exploring the Effectiveness of Electrolysis

Side profile of woman with male pattern hair growth on sideburns, neck and chinPolycystic Ovary Syndrome and Unwanted Hair: How Electrolysis Offers Hope

Women with PCOS / PCOD (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome or Disorder are both the same condition, but depending on what part of the world you are from are referred to with slightly different names) have to deal with a range of upsetting symptoms including excessive facial & body hair (hirsutism) throughout their lives. Hirsutism is usually treated with anti-androgen medications and oral contraceptives. Permanent hair removal can also be achieved using Electrolysis.

Hirsutism is a common condition affecting women of all ages, even including young teens. It is characterized by excessive hair growth appearing in a male-type pattern (sideburns, chin, neck, nipples, sternum, back and belly to name a few places). Women struggling with this excess hair growth may experience a large psychological burden and an impact on their social life.  Most women seek treatment mainly for cosmetic reasons, because excess facial hair isn’t acceptable in in societal norms, can be very embarrassing.Woman with blonde hair, with excess dark, coarse, facial hair on her chin and neck Why does PCOS cause Hirsutism?

Hirsutism is not a disorder, but a symptom of an underlying medical condition. The majority of women with hirsutism may have PCOS, however it can be very difficult to be diagnosed with PCOS, due to the nature of hormone testing. If you have been diagnosed with PCOS, your ovaries are producing excessive amounts of androgens, such as testosterone (which is also called hyperandrogenism). However, testosterone per se is not directly responsible for the formation of unwanted hair growth but rather its more powerful byproduct called dihydrotestosterone (DHT).

Can Hirsutism Be Cured Permanently?

Hirsutism can be treated by addressing the root cause of the condition. However, not all causes of hirsutism are reversible. Some women with excess facial or body hair have no identifiable cause (idiopathic): their androgen levels are normal; their menstrual cycles are normal; their ovaries appear normal on ultrasound. Fortunately, most women with unexplained hirsutism have mild symptoms, which can be treated with electrolysis.

When treating a hormone imbalance like PCOS, medications, on their own, may not make the hair go away completely, but will stop it from getting worse. Temporary mechanical hair removal methods like waxing, laser epilation, and threading can stimulate more hair growth.

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) through its Center for Devices & Radiological Health regulates electrolysis equipment, lasers & other medical equipment. Amid the growing popularity of laser hair removal & the extravagant claims of manufacturers & clinics, the FDA reiterated its position that only electrolysis can permanently remove hair & warned laser clinics against making such claims.

The FDA Consumer Health Information

Bulletin of 27 June 2007 states:

"The US. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recognizes electrology as providing permanent hair removal. The FDA identification in Title 21, CFR, Sec. 878.5350 for needle-type epilators is: "a device intended to remove the hair by destroying the dermal papilla of a hair" As no other device for hair removal has the unique identification of "destroying the dermal papilla of a hair" only electrologists are allowed to claim permanent hair removal in their advertising"

How does Electrolysis work?

Electrolysis is a common hair removal technique that uses electrical pulses to target the root of the hair in order to permanently destroy each hair follicle and prevent regrowth.

There are 3 methods of electrolysis:

  • Galvanic: This method uses direct-current electrolysis, which means that a direct electric current is passed down through the needle into the hair follicle, where it creates a chemical reaction. This reaction converts tissue the water and salts naturally occurring in your follicle into sodium hydroxide (lye), a caustic agent that then destroys the hair bulb. Due to how long it takes treat a follicle with galvanic current alone, (because of how long it takes to create the chemical reaction), this method is no longer used on its own.
  • Thermolysis: This method uses a high-frequency alternating current that is passed down through the needle to the hair follicle. The high frequency causes a vibration in the cells of the hair follicle, producing enough heat to cauterize the hair bulb. This is the fastest method and is the method that most electrologists use today.
  • Blend: This method combines both the galvanic and thermolysis methods. Because this method blends the very slow Galvanic method, with Thermolysis, these sessions usually take a little longer to complete.

Electrolysis can be used for all hair colours and all skin tones. What does this mean? It means that if you have white hair, grey hair, blonde hair, red hair, dark hair, pink hair, green hair, purple hair, it doesn’t matter what colour your hair is, you can have electrolysis. It means that your skin can be as white as snow or dark as night – you can have electrolysis.

Hair Colour & Skin Tone

Electrolysis can be used for all hair colours and all skin tones. What does this mean? It means that if you have white hair, grey hair, blonde hair, red hair, dark hair, pink hair, green hair, purple hair, it doesn’t matter what colour your hair is, you can have electrolysis. It means that your skin can be as white as snow or dark as night – you can have electrolysis.

Effectiveness Electrolysis vs Laser

While electrolysis has been approved as a “permanent hair removal” method, laser is classified as a “permanent hair reduction” technique. Laser providers should inform their patients that it will require 8-12 sessions plus maintenance treatment every 6-12 months to provide satisfactory hair removal.

With laser treatment, finer and lighter hair often remain after treatment. For laser clients, annual treatments are required.

Side Effects of Electrolysis vs Electrolysis

Electrolysis:      Post-treatment side effects, which include redness around the treated area, mild discomfort and swelling, typically resolve in a couple of hours. If you are very sensitive, and concerned about discomfort, numbing creams are available to put on before your session.

Laser:     The most common side effects of laser epilation are swelling and redness, which typically resolve within 24 hours. The procedure itself can be slightly painful but an anesthetic cream can be applied in advance. Hypopigmentation and hyperpigmentation may also occur depending on your skin color. Scarring can happen if the laser technician doesn’t use the proper settings. Paradoxical Hypertrichosis (excess hair growth) can also happen in up to 10% of laser clients.

Note that hair can still grow even when many old hair follicles have been destroyed, and this is because you have about 1,200 follicles per square inch on your skin. Not all of them are active, but the ones that aren't active can be triggered by the body at any time, to produce a hair. Because hair grows in three different stages, and your hair is not all in the same stage at the same time, destroying all follicles in a few electrolysis sessions is unlikely. This is why we say electrolysis is a marathon – not a sprint.

Having said that, once a follicle has been effectively treated by electrolysis, that follicle can no longer produce a hair because the cells that grow hair, and the capillaries that feed that follicle, have been destroyed by electrolysis.

If you are consistent with your electrolysis treatments, and you follow the advice of your electrologist – you will achieve transformational results!

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The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency, for diagnosis, or for the substituting of any treatment. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions, and for all prescriptions.

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