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Can You Do Electrolysis at Home? Does Home Electrolysis Work?

By Nancy H, PharmD
December 9, 2023
7 minutes
Can You Do Electrolysis at Home

At-home laser hair removal has been popular among the masses because of its feasibility in contrast to in-office laser hair removal. However, one of its drawbacks is the semi-permanent results which make people go towards permanent hair removal options like electrolysis, even if it is invasive.

But again, having to travel to the electrolysis salon for an electrolysis hair removal session and the time-consuming treatments add to the inconvenience and make one confused. 

Under such circumstances, some people come across at-home electrolysis hair removal devices. These often come off as a surprise. So, do you also want to know about the possibility of permanent hair removal at home?

If yes, stay tuned.

Table of Contents:

1. What is the Working Principle of Electrolysis Hair Removal?

  • Almost a century ago, electrolysis was introduced as a method to treat eye conditions in which there is an extra layer of eyelashes that grows inward and irritates the skin. In the present time, it is used for unwanted body hair as well. Electrolysis, as the word implies, is the lysis or breakdown of the hair by using an electric current. This procedure utilizes a small probe with a thin wire that is connected to an electric current. Moreover, there is the use of a set of tweezers to complete this treatment as well.A thin hair like a needle is passed into the skin in a way that it transverses the path of the hair to its roots. At the level of the hair roots lies hair follicles. Then a current is applied through this needle-like wire to the hair follicle which is completely destroyed.The hair sprouting out of this follicle is pulled out with the help of the tweezer of the left as it is to shed on its own. As each of the hair follicles is treated individually, this permanent hair removal can be time-consuming.

    Additionally, you also need multiple sessions of in-office electrolysis to achieve over 90% hairlessness. A great thing about electrolysis is that it is permanent.

    Moreover, electrolysis is suitable for all skin tones, all hair colors, and all hair types other than severely sensitive or eczematous skin.

  • 2. What is Home Electrolysis?

    Home electrolysis is the process of destroying hair follicles with electric energy by DIY devices available on the market. There are mainly two types of DIY home electrolysis machines available currently. These are given as,

    Home Probe Electrolysis

    Home probe electrolysis is like a miniature version of in-salon electrolysis. The tools and mechanisms are the same. However, there is a little reduction in the power of these devices to make them safe for at-home utilization.

    These machines come with a conductive gel, an electrolysis needle probe, and tweezers. Here, you apply the conductive gel on the treatment area, take the needle/probe, insert it into the skin, apply the current, and remove the hair.

    The penetration of the probe is guided by a spring mechanism and the voltage of the current is kept lower as compared to the professional electrolysis machines. Consequently, it is considered safe for the skin.

    Transdermal Electrolysis

    The second type of electrolysis is transdermal electrolysis. In this procedure, instead of applying current in the follicles, the current is applied on the skin and it reaches the follicles by traveling through it.

    Although it is a non-invasive form of electrolysis, it seems infective and unsafe.

    3. Can You Do Electrolysis at Home?

    Although in–salon electrolysis and at-home laser hair removal devices are cleared by the FDA, the same is not the case when it comes to home electrolysis machines. Home electrolysis machines are not FDA-approved.

    Additionally, the idea of poking your skin with electric needles or applying the currency directly to the skin appears scary. That is why doing electrolysis at home can be a difficult job.

    However, home electrolysis can be done by taking the necessary precautions, reading the machine manual, educating yourself, and being meticulous in the treatment.

    Furthermore, it is important to note that once you move slightly in a random direction or current is applied to the skin instead of the hair follicles, severe damage to the skin can happen. This is exactly why at-home electrolysis is not considered a safe or feasible idea.

    4. What Are the Benefits of At-Home Electrolysis?

    Here are some of the benefits of home electrolysis machines that people find attractive.

    • No restriction of skin or hair color: First of all, unlike at-home laser hair removal machines, electrolysis can be done on any type of hair with brown, black, blonde, or even grey hair color. Similarly, it is suitable for dark skin tones as well.
    • Can be done on the eyebrows: Home electrolysis can be highly precise as you treat one hair follicle at once. Furthermore, there is no risk of damaging the eyes because of UV light. So, it is useful for shaping the eyebrows permanently. 
    • Safety mechanisms infused: The spring mechanism of the electrolysis probe prevents puncturing of the skin more than required.
    • No need to travel: If you can be careful enough, at-home electrolysis can help you with salon-like results at home. So, you would not need to travel to a salon for hair removal.
    • No need for follow-ups: Home electrolysis offers permanent results. So, you will not need to worry about follow-ups either as with laser hair removal.

    5. What Are the Drawbacks of At-Home Electrolysis?

    Theoretically, home electrolysis seems like a great hair removal method to try. However, the practicality of this procedure says something else. So, here are some of its drawbacks.

    • Accidental damage to the skin: You have to be extremely careful while trying electrolysis at home. Inserting the probe wire into an almost invisible skin pore is a daunting task. Also, a single wrong move can give you permanent scars. 
    • Time-consuming: With a laser, you just have to swipe the device over the skin. In contrast, you have to treat each follicle at once with the flashing of the current for at least 20 seconds. This makes home electrolysis super slow and time-consuming. Also, about 10 sessions of electrolysis will be needed to achieve maximum results. 
    • Not FDA-approved: Home electrolysis devices might be available in the market claiming to be feasible and safe. But the claims are not backed up by science as home electrolysis is not FDA-approved.
    • Painful: Imagine going through the pain of laser hair removal, if you did experience it. If not, let me help you imagine how poking a needle into the skin feels like. Extremely painful, right? This is how exactly home electrolysis is. 

    6. Is Home Electrolysis Worth it?

    Simply No, the drawbacks of home electrolysis overwhelm its advantages. First of all, you need to be an expert to do this yourself at home. Your hands must not tremble when you poke the skin and you should be extremely focused. All that seems one hell of a task. 

    Furthermore, even if you manage to achieve it all, you won’t be able to perform DIY electrolysis on your full body as some of the areas are concealed while others are too broad to be treated with a small probe. In contrast, you might be able to try it on the eyebrows or upper lips.

    In conclusion, home electrolysis is not worth the hype and you can choose more feasible options for semi-permanent laser hair removal at home.

    7. What is an Alternative to Home Electrolysis?

    Ulike Sapphire Air3 IPL Hair Removal HandsetAs you have seen earlier home electrolysis is not your best option to try for permanent hair removal. This will make you wonder what is the best alternative to DIY electrolysis, right? It is at-home laser/IPL hair removal.

    With devices like Ulike sapphire Air3 IPL hair removal handset, long-lasting hair removal has become a walk in the part because of the following reasons.

    • Speed and results: Ulike Air3 has a quick speed of 1 flash every 0.7 seconds, this makes you treat the whole body within 10-12 minutes. And within 4 weeks, your hair growth reduction will be up to the optimal level.
    • Ergonomic and practical: The ergonomic design, lightweight, multiple treatment modes, gliding/sliding option, and easy maneuverability of Ulike Air3 make it handy to use at home.
    • Affordable and worth it: Ulike Air3 costs only around $300. At this price, it features a durable device with countless flashes to last for about 50 years or even more.
    • Safe and FDA-cleared: Unlike electrolysis, Ulike has scientifically approved safety mechanisms to help you avoid the side effects of laser. Additionally, it is cleared by the FDA.

    Conclusion

    Home electrolysis is a procedure similar to in-salon electrolysis which improves safety mechanisms to keep the penetration of the probe in the skin in check. However, regardless of this, there is an increased risk of accidental damage to the skin by subjective or objective error.

    Therefore, even if electrolysis can be performed at home, it is recommended to leave this invasive process to experts. Instead, you can give at-home IPL hair removal a try.

Nancy H, PharmD
I am Nancy a licensed pharmacist with extensive knowledge in the healthcare industry. I enjoy writing on a variety of topics including; disease management, dietary supplements, nutrition, fitness, functional medicine, and lifestyle changes for optimal health. Below is my Linkedin profile
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