So was it painful? Yep. Very.

In fact, very, very…

Not, on the scale of things, quite as absolutely painful as the laser was a few weeks back. The difference, though, was that the laser was over, if you’ll pardon the pun, in a flash. About a dozen zaps at most cover the whole genital area, after which it was on to upper body which is, by contrast, a doddle.

This, however, went on.. . and on.. . and on.. . and .. . you get the general idea? Electrolysis works by spearing one hair follicle at a time (inserting a very small needle) and then passing a current through the needle which, I was informed, should kill off the follicle by chemical means. Don’t ask: I thought it was physical, but I may well be wrong.

So even though the area to be zapped was pretty small, the hour was just about enough to cover it, one follicle at a time.

It went roughly: Zap! That hurts. Zap! That hurts a lot. Zap! Aw, great…I could do that all day. Zap! Aaargh!

Clearly some follicles are nearer the nerve than others (or something like that). So for an hour, give or take, I was subject to a slow, steady barrage of zapping. It was a bit like being on a roller coaster (something else I don’t get on with too well): once the car gets going, you are in for the ride, no matter what.

Well, I guess there is always, in either case, the option of standing up and screaming, in the hope that someone will stop the ride – although in the case of electrolysis, that would rather have missed the point.

Otherwise, once going, that’s it: I’m there for the duration and it’s the slow, tedious continuum of pain that gets to me.

Much gritting of teeth, muttering of rude words and at one point, at least, sufficient tears to turn me from elegantly mascaraed lady to sad panda.

Then its nearly there and “just a few more”. The ride slows. Aloe Vera is applied to the affected part (I hesitate to imply that it is there to prevent any swelling, since someone is bound to take that the wrong way) and I’m back out onto the street.

Almost. There is further disappointment in store.

How about being ready for an op in July? My electro-therapist can’t say. On the one hand, there isn’t much hair and the follicles don’t seem to be putting up too much resistance: she does stern looks very well, and perhaps has cowed them into submission. On the other, she really can’t say until next time, when she’ll know how much has grown back.

Fingers crossed. Again.

And I’ll keep you all posted.



4 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Liz Church said,

    Electrolysis is the breaking of a chemical compound by means of an electric current. That would account for the physical process. I suspect that the substances that are formed in the follicle then attack the root which will account for the chemical action. I don’t know what reactions are involved, but since the body contains things like salt, there’s scope for producing sodium hydroxide and chlorine, neither of which are likely to be favourable to the hair root’s long-term prospects.

    • 2

      Sarah said,

      There are actually two different methods by which electrolysis works for epilation.

      Firstly there is galvanic electrolysis, which works as you describe – it results in sodium hydroxide being produced in the follicle, which destroys it with a chemical burn. It takes a long time per hair – a minute or more, and hasn’t been used for a very long time now.

      Secondly there is short wave diathermy, which isn’t strictly electrolysis, but is called such. This works by turning the needle into a transmitter for a microwave frequency RF pulse. This heats the blood vessel supplying the follicle up, destroying it.

      Quite common is so-called “blend”, which lays the RF pulse on top of a DC current, giving a combination galvanic+diathermy effect.

  2. 3

    andrea said,

    you did sound ‘quite’ toothgrittingly uncomfortable when i rang you…. not that I enjoyed that…oh no no no no…yes 🙂


    • 4

      Circadian said,

      Ah, the joys of “sympathetic” family 🙂 Hope there wasn’t also an evening of bad puns to make things worse!
      Hearing about it makes me whimper in sympathy – hopefully this is the only session you need. Or that you will at least get anesthetic if you need a treatment top-up.

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