Professional hair removal guide

Permanent hair removal sounds appealing — but the results aren’t guaranteed.
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  • Updated:27 Feb 2007



Whether you choose to pluck, shave, wax or zap it, getting rid of unwanted hair can be a time-consuming and often expensive and painful process. Before you decide which method to go for, you need to consider the risks, suitability for your skin and hair type, and the cost of each.

Please note: this information was current as of February 2007 but is still a useful guide today.


  • Electrolysis works by inserting a fine needle into the hair follicle and applying an electric current to destroy the hair root. The loosened hair is then removed with tweezers.
  • It’s a slow process as each hair must be treated individually, and only 30 to 40 follicles can be treated in a 15-minute session.
  • Under the US Food and Drug Administration regulations, electrolysis is the only method that can claim to remove hair permanently. However, certain factors can cause new hair growth. 

Who is it for?

  • Electrolysis is safe for all skin types, if it’s done properly.
  • As the treatment is slow and likely to continue for months or even years, it’s not a cost-effective method for large areas, such as the back or legs. It’s often used by women to get rid of unwanted facial hair.

Risks and side effects

  • There’s a risk of electric shock if the needle isn’t properly insulated.
  • The operator must be properly trained. If the needle misses the mark or insufficient electricity is applied the hair root can survive. There’s also a risk of scarring if it isn’t done properly.
  • There may be some temporary redness after treatment.
  • It’s not guaranteed to permanently remove all hair. The stimulus for hair growth in an area can’t be removed and hormonal changes may cause new growth. 

Where to get it done

Training and qualification in electrolysis is part of the Advanced Association of Beauty Therapists’ (AABTh) schools’ diploma. AABTh advises people to ask to see a therapist’s qualifications in electrolysis before undergoing treatment.

Does it hurt?

Some people find electrolysis painful, but not many find it hurts enough to need pain relief.


Usually around $25 for a 15-minute session.



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