Electrolysis Hair Removal

Say goodbye to facial and body hair – forever

Electrolysis hair removal

Facial hair growth on a woman, transgender or not, can be highly stigmatizing and very embarrassing. Electrolysis hair removal is the most reliable proven option available today to permanently remove transgender facial and genital hair. Laser hair removal can be an acceptable or even a preferable alternative in some cases, but laser is usually not enough by itself to remove all transsexual facial hair permanently.

Getting body and facial hair under control is critically important for trans women that want to go fulltime. For the male beard can be concealed only by hard work, and even then, not with complete success.

Intensive program for clearing of facial and genital areas

It is critical you find an electrologist who is capable of removing your facial hair with a minimum of treatment, but without causing unsightly scarring, pitting, or discoloration of the skin. Since the facial hair of the male beard is difficult to remove, it is important that trans women seek an electrologist who is experienced with the removal of male hairs. Preferably one who has worked extensively with trans women. This is not always possible, however, because of geographic limitations.

At 2pass Clinic we developed an intensive program for the clearing of facial and genital areas that can speed up the process tremendously and solve the problem for transgender women who live far from a suitable electrologist. You have to travel to Belgium only a couple of times (between 4-10 times, depending on your personal response and the willingness to come back instead of finishing locally). We can work this intensively because we use a pain pump to keep the pain under control.

Read more on our intensive clearing program

What does electrolysis cost and how do I book?

Price and booking of electrolysis hair removal

 

What is electrolysis hair removal?

  • Electrolysis hair removal is a time-tested method that was invented over 100 years ago to remove irritating, in-grown eyelash hairs.
  • Electrolysis is a method of removing individual hairs from the face or body.
  • Electrolysis destroys the growth center of the hair with chemical or heat energy.
  • During electrolysis hair removal a thin probe is inserted into the hair follicle, which is a natural opening of the skin. The skin is not perforated, so this insertion is painless.

    Comparison between a hair follicle and a finger pushing in a balloon to explain the concept of the probe entering a natural opening of the skin.

    During electrolysis hair removal probe is inserted in natural skin opening. The skin is not perforated so this insertion is painless.

  • Through the probe is a small electrical current is sent, which destroys the hair follicle.
  • This part is painful for many people.
  • Finally, the hair and hair follicle are removed using a tweezer. This part is painless.
  • For electrolysis to be effective, only one thing has to be done: killing the stem cells responsible for hair growth. These are located in an area called ‘the Bulge’, in the upper part of the follicle. A complete hair follicle can be regenerated even after the bulb at the bottom has been surgically removed.

    Drawing of a hair follicle illustrating the location of the Bulge where the stem cells are and the bulb at the bottom.

    For electrolysis to be effective only one thing has to be done: killing the stem cells responsible for hair growth. These are located in an area called the Bulge in the upper part of the follicle.

Two types of electrolysis hair removal

There are 2 basic types of electrolysis that are still practiced today, which we both use at 2pass Clinic. We always start with thermolysis but switch to the blend technique if needed. More information on the difference between thermolysis and blend electrolysis hair removal, and a video of the effect of both inside a follicle.

Drawing showing difference between thermolysis and blend destruction by heat or chemical process.
Drawing of rabbit and turtle to explain the difference in speed between thermolysis and blend electrolysis hair removal.

Pros and contra’s of electrolysis hair removal

Pro

  • The only FDA approved method of permanent hair removal
  • Works on all hair colors, skin types and body parts
  • Over 125 years of clinically proven safety and effectiveness. By far the best and longest track record of results.

Contra

  • Time consuming process because each individual hair has to be treated
  • Painful process, which is why you need a pain pump for longer sessions
  • Expensive because you need many hours
  • You need to let your hair grow min 3 days prior to treatment.
  • If done improperly, it can result in partial to full regrowth, lasting skin damage, and/or infection.
  • Regrowth rates have not been accurately established and cannot yet be predicted due to numerous variables.

 

The gender of the hair

  • Roughly 5 million hair follicles cover the human body at birth.
  • No additional follicles are formed after birth, although the size of some follicles and hairs will change over time, primarily under influence of androgens.
  • The precise spacing and distribution of the follicles are established by genes that are expressed very early in the forming of the follicles before birth. Hence, the distribution of the hair comes about at birth.
  • The formation of a beard is genetically programmed to happen and this capacity is already present at birth. Hence, the hairs of men and women are genetically different.
  • In puberty the male vellus (short, thin, slight-colored) hair will transform into terminal hairs under influence of androgens.

Diagram of a vellus hair transforming into a terminal hair under influence of androgens.

Is electrolysis hair removal permanent? What is the difference between electrolysis and laser?

  • Electrolysis is the only permanent hair removal method which is recognised and approved as such by the FDA (The US Food and Drug Administration). The FDA is an agency of the US government that regulates a broad range of consumer products, services and drugs in order to ensure not only the efficacy of the product, but also the safety of the consumer. The FDA is an agency of the US government that regulates a broad range of consumer products, services and drugs in order to ensure not only the efficacy of the product, but also the safety of the consumer.This means that the FDA have carefully examined the electrolysis technique and have expressed that it’s safe and that it permanently removes hair.

    Stamp of FDA with approved

    Electrolysis is the only hair removal method that can claim to be permanent according to the FDA.

  • Laser hair removal, on the other hand, cannot be marketed as permanent hair removal since the effects are often temporary. And whilst laser hair removal can result in permanent reduction in growth, it can’t permanently stop future hair growth, unlike electrolysis. Lasers can reduce hair counts 40 to 80 percent according to the latest scientific articles.
  • Laser is less effective than electrolysis because it targets the pigment of the hair that is only found in the Bulb, not the Bulge where the growth cells are. The damage to the hair is considerable enough that it will slow the growth cycle for a couple of months before reappearing.The other advantage of electrolysis is that it is suitable for pretty much all skin tones and hair colours, unlike laser hair removal.
  • Laser first? The simple rule is: Do laser first if you have dark hair and light skin. If you have dark skin or light hair, skip laser and do electrolysis from the start. We explained the difference between the 2 types of hair removal in the video below.

Video explaining the difference between laser and electrolysis:

More info on the differnce between laser and electrolysis hair removal

 

 

Why do I need more than one electrolysis session to permanently clear an area?

  • Electrolysis is considered a permanent hair removal method, since it destroys the hair follicle stem cells but it requires a series of appointments over a period of time. To fully clear a beard a minimum of 1 year timeframe should be taken as a reference. Why is this?
  • The hair follicle is one of the only organs that cyclically degenerates and regenerates from stem cells. Each hair follicle perpetually goes through 3 stages: growth (anagen), involution (catagen) and rest (telogen).

    Growth cycle of the hair for electrolysis hair removal

    The hair follicle is one of the only organs that cyclically degenerates and regenerates from stem cells. Each hair follicle perpetually goes through 3 stages: growth (anagen), involution (catagen) and rest (telogen).

    Hair cycle of the hair follicle explained with flower bulbs for electrolysis hair removal

    The growth cycle of the hair can be compared to the growth cycle of flower bulbs. During the winter they “sleep” but they are not “dead”.

  • Knowledge of the hair cycle, and particularly, the length of resting is essential for understanding and interpretation of electrolysis results.
  • As we ask you to shave the hair 3 days before your electrolysis session, only hairs in the growing stage will be above the surface of the skin at the time of treatment. The resting hairs are simply not visible at the time of treatment because they do not grow after the shaving. In the face the growing hairs only accounts for 60 procent of all facial hairs. This means at least 40 percent of your hairs are not visible at the time of your first clearing.

The growth cycle helps explain:

  • That permanent results of electrolysis hair removal can only be achieved over a period of time.
  • When you shave 3 days prior to electrolysis only the hairs in the growing phase will grow and can consequently be removed during the electrolysis session.
  • The beautician cannot change the growth cycle, so the treatments have to be repeated for those hairs that were not in the right phase. As the sessions go on, treatments will take less and less time.
  • You should make a distinction between apparent “false” regrowth and actual “true” regrowth. False regrowth is the appearance hairs which never received electrolysis, but grow in the same skin area that did.

The video further explains this concept, which is quite complex:

 

How many hours of electrolysis will I need to clear an area? How much regrowth after electrolysis hair removal is normal?

This is probably the most frequently asked question by our patients. The honest answer is: we don’t know up front. We do know the averages but we see a big variation between patients. We don’t know why one hair responds better to the treatment than the other.

  • The endless controversy about regrowth in electrolysis hair removal is largely due to the fact you cannot tell if the hair is true regrowth or, for example, a growing hair replacing an earlier shed resting hair. You cannot look at a hair and be certain, because “new growth” hairs and true “regrowth” hairs look the same.
  • Everything or nothing—There are electrologist that think a hair has to be treated several times before it is permanently destroyed. While there may be some truth to the “breaking down” concept, we don’t believe in it. We believe that you either destroy the follicle, or you don’t. If the follicle is not destroyed, the regrowth ultimately achieves its original size.
  • There will always be a certain amount of regrowth after initial electrolysis treatments, even when they are performed by a skilled electrologist. If electrolysis is performed perfectly, then theoretically there should be no true regrowth. Due to a variety of factors, this is never the case. Even in the best of hands we estimate a regrowth factor of 25-50%. Whilst opinions differ as to what is an acceptable percentage, most experienced electrologists estimate that for a treatment to be considered effective, at least 40-50 percent of the treated hairs should be permanently removed with each treatment. Experts cannot give a definitive number because there are so many variables which affect outcomes. The electrologist’s skill in working with these variables will determine the percentage of permanency for each individual treatment. Don’t get discouraged, just keep attending your appointments regularly. This will ensure you get the most positive results.
  • Completion of facial electrolysis will probably take from under 100 hours to over 200. This is a broad range unfortunately, as some patients respond better than others for factors still unknown to us.

More information on regrowth after electrolysis hair removal

How Many Electrolysis Treatments Will I Need?

  • The total number of sessions needed to remove hair permanently from a particular area will vary from person to person. But the unwanted hair that is gone will be gone forever.
  • Generally speaking, you are likely to require treatments for at least 12 months.
  • It can take anything from 8 months up to 2 years in some cases.
  • We realize that this will seem like a very wide timeframe, but it is just impossible to be more specific due to a big variation in response to treatment.
  • We still don’t fully know all factors that account for the difference in total treatment time.
  • If we feel we have a bad killing rate after your first session we will switch to a different method or adjust our settings.

How long should I wait in between sessions?

  • You can choose between a fast track of 4 weeks in between session (but with fewer hairs treated per sessions)
  • We recommend a 6 weeks track for the best balance between total timeframe and cost efficiency
  • Max time in between sessions is 16 weeks

What does electrolysis cost and how do I book?

Price and booking of electrolysis hair removal

Am I a good candidate for electrolysis hair removal?

Anyone with unwanted facial or body hair is a good candidate for electrolysis. Electrolysis is really for everybody.

Electrolysis hair removal (in contrast to laser) works for:

  • any skin type
  • any hair colour,
  • any part of the body.

The only people advised not to have electrolysis hair removal done, are those with an active skin inflammation.

Is electrolysis hair removal painful?

  • The short answer for most people is “yes, it is”.
  • Unfortunately the hair follicle is the most richly innervated part of the skin.

    Diagram of hair follicle with nerve endings around the hair follicle.

    The hair follicle is the most innervated part of the skin. Hence the pain of electrolysis hair removal

  • While many clients can tolerate electrolysis hair removal without requiring pain relief for a certain amount of time, it’s overpromise to state that this treatment will be painless or virtually painless.
  • The biggest limiting factor for the duration of the session for most electrologists is the pain tolerance of the patient. This is why at 2pass Clinic, with our medical staff in the building, we created a solution so the patient can tolerate longer sessions up to 8 hours a day, for several days in a row. We use a pain pump to make you more comfortable during the treatment, as it makes the pain bearable. If you still think the pain is too much for you, we can offer local anaesthesia on top of it as well. After local anaesthesia is administered, the treatment is completely painless. You manage the pain pump yourself with a button during the electrolysis hair removal. 2pass Clinic is the only institution in the world where you can use a pain pump of this kind. The computer-controlled pump contains a strong painkiller which is also used in anaesthetics: remifentanil. An intravenous catheter line is inserted into your arm so that the painkiller can enter your bloodstream. You can use the pain pump throughout your treatment. This makes longer and more intensive treatments bearable. If necessary, a local anaesthetic (similar to the one used by dentists) can also be injected so that the area being treated goes numb, so you won’t feel a thing.

More information on pain and electrolysis

Which electrolysis equipment do you use?

  • At 2pass Clinic we do everything to make electrolysis as comfortable and effective as possible. Therefore, we invest in equipment that is completely state-of-the-art.
  • The Apilus xCell Pro is an electrolysis machine, developed by Dectro. It is is considered the rolls Royce of the electrolysis machines.

    Picture of electrolysis hair removal device Apilus Xcell Pro

    The apilus Xcell pro is considered the rolls royce of the electrolysis hair removal machines.

  • The device works on 27 MHz which means you can generate more heat but in a much shorter time. This allows you to work faster and more efficiently. It is also ‘less’ painful for the patient.
  • This device is actually also a computer where we enter all the data about the patient’s skin and hair type, as well as the needle of choice and the modality. The device immediately gives us the correct setting. And if the hair does not respond well, we can still make some adjustments manually.

More information on our electrolysis hair removal equipment

Permanent hair removal specialists

  • Evy Vertonghen
    Electrolysis hair removal
  • Joa Christiaenssen
    Electrolysis | Makeup Artist
  • Lesley Vandemaele
  • Lori Verberckt
  • Ashley Van Bosch












At 2pass Clinic, electrolysis hair removal is carried out by Evy Vertonghen and Joa Christiaenssen. They all graduated from the Denise Grésiac in Antwerp, a well-known school for beauticians. Evy completed an intensive training course to allow her to specialise in electrolysis hair removal and laser hair removal. Evidently these are t talented beauticians who are passionate about their work.

How do I prepare for my electrolysis hair removal?

Before your first electrolysis hair removal treatment you should be aware of the following:

  • No epilation or waxing for the past three months.
  • Stop shaving three days before your treatment.

This ensures that your facial hair or body hair is long enough to achieve optimum results.
You should also make sure you are wearing comfortable clothing.

More info on preparing for your electrolysis hair removal session

What will happen during my electrolysis hair removal session?

  • During your first session of electrolysis hair removal we will look at your skin and your hair growth. We will then explain everything you need to know and draw up a treatment plan.
  • The beautician uses two instruments: a computer-assisted epilator and tweezers.
  • During the treatment the patient is simply lying down while the probes are inserted and hair removed.  The probes are then re-inserted into more hair follicles and so-on.
  • The epilator probe is inserted via the hair shaft. The skin is not damaged because the probe is passing through a natural opening. Insertion of the probe is virtually painless.
  • The probe then gives off an electric current for a few seconds. This can be painful.
  • Finally, the hair is removed from the skin using tweezers. This is painless.
  • We usually give a short 5 minute break every hour, and of course bathroom breaks are always given if and when needed.

Picture of Evy Vertonghen performing electrolysis hair removal.

What should I do after an electrolysis hair removal session?

After your electrolysis hair removal session, you should definitely remember the following:

  • Apply the after-care lotion for a quick and effective recovery.
  • For the first three days after the treatment do not use make-up, sun cream, products containing alcohol, or scrubs.
  • Avoid intensive sun exposure for about three to five days.
  • Put an ice pack or wet compress from the fridge on the swelling: 15 minutes at a time, with a 10-minute break.

Learn more about electrolysis aftercare

Which skin reaction can I expect after my treatment?

On the day you have had your treatment, the skin may be red and you may feel a burning sensation. This varies from one person to another and it is temporary. Scabs may also temporarily appear on the skin. It is important to leave these alone, to prevent infection and scarring. There may also be slight temporary swelling of the skin.

Learn more about the recovery of electrolysis hair removal

 

Are there any risks involved with electrolysis hair removal?

  • There are generally no permanent side effects.
  • The risk of electrolysis hair removal is epidermal injury and damage to epidermal melanin. Epidermal injury may result in scarring. Damage to the epidermal melanin may result in hypopigmentation spots. If the damage to the dermis is too big, pitting can also be a consequence.
  • Finding an electrologist with a lot of experience is key to reduce your change on side effects.

FAQ

Do you also remove hair from the genital zone before the sex reassignment surgery?

Yes we do, we strongly advise electrolysis before the operation because laser is not always permanent and after the operation you won’t get a second change to remove the hair.

Is electrolysis hair removal painful?

The short answer almost no electrologist dears to give you to give you is: yes it is. Some people can bear it, other’s barely.

The longer version: Everyone has their own tolerance to pain. Descriptions of the discomfort vary from “no worse than a mosquito bite,” to “like having a rubber band snapped against my bare skin hard.” Electrolysis can give a stinging and pricking sensation, and each hair has to go through it. The degree of also relative to the area of treatment. Certain spots, such as the upper lip, are known to be more sensitive than spots like the brows.

More information about pain during electrolysis hair removal

Can shave my hair in between electrolysis hair removal sessions?

Yes, one of the common misconceptions about electrolysis is that you have to let the hair grow in-between sessions.  In actual fact, you can treat the hair as you would do usually, even shaving if on the legs or face.  The hair doesn’t have to be any longer than 1-2 mm for electrolysis to be effective. It is even contra-productive because it makes insertions more difficult. It is important you stop shaving 3 days prior to your electrolysis session.

We should emphasize that in contrast to popular believe shaving of the hair will not thicken it, coarsen it or make it grow more rapidly.

 

How many hours of electrolysis will I need to clear an area?

This is probably the most frequently asked question, and one we can unfortunately not answer with certainty. There are many factors influencing the amount of sessions needed to clear an area, some of which are still unknown to us. To fully clear your facial hair permanently it can take anything from 8 months up to 2 years in some cases. The number of sessions needed varies from 8 to 15 sessions. The number of hours needed varies from 90 to 300 hours.

Should I be on hormones to start electrolysis?

No. Beard growth is driven by a genetic response of the hair follicles to the hormone called ‘androgen’. This response of the hair follicles is genetic, and sadly we cannot yet change the genetics of your hair. From our experience, unless the masculinization process is put to a halt early in puberty, or the individual naturally has sparse beard growth, extensive facial electrolysis is usually necessary for trans women.

Is electrolysis better than laser hair removal?

Laser is less effective than electrolysis because it targets the pigment of the hair that is only found in the Bulb, not the Bulge where the growth cells are. The damage to the hair is considerable enough that it will slow the growth cycle for a couple of months before reappearing.The other advantage of electrolysis is that it is suitable for pretty much all skin tones and hair colours, unlike laser hair removal.

Laser first? The simple rule is: Do laser first if you have dark hair and light skin. If you have dark skin or light hair, skip laser and do electrolysis from the start.

More info on the differnce between laser and electrolysis hair removal.

 

Is electrolysis hair removal really permanent?

Electrolysis is the only permanent hair removal method which is recognised and approved as such by the FDA (The US Food and Drug Administration). The FDA is an agency of the US government that regulates a broad range of consumer products, services and drugs in order to ensure not only the efficacy of the product, but also the safety of the consumer. The FDA is an agency of the US government that regulates a broad range of consumer products, services and drugs in order to ensure not only the efficacy of the product, but also the safety of the consumer.This means that the FDA have carefully examined the electrolysis technique and have expressed that it’s safe and that it permanently removes hair.

Can I choose my electrologist?

For administrative reasons we do not give each patient the same electrologist each visit, although we try to meet the patient’s preference. The rotating of electrologists discourages personal dependence and more easily facilitates the exchange of skills, which maintains high standards.

Can I do Electrolysis at your clinic while recovering form the surgery?

Yes you can. We suggest you book 1 day of electrolysis a few days after the surgery through our website: https://www.2passclinic.com/permanent-hair-removal/booking-electrolysis/.

If you have a choice though it is probably a more comfortable option to book the electrolysis a few days before your surgery.

I have some discoloration on my face after electrolysis, is this normal? Will it go away?

Hyperpigmentation is possible after electrolysis. The inflammation caused by the electrolysis destruction can sometimes stimulate melanocytes (pigment cells in the skin) to produce pigment.

This reaction is called post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. When this happens in electrology, tiny dark patches or dots appear 2 to 6 weeks after treatment where each hair was epilated. These marks may persist for 4 to 6 months, but disappear as the skin recuperates. This reaction can develop on any patient. However, this reaction is most common in darker-skinned patients. It rarely occurs in lighter-skinned patients. Sunlight seems to encourage this reaction. Therefore we advise our patients to protect against the sun for 2 to 3 weeks after treatment.

In very rare instances, inflammation from electrolysis arrests the pigment production of the pigment cells and causes white spots, or hypo-pigmentation. In all such cases the melanocytes recuperate and the skin fully returns to normal; usually within several months.

I suffer from psoriasis, can I still get electrolysis?

On the active psoriasis zone electrolysis is contra-indicated.

I suffer from PCOS, can I still get electrolysis?

It is not a contra-indication, but in some people it doesn’t really help because too much new hair is recruited. In some individuals the problem is less pronounced than in others.

The average person has 1,000 follicles per square inch. However, that does not mean one grows 1,000 hairs. Where a man may have 100, to 500 visible hairs in a square inch, a woman may have 0 to 25. You must understand that hormonal problems (like PCOS) work in such a way that new follicles are recruited to start growing hair, where they never grew before. The severity of the problem defines how long it takes for new follicles to be recruited, and how many at a time are stimulated in that term. So, until one arrests the problem that is causing the new hair recruitment, one will continuously gain new hairs, and one may may have to come back forever.

You still have another question? Feel free to ask! We will answer your question and if generally applicable add it to the FAQ of this page.








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