How do I find an electrologist?


Well, first of all, you can find out if your state requires a license for electrologists. For example, the state of California requires 600 hours of schooling, plus a passing score on a written and practical exam before one can be licensed to perform electrolysis hair removal. Consumers can look up the California Department of Consumer Affairs at and look for the link “License SEARCH” and then “Search by City/ County” followed by “Board of Barbering and Cosmetology” and “Electrologist” to find a licensed electrologist.

For states that do not have licensing requirements for electrologists, the American Electrology Association is a national association that provides electrologist testing & certification. They have a members list that can be found at although keep in mind that the list may not be as complete as the one in your particular state.

Since most offices offer free first time consultation, I would recommend going in person and talking to several different electrologists before choosing someone. Finally, you should see results within 2 to 3 months of starting a regular hair removal schedule of a smaller area such as a woman’s chin. It is important that you follow the same schedule that you used for your previous hair removal method. For example, if you wax or thread every 2 weeks, you should see your electrologist every 2 weeks in the beginning of the course of treatment, so that she can catch and kill the new hairs when they first grow out and are at their most vulnerable. Otherwise, it will take longer to see results because of the nature of the hair growth and rest cycles.

One final note is to be fair to your electrologist and stick with her/ him for a period of at least 2 to 3 months. This is because the hairs are most difficult to kill at the beginning of the course of treatment or during the first clearing. If you do a lot of shopping around and see many electrologists at the same time, you may not have good results, and it will be difficult to figure out the reason why.

How long does it take to permanently clear an area?

This varies depending on the hair type, skin type, frequency of visit, presence of stimulating factors such as certain medications, and any hormonal change or imbalance such as occurs during puberty, pregnancy, or menopause. Usually depending on how deep and coarse the hairs are, each follicle needs to be treated about 1-3 times. Also, at any one time only some of the hairs are actively growing and showing above the surface of the skin. The remaining hairs are dormant in the resting stage for 3-12 months. Therefore, large areas such as the legs may require 1-2 hours every week for up to 2 years to completely treat. However, one can usually see a noticeable difference in the thickness of the hair, or in the number of hairs in the treated area within a few weeks to a few months of starting treatment. Electrolysis appointments will tend to be longer and more frequent in the beginning, and then become shorter and farther apart as the unwanted hairs are permanently cleared.

The chart below is an estimate or average time for each area to be completely cleared up. It is a guide to help the electrologists make a treatment plan for their clients. There can be some variations depending on the amount of hair that each individual has, as well as the consistency of treatments, and other such circumstances.

Electrolysis avg time for final cleanup

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How long till an area is treated or cleared for the first time?

This varies with the area of the face or body treated, the density of the hair in that area, and what part of their growth cycle the hairs are in at the time of treatment.

The chart below is an estimate or average time for each area to be cleared for the first time. It is a guide to help the electrologists make a treatment plan for their clients. There can be some variations depending on the amount of hair that each individual has, as well as the consistency of treatments, and other such circumstances.

Electrolysis average time for first cleanup


What areas can be treated?

Any unwanted hair on the face or body can be successfully treated.

Commonly treated areas for men include eyebrow shaping or unibrow, cheeks, mustache, beard sculpting or ingrown beard (also known as razor bumps or pseudofolliculitis barbae), sideburns, around the ears, hairline, neck or back of neck (also known as nape), shoulders, back, chest, bikini line, genital area.

Commonly treated areas for women include eyebrow shaping or unibrow, cheeks, lips, chin, throat, arms, underarms, breast, abdomen, bikini line, genital area, legs, hands, feet.

The area treated is limited only by your imagination and your electrologist’s comfort level and experience.


Does it hurt? Can you make it painless?

Usually, during electrolysis you should neither feel the insertion of the probe into the hair follicle, nor should you feel like the hair is being pulled out when it is removed because it will usually slide out of the follicle when properly treated. Sometimes, when there is a large white keratin ball at the root of the resting or telogen hair, you will feel it pop out right at the surface of the skin, and this is normal. As for when the heat is being applied or when the lye chemical reaction is occurring, different people have different tolerance for pain, and the same person may have different pain threshold at different areas on the body, or at different times of the month for women. Some areas of the face and body, especially towards the mid-line, are more sensitive than others. But considering that we have to apply enough heat or form enough lye to kill the germ cells that are making hair at the bottom of the hair follicle, anyone that claims a painless procedure is likely to be exaggerating just a little bit. It is just impossible to destroy tissue without sensation. Similarly, laser hair removal does involve some degree of discomfort. Clients who have low tolerance for pain may wish to apply a numbing cream, or take Advil or ibuprofen before their appointment. Stronger pain medication may be prescribed by their physician.

Is electrolysis for me?

Because we must treat each follicle of the unwanted hair, electrolysis is time consuming by its nature. Electrolysis is ideal for clients who have patience and tolerance for delayed gratification, they are willing to invest the time and resource needed in order to achieve a more permanent result. Those people who need a quick fix are best served by more temporary methods such as shaving, waxing, threading, and tweezing. Having said this, one should keep in mind that waxing, threading, and tweezing will tend to distort the hair follicles and make electrolysis more difficult at a later date. These temporary methods may also lead to skin irritation, “razor bumps” or ingrown hairs, and increased hair density and thickness. Also, the temporary methods require frequent, never-ending maintenance, and in the long run are more time consuming and costly.

Is electrolysis similar to laser hair removal?

Electrolysis is not laser hair removal. One difference is that electrolysis has been approved by the FDA for “permanent hair removal,” whereas laser hair removal has been approved by the FDA for “permanent hair reduction.” This is not to say that laser hair removal does not work for some clients, only that it does not work for all clients. Another difference is that laser does not work well when there is no pigment in the hair to absorb the laser heat energy, or when there is similar coloring to both the skin and the hair, so that both absorb the laser energy equally. Thus, laser does not work well for grey hair, blonde hair, or for dark hair on dark skin. Since laser hair removal involves shaving the area and treating with the laser, it is difficult to know if it works on an individual until several treatments and hundreds of dollars later. A third difference is that laser hair removal gives unpredictable results for some areas such as the face, whereas electrolysis works well on all areas of the face or body. Finally, although uncommon, side effects of laser hair removal can be more significant than electrolysis, including redness, blistering, skin discoloration, swelling, and scarring. All things being considered, no one would object to a client using laser to reduce the hairs on a large area of the body such as the legs, before having electrolysis to permanently remove the remaining stubborn hairs.

What is electrolysis?

Electrolysis is non – laser permanent hair removal. Electrolysis has been in use for over 100 years, and is the only FDA approved method for PERMANENT hair removal. It is effective for all hair types, skin types, and areas of the face or body. Although slower than shaving, waxing, threading, or laser hair removal, electrolysis is permanent, safe, and involves minimal discomfort.

An electrologist permanently removes unwanted hair by inserting a very fine sterile metal probe into the hair follicle, applying electricity to produce heat or induce lye formation, and thereby destroying the germ cells at the root of the hair. Since one cannot see inside the hair follicle, down to the root of the hair, the process is very dependent on the skill of the electrologist, and his/ her ability to judge the angle of hair growth, the depth and thickness of the hair, as well as the amount of electricity needed in terms of heat or lye formation in order to destroy the hair germ cells. Thus, a good electrologist, like a good hair stylist, requires much skill and talent. A good electrologist will help you look your best by permanently removing all your unwanted hairs.