SOURCE: Charlotte-James Facial Clinic

October 27, 2006 10:20 ET

What You Need to Know About Permanent Hair Removal

LOS ANGELES, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- October 27, 2006 -- Removing unwanted hair on the face or body can be an aggravating and sometimes painful process, and all the choices in hair removal can be confusing. Whether it's from the back, above the lip, or just a stray eyebrow, most people want hair removal to be as effective and long lasting as possible. The most popular hair removal techniques are electrolysis and laser treatments.

For the least painful, most effective hair removal treatment, being educated about your hair removal choices and working with a trained professional to perform the job is essential. "The first thing people have to understand is the difference between electrolysis and laser hair removal. Laser is for the reduction of hair, but electrolysis is permanent," said Robin Harris, Certified Professional Electrologist at Charlotte-James Skin Facial Clinic, and electrology instructor at the American Institute of Education in Long Beach, Calif.

Harris, who has practiced electrolysis for 13 years, explains that it is the only procedure approved by the FDA and it is the only method that they consider permanent. Electrolysis works well with any type of hair and color of skin because it targets individual hairs. Alternately, a laser seeks a contrast between hair and skin to identify the hair it must destroy, so it usually only works well with those who have very dark hair and very light skin. It is not as effective on people with medium to dark skin or those with light hair. There is also the risk of being burned by a laser if the technician is not experienced. The shape of one's hair follicles is another consideration. "For curved follicles, you can't see under the skin, so you have to look at the wave pattern of the hair that is exposed to determine where the curve is below the skin," said Harris, who specializes in removing curved hair follicles, which are common in African Americans. She also excels at removing ultra-fine colorless hair, and uses special microscopic glasses to do this.

Electrolysis has been around for approximately 100 years, but has advanced to a microchip technology with increased megahertz, so it is a faster and less painful delivery system than it was years ago. Although it is still practiced with a probe technique and a needle, the sophisticated system now makes it the leading choice in hair removal. However, Harris emphasizes that a technician must use "the best equipment" that is available. "I love what I do, and I especially enjoy working on ingrown hairs, but I would not be able to do it effectively if I did not have top-quality equipment," said Harris.

Harris offers these tips for selecting an electrologist:

--  Make sure new, disposable probes are used for each session.
--  Make sure that the electrologist uses an antiseptic on your skin
    before and after each treatment to ensure that she does not push bacteria
    from the surface of the skin into the hair follicle with the probe.
--  Ask about sterilization procedures. Tweezers should be sterilized in a
    dry heart sterilizer or autoclave.
--  The electrologist's hands must be washed before and after each
    treatment. Harris wears gloves, too.
There are three different techniques that Harris uses. All of them are permanent, but she warns that the results depend on the operator's experience:
--  Thermolosis - This technique uses an oscillating current to create
    heat. The probe heats the water in the tissue, causing electrocoagulation,
    or cooking the tissue or hair follicle into a porous mass.
--  Galvanic - This is a chemical technique where water and salt molecules
    in the skin are changed to lye, which melts tissue or the hair follicle.
--  Blend - This is a combination of the heat and chemical techniques
    mentioned above.
The myth is that this procedure hurts. Although it is true that you will experience a quick sensation, it is not too uncomfortable. Just ensure that you have selected the right electrologist for the job.

Charlotte-James Facial Clinic is located at 10921 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, Calif. For more information, visit or call 310-208-2556.

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