First, it was announced as the first FDA approved permanent hair removal treatment. It’s suitable for most types of hair. It’s low-risk, relatively pain-free, and incredibly effective. While there are some other long-term hair removal options available, laser hair removal comes to mind, this is the only one allowed to claim that it’s a truly permanent solution.
Once, if you wanted an electrolysis treatment you were signing up for a course of several treatments by a dermatologist or at your local, well-equipped, salon. The appointments were time-consuming and expensive.
Fortunately, professionals aren’t the only ones with access to electrolysis anymore. There are several home electrolysis models available, and even professional models are becoming more affordable for consumer use.
In this article, we’ll discuss how electrolysis works, how long typical treatments take, and things you can do before and after treatments to make the process easier and more comfortable. We’ll also compare some of the better consumer electrolysis machines so you can take advantage of this incredible technology at home.
Excercise caution, read the manuals, and consult with a medical professional prior to use.*
|Clean N Easy Deluxe Electrolysis|
|Type of Electrolysis: Thermolysis|
|Easy to use and has instructions, comes with its own carry/storage case.|
|Aavexx 300 Transdermal Electrolysis System|
|Type of Electrolysis:
|No needles required, great option for those with concerns about needle use.|
|Électrolyse Deluxe Electrolysis Machine|
|Type of Electrolysis:
|Blend style machine lets you use multiple modes and settings, more effective.|
How Does Electrolysis Work?
Electrolysis at its core uses electricity to destroy hair follicles so that they can no longer produce hair. There are several different ways of getting this done. All electrolysis methods take longer than laser treatments or standard hair removal.
But once you’ve thoroughly treated an area you don’t even have to worry about that hair growth again.
You’ve probably noticed if you’ve ever looked into electrolysis before, that there seem to be two different treatment types.
One is entirely topical, targeting individual hairs without going under the skin. The other is trans-dermal, meaning that a small needle is inserted into the skin (specifically into the hair follicle) to deliver treatment more directly.
To be clear. Topical electrolysis does not have the same scientific support that traditional (needle) electrolysis does. Many scientists are skeptical that topical methods can work at all, or that the result s are truly permanent.
Still, many consumers and salons swear by this type of electrolysis. They say it’s similarly effective, much more comfortable, and less likely to cause permanent skin damage.
The Different Types of Electrolysis
In more technical terms, there are two main types of electrolysis, galvanic and thermolysis.
Galvanic electrolysis is the original and the more scientifically trusted of the two. Galvanic electrolysis runs a small electric current through a needle. To be effective, the needle is placed directly into your hair follicle, the charge is triggered, and the needle is removed.
This works because there is a small amount of salt in your hair follicles to receive the current. The salt is electrified, damaging the skin cells surrounding it, preventing the hair follicle from working.
Done properly, galvanic electrolysis is incredibly effective. It’s relatively unlikely to cause skin damage, although some damage or scarring is possible. Damage is slightly more likely if you have thick hair that requires a larger current.
The main downside to this form of electrolysis is that it can be slightly painful. Depending on your pain threshold it may be mildly uncomfortable, or incredibly difficult to sit through a treatment. Fortunately, almost all electrolysis machines have variable settings, which can make treatments more comfortable.
Thermolysis doesn’t use a straight electric current. While the tip of your electrolysis machine needs to be placed right next to the base of the hair, it doesn’t need to be used in the hair follicle.
Instead of an electric current, thermolysis uses a different wave with produces heat. You can think of it as a mini-microwave but skip the horror movie hand-in-a-microwave part. The heat is incredibly focused on a tiny area.
The basic idea is the same, the heat damages the cells involved in hair growth, permanently preventing future growth.
While some people are more skeptical of this method, proponents of thermolysis say that its effectiveness has more to do with the skill of the person using the tool and less to do with the technology itself.
If you happen to live on the East Coast of the US of A, you’ll most likely see a lot of electrolysis practitioners offering this style of electrolysis. The schools on the East Coast tend to focus in on this style, which makes it a lot more common.
Blend or Combination Electrolysis
More machines are being produced that can do both, or that always use a combination of both types of electrolysis. Blend electrolysis is especially common in professional settings on the West Coast. Blend is available in both commercial and consumer machines.
Blend electrolysis is neither more nor less effective than either method alone. Like all electrolysis, it’s effectiveness mostly depends on the skill and precision of the user.
5 Best Electrolysis Machines Comparison Table
|Electrolysis Machine||Type of Electrolysis||Portable?||Price|
|Électrolyse Deluxe||Blend||No||Check Price|
|Verseo eSmooth Electrolysis Epilation Roller Pen||Thermolysis||Yes||Check Price|
|Aavexx 300 Transdermal Electrolysis System||Galvanic||No||Check Price|
|Clean N Easy Deluxe Electrolysis||Galvanic||Yes||Check Price|
|AVX400 Transdermal Electrolysis System||Galvanic||No||Check Price|
5 Best Electrolysis Machines: Detailed Reviews
Now that you (hopefully) know a little more about electrolysis itself, let’s take a look at the machines themselves. Don’t worry, we’ll come back to before and after care in a bit.
Editor’s Rating: 4.9/5.0
This is a professional quality machine. That means it is highly effective, has a few more options and settings than a consumer machine, and it’s designed to work for larger sections of hair removal.
That said, the Électrolyse Deluxe is a more expensive option than most of the consumer machines on our list. It’s still less expensive than seeking professional treatment if you’re looking at a large treatment area like your arms, legs, chest, or back. Still, it’s worth noting that this is one of the least affordable options for consumers.
It is a blend machine, which we appreciate since it tackles the hair from multiple angles. You can use different settings and tools depending on your hair type, and which treatment seems most effective.
However, it’s also a significantly stronger machine than most consumer models. If you choose this machine over a consumer model, we recommend starting slow and gradually working your way up from the lowest settings until you find an effective treatment level.
The good news, with the purchase of this machine you also gain access to a wide variety of user PDFs outlining how to care for and maintain the machine, how to use it safely, and other tips and tricks on the manufacturer website.
It also comes with a 1-year warranty, for some added peace of mind that you’ll get your money’s worth out of the product.
|Compatibility: Blended electrolysis style|
|Warrenty: 1- year warranty|
|Type: Blended electrolysis style|
|Output intensity: 24,000kµV|
|Blend style machine lets you use multiple modes and settings|
|More effective than most consumer models|
|Comes with the tools and equipment you’ll need|
|How -to articles included with purchase|
|Designed for professional use, but simple enough for consumer use|
|More expensive than most consumer models|
|Requires some additional care while you’re learning proper use|
This is a great model, especially if you already have some experience with electrolysis. But it’s power means that it’s a little more likely to cause skin irritation and damage than other models if used improperly.
Editor’s Rating: 4.5/5.0
This is probably the most consumer-driven model on our list. This little pen calls itself and epilator since all electrolysis technically falls under the umbrella of epilation. It’s compact, small, and easy to use.
That said, it’s going to take a bit longer to see the kind of permanent results you want using this model vs a more high-end version.
However, it’s also a more affordable choice. We also think that this is a good option if you need to travel and don’t want to skip any treatments while you’re away from home. Smaller, and usually less irritating than a professional electrolysis machine, the eSmooth is easy to use and convenient.
A series of LED lights indicate power, treatment mode, and whether the pen’s contact with your skin is sufficient. It also has an easy mode switch. The design and conductive band are both comfortable in your hand.
Treatments themselves are easy to perform and relatively comfortable. You can also treat any given area more often. You can use the eSmooth up to twice a day, up to 5 days a week.
Usually, it takes two months to show significant hair growth reduction with this treatment, although it will remove hair immediately and show some small reduction in hair growth right away.
|Weight: 1.25 lbs|
|Compatibility: Effective on all skin/hair types|
|Size: 7 inches long|
|Easy to use|
|Designed for consumer use|
|Can be used on almost all skin|
|Simple, almost no learning curve|
|Takes longer to show results than other alternatives|
|Takes a long time to treat large areas|
This is a less effective option in the immediate, but is much more affordable and will reduce hair growth over time.
Editor’s Rating: 4.7/5.0
This is a needle-free transdermal electrolysis system. It uses galvanic patches, tweezers, along with electrolyte gels to effectively target the hair follicles and reduce hair growth.
This is another consumer or professional system and is designed to offer good results relatively quickly.
The included electrode patches and other equipment are re-usable. Especially if you’re using the equipment at home, and only on one or two family members or friends, you won’t need to replace the equipment very often.
The machine itself is good for years of use. It also offers a range of settings and treatment techniques so you can find a comfortable and effective option for your skin and hair.
This machine gets our best value rating because it’s a professional-quality machine with a significantly lower price tag than our top pick. The second is that it’s an incredibly effective and versatile machine.
While a professional electrolysis system is always going to be one of the more expensive grooming and beauty products in your home, this version is more consumer-friendly than most.
You’ll also get an extensive care and use guide from the manufacturers, which helps make sure that it’s effective every time you use it.
|Output Range: 0.01-5,000mA (0-100 ω)(10A-3)|
|compatibility: Foot switch compatible|
|Also includes the textbook: Cosmetologist’s Guide to Transcutaneous and Conventional Electrolysis|
|Comes with: One pair of galvanic tweezers, 1 by 4-inch metal anode with attachment wiring, swab electrode, 1 electrode clip, 1 patch electrode assembly (pigtail lead), one reusable 4 by 4-inch electrode patch (20 adhesions average per patch), two reusable 2 by 2-inch deluxe electrode patches, four reusable 1 by 1-inch deluxe electrode patches, 3 Oz. high viscosity electrolyte gel, 2 Oz. low viscosity electrolyte gel|
|Effective professional-grade treatment|
|No needles required, great option for those with concerns about needle use|
|Powerful, with a range of settings and treatment options|
|Comes with a usage guide|
|Equipment is mostly re-usable|
|Comes with a good supply of electrolyte gels|
|Not as many options as other professional equipment|
|Can be uncomfortable, especially used without the electrolyte gels|
Editor’s Rating: 4.6/5.0
Another consumer model, and one that’s a little cheaper and even more portable than the eSmooth. This kit looks more like what you would expect from a home electrolysis kit. There are several different tools to use, a convenient carrying and storage case, and overall the design is friendlier and less intimidating.
Like all consumer designed machines, the Clean N Easy Deluxe takes a little longer than the professional versions to work. Yet, it’s also a little more comfortable.
The large batteries the Clean N Easy Deluxe requires are easy to find. Thankfully, they also last a decent amount of time. Although, if you’re removing hair from a large area you may want to keep a few on hand in the early days of treatment.
As you continue, you’ll need fewer batteries because you’ll have less hair to treat each time.
The Clean N Easy Deluxe isn’t pain-free like the eSmooth, but it’s less likely to cause skin irritation or damage than the professional versions.
It uses a fine probe and a pair of tweezers like most galvanic electrolysis machines, but it’s a more surface treatment than most professional alternatives.
As both the most affordable and the overall most effective consumer electrolysis machine on our list, it’s clear why the Clean N Easy made our best bargain rating. This machine is reasonably effective, easy to use, safe for travel, and one of the more comfortable.
|Material: Combination metal and plastic construction|
|Batteries: Runs on standard 9v batteries|
|Comes with: Comes with both a probe and tweezers, storage case|
|Comes with its own carry/storage case|
|Easy to use and has instructions|
|Relatively effective, only mildly uncomfortable|
|Less effective than a professional machine|
|Will need more batteries early in treatment|
Editor’s Rating: 4.6/5.0
We’re not going to go too in-depth on this option. It’s very similar to the 300 model we’ve already discussed and which earned the best value rating. This slightly more advanced version is the same machine plus one tool. A simple timer.
The timer does allow you to be more precise in your treatments, but it isn’t necessary if you have a phone timer or even a cooking timer you can use.
It does, however, come with a bump in the overall price of the machine.
Otherwise, it’s pros, cons, and specs, are identical to the 300. But since there is a lot of confusion between the two models, and people often buy the 400 even though it’s more expensive under the impression that there are technological improvements, we decided it’s worth mentioning.
|Weight: 7 pounds|
|Product Dimensions: 8 x 6 x 2 inches|
|Electrical Output Range: 300K to 24,000K µV (10V-6)|
|compatibility: Foot switch compatible|
|Now more power than last year|
|Foot switch compatible|
|1 year total-coverage warranty|
|More expensive than most consumer models|
|Requires some additional care while you’re learning proper use|
Electrolysis or Laser – What’s the Difference?
One of the most common questions about electrolysis comes from people wondering why they should choose an uncomfortable and expensive procedure over laser treatment. While the cost is less important for at-home models, it’s still worth going into the difference.
The main reason Electrolysis is gaining in popularity is that laser doesn’t work on all skin and hair types, and it isn’t permanent.
Laser targets areas of dark pigment. That means it works best on light skin with dark hair. People with darker skin types are more likely to be burned by laser hair removal treatments.
Laser also requires annual or bi-annual touch-ups since the hair does eventually regenerate and start growing again.
Neither of those things are true of electrolysis, which is suitable for almost all skin and hair types and is a permanent form of hair removal.
How to Care for Your Skin While Performing Electrolysis Treatments
Since electrolysis is causing small localized damage to your skin it’s especially important to make sure you’re taking care of your skin at the same time. This guide will help you plan your electrolysis routine so that you’re not adding more damage on top of the hair loss treatment.
This is rule #1 for electrolysis treatments. For one thing, after a treatment, your skin is likely to be swollen and irritated. That means you won’t get a close shave, and you’re a lot more likely to nick your skin or cause razor burn.
Shaving can also promote ingrown hairs, which makes electrolysis treatment more difficult.
If you have to use another form of hair removal in your treatment area stick to an electric shaver. Better yet, hold off on hair removal for a while so that the electrolysis treatment is easier.
Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize
We know that moisturizing is a bit of a grooming article cliché, but it is necessary. Make sure you have your favorite lotion or moisturizer around before you start the electrolysis treatment. Some people prefer only to use it after treatment, while others like moisturizing before and after treatment.
If you do put on a lotion or oil before treatment you should wait until the product is completely dry before starting the treatment.
Aloe vera gel is a good alternative to lotions here since it also helps soothe the skin and speed healing. Avoid lotions with heavy scent or alcohol content. Scents and alcohols can be irritating and drying and may sting after your electrolysis treatment.
Other alternative sources of moisture include coconut oil, shea butter, cocoa butter, and most other all-natural plant oils.
Especially if you have low pain tolerance, you may want to take a couple of ibuprofen (Advil) an hour before treatment.
The pain-killer not only makes treatment more comfortable, but it also helps reduce post-electrolysis inflammation.
Most people don’t need a pain killer. But, the larger your treatment area and the thicker your hair, the more likely you may want something to take the edge off treatment.
Another way to deal with the discomfort and inflammation that can be an immediate response to electrolysis is to ice the area. It’s effective to ice immediately before treatment, although you can also ice after if necessary.
Just be careful and make sure you’re using a towel or other wrap to prevent the ice pack from causing damage while you’re trying to soothe your skin.
Plan Treatments When You Don’t Need to Go Out
Electrolysis should take a little planning. You need to have moisturizer, time, privacy, and ideally, a few hours or a day to wait before making another public appearance.
If you’re using electrolysis on your face you can expect there to be some redness and swelling in the treatment area for a couple of hours after treatment. If you’re treating legs, arms, bikini line, back or chest, those areas are easier to cover. But, they’re still likely to be sensitive.
Plan some recovery time around your treatment. That way you don’t need to worry about pulling scratchy clothing over irritated skin.
You should also avoid applying cosmetics to the treatment area for about 24 hours after treatment. Since the skin is already irritated you’re much more likely to get a reaction, or bacterial infection, from cosmetics and makeup brushes.
Use the Lowest Effective Setting
If you want to avoid causing more damage than necessary, it’s important to follow the instructions for your electrolysis machines. You should also try to use the lowest effective setting.
Unless you’re a trained professional, you’re likely to misplace the probe at least a few times during a treatment. If you’re also using a higher treatment setting, or continue the treatment pulse for longer than necessary, you’ll cause more damage.
Over several treatments, that damage adds up and can cause scarring. So, lower settings avoid the risk of more lasting damage. Not to mention that lower treatment settings are usually more comfortable.
- How Does Electrolysis Work?
- The Different Types of Electrolysis
- 5 Best Electrolysis Machines Comparison Table
- 5 Best Electrolysis Machines: Detailed Reviews
- Electrolysis or Laser – What’s the Difference?
- How to Care for Your Skin While Performing Electrolysis Treatments