Permanent Hair Removal – Electrolysis Vickie L.Mickey, CT, CLHRP
Electrolysis • Only proven method of permanent hair removal recognized by FDA • No published studies • 1875 Charles Michelle invented method removing ingrown eyelash! • Electrolysis - process • Electrology - science & profession • Electrologist - professional
Three Modalities of electrolysis • Thermolysis • Galvanic Electrolysis • Blend
Electrolysis • Galvanic current – DC • Moves in one direction • Chemical decomposition of follicle • Current causes salts & water in skin to form sodium hydroxide (lye) • Hydrogen gas & chlorine gas form – bubble can appear at surface of skin • Method effective but time consuming • Accuracy makes up for time
Experiment – Effects of Lye on Skin • Lay lye on a piece of meat • Crystal will dissolve • Puddle will form • Tissue decomposed – caustic action of lye
Experiment #2 • Fill glass with water • Add 2 tsp. salt • Stir until salt dissolves • Place positive ground (hand held ground) in water. • Place needle in the needle holder (not all the way) • Turn on DC & turn up the power • Insert needle into water • Notice hydrogen bubble
Experiment #3 • Repeat # 2 using distilled water • Current will not flow through demineralized water • Add salt slowly – the meter rises with the addition of conductive material
Pouring Lye in Follicle? How do we do that? • Galvanic machine – turned on • Rectifier produces DC • Rheostat controls intensity of current flow • Millampere meter gauges the flow of current • Needle holder is attached to the negative cord jack on front of unit • Footswitch is attached to the jack on back of unit • Needle or probe is placed in needle holder • Needle is placed in patients skin • Footswitch is depressed , releasing current flow • Chemical action of current produces lye • Electrical current returns to the positive terminal of the unit
Galvanic Current Pros & Cons • Offers highest success rate in hair removal • Accurate insertions are not as critical as current runs along the complete needle surface • Distorted follicles respond to DC • Lye produced in follicle continues to destroy follicle after treatment is over • Very slow method – minutes per follicle • Multi-needle much better • Can have shocking pain sensation when current develops in follicle • Incorrect cord set-up can cause tattooing • New equipment has a ramping feature to gradually build current.
Variables Affecting Galvanic Current • Lye gradient – the concentration of lye produced in the hair follicle. • Treatment energy – current duration & current density. • These factors affect delivery of lye to the probe tip. • Dermal papilla must receive enough lye.
Galvanic Do’s & Don’ts • Follow manufactures guidelines. • Make sure the negative cord is attached to the negative jack to avoid tattooing. • Do not use tapered needles. • Do not pulse with galvanic current. • Cataphoresis reduces redness but not necessary.
Thermolysis • Dr. Bordier developed the first thermolysis of hair in 1923. • Published results in 1932. • Thermo – Greek word for Heat. • Ysis – means to dissolve. • AC – current. • Referred to as high-frequency & shortwave • Easy to learn by practitioner
Thermolysis Methods • Manual • Semi-manual • Computerized • Thermolysis methods can range from unit design
How Thermolysis Works • Requires a conductor to deliver current • Current can travel though air via sound waves • Needle is the conductor in the follicle • Operates at 30 megahertz 30,000,000 times per second
Alternating Current • To understand thermolysis one must understand alternating current. • Imagine a plastic tube filled with balls that fit tightly into inside space of the tube. The balls have a string attached to them; as soon as the ball is pushed into the tube you will pull back on it. This action creates a suction, as the balls are pulled toward you. Repeat this process over and over and you have created alternating current affect.
Alternating Current • Electrical generators create the “push and pull” phenomenon by rapidly changing an electrical charge from the negative to the positive. Negative charges push the electrons out into the power lines and positive charge pulls it back. • One - back and forth motion is called a cycle. • Sixty cycles per second is standard American household current.
High Frequency Current • Imagine this back-and-forth motion accelerated to million cycles per second. • This incredible rate is said be “oscillating”. • This quickened movement is called mega cycles: millions of cycles per second. • Blend epilators produce current output of 13.56 megacycles. 13 million back-and–forth electrons per second. • Oscillating current is called high frequency or HF.
Hertz & Megahertz • Hertz the car rental? • No, Hertz & Megahertz are named for Heinrich Hertz. • More common names are “cycles” and “megacycles” because these terms express the cycling or oscillation process. • Abbreviations for “Hertz” is Hz & MHz for Megahertz.
Radio Waves • Imagine a plastic tube representing a wire with electrons moving back and forth a million times per second. Suddenly, this energy is emitted into the air, from the entire length of the wire. This is called radio wave emission! • Do you know what radio waves are? No one does! • Electrologist know what these waves do to human tissue! Tell me what do they do?
Tissue Heating • 1899 scientists discovered that human tissue could be heated by high frequency. • Experimentation in 1920’s & 1930’s demonstrated the benefits HF Current. • Diathermy was produced by numerous medical devices for applications in heating muscles and soft tissue.
Tissue Destruction • HF can produce enough heat to cause necrosis (permanent tissue destruction). • Different degrees of HF used on medicine produce specific results such electrodessication, electro coagulation, and electro section.
Electrocoagulation • Low level tissue destruction : tissue is clotted and rendered dysfunctional, but not dried out! • Electrodessication is severe tissue destruction by heat that dehydrates. • Dermatologist use HF devices call “hyfrecator” to burn off moles and other unwanted tissue.
HF Epilators • Produce electrocoagulation by converting liquids in the tissue , such as blood to produce a jell-like state! • HF denatures tissue proteins (the cooking process).
“Coagulation” Term Used in Profession • Technically this term may not be accurate within our profession, but used for nearly a century. • Terms: clot, “cook” denature and coagulate are commonly used as a synonyms to denote tissue destruction by HF.
Other Names for High Frequency • Short Wave • Radio Frequency • High Frequency is the most universal term!
Hinkel Explains HF All matter is composed of atoms. Atoms have positive charged protons and negatively charged protons. The presence of a negative charged proton in the tissue causes an attraction and electrons are repelled. Similarly, a positive charge attracts electrons and repels protons.
High Frequency Needle Produces a radio wave when inserted into the skin, the electric field causes certain atoms to become excited. These atoms are pushed and pulled by rapidly changing polarity. Agitated atoms vibrate against each other and generate heat by friction. Did you know that the needle does not get hot? The tissue around the needle become hot because of the surrounding HF waves or field. Did you know that the heat felt during treatment is the vibration of the molecules against one another!
HF Heating • Hf is more intense in conductive substances containing saltwater. The more conductive the substance the hotter it will get! • Dry material cannot conduct high frequency. • Invisible radio wave energy radiates from the entire needle, but it is concentrated at the tip! This is called the Point Effect!
Summary • Remember: • Epilator produces HF current. • HF current creates radio waves around the needle. • Energy fields causes friction in the wet tissues. • Generation of heat results in tissue destruction which kills the follicle.
Point Effect • Electrical current merges & concentrates on sharp pointed objects. • Lightening Rods have a sharp pointed end. • The needle like shape works to conduct lightening to the ground. • The point effect is perfect for hair removal, because the tip produces more energy, coagulation is initially concentrated in the lower follicle.
Heating Pattern • DC the lye pattern flows out along the entire needle, the lye is uniform in formation. • HF starts at the tip of the needle and progresses upward. • HF current climb takes place because the current always flows to the wettest, most conductive material.
Hotter Closer To The Needle • HF patterns climbs away from the needle, coagulation continues to take place in all the treated tissue. • Tip tissue - exposed to HF longer. • Highest temperatures at core nearest needle tip. • Temperature drops off and becomes too low to affect tissue as it moves up.
Denatured Protein • When animal tissue is heated to a high enough temperature, the protein is denatured. • Regardless if you boil, fry, bake, or microwave animal tissue you coagulate liquids and denature the tissue protein. • HF current is similar to the current in a microwave oven, the energy radiates from the tissue and denatures the tissue.
Egg White Analogue • Egg whites are protein, like human tissue. • Fill a small metal container with raw egg white. • Wet your hand with water, cradle and hold container. Wet hand grounds the HF. • Insert needle into egg white – apply HF. • High HF intensity coagulates at the tip of needle and moves upwards.
TIDS • Variables of Time, Intensity, Depth of insertion and Size needle (TIDS) drastically change how HF cooks tissue. • Human tissue coagulation intensifies, temperatures increase with longer exposure to HF current. • Steaks become hotter and more well-done the longer the pan remains on the fire. • The follicle cooks with longer HF flow! • If we leave the needle in the egg whites longer, the higher temperatures and more intense cooking develops within the pattern closer to the needle.
Intensity Variable • As HF intensity raises, the tissue is cooked faster. • Higher HF intensity causes intense tissue coagulation , as the intensity is increased the larger the heating pattern forms.
Depth: Variable • Most misunderstood variable is needle depth! • A deep needle insertion disperses the HF current over a larger surface areas, causing a slower cooking. • Shallow insertion concentrates the current and causes more intense tissue destruction. • Most common error causes serve damage to the skin in a too shallow insertion.
Size: Variable • Needle diameter greatly affects how HF destroys tissue. • Thin needles produce more cooking than thicker needles. Thin needles concentrate the HF to a smaller areas. • Larger needles concentrate the HF to a greater surface areas. • Many electrologist use too small of a needle size, thus causing over treatment. • Choose a needle the size of the hair!!
TIDS Conclusion • Only you can control the TIDS variable. • Always consider when using HF on a patient!
Moisture Gradient • Moisture Gradient of the follicle helps concentrate coagulation in the lower follicle area, your target! • It protects the upper dermis area! • The blood vessels in the dermis are like a car radiator, it carries the HF heat away!
HF Too Low • Low intensity may be less painful, however the target area is missed! • Upper dermis is coagulated! • HF current used lower than correct blend values results in coagulation in the middle of the needle and progresses upwards. • If the patient feels almost nothing the HF current is too LOW!
HF Too High • Dire consequences can result! • Extreme HF creates a heating pattern that climbs the needle so rapidly that using manual timing is unthinkable. • Fast current rise can result in pitted scars. • Some epilators produce HF levels that are too high!
Flash Method • The Kree company out of New York developed the HF in automatic thermolysis. Known as the Kree Method. • Current is on for ½ second & very high HF. • Nearly all epilators are capable of the so called Flash technique. • High HF produces a narrow heating pattern that rapidly climbs the needle. • High current can produce blistering temperatures, a sizzle, and dry-out the tissue. • Super Flash is the modern version of flash. This method emits HF for a fraction of 100th of a second. Can cause a sparkler effect.
Flash Method Continued • Large to medium hairs require several super flashes at varying depths. • HF Super Flash current is applied at the bottom, middle, and top of the follicle. • Ensures entire follicle is treated!
HF Blow-Out • Dr. James Shuster describes the devastating effect of using ultra high HF as HF Blow-out. • HF Blow-out is when intense HF current converts water in the tissue to steam that blows out of the follicle, • Sizzle is heard as steam escapes from the follicle opening. • The lower follicle fills with non-conductive steam that prevents coagulation of the lower follicle. • Hair Regrows and the skin is Overtreated! • Flash users have been told that the sebum is being cooked. • A puff of smoke, smell of burning tissue, result in the needle drying out the skin with tissue stuck to the needle. • This drastic level of tissue destruction is totally unnecessary.
Manual HF • Correct blend levels of HF are much lower than flash. • Manually controlled. • Low current may flow up to 20 seconds. • Low current creates the preferred broad heating pattern. • Tissue is coagulated; not dried out. • Technician has time to control tissue destruction. • Manual low intensity HF, as in the blend, results in less over treatment!
Measuring The HF • All epilators produce a fixed range of HF intensities. • Measured in voltage. • Average blend epilator produces 0 to 100 volts. • Average flash epilator produces 50 – 300 volts. • Face panel numbers indicate the HF levels, some use meters. • Indicates epilators output only, energy within follicle is not measured as in DC meters.
Receptivity Factor • HF entering the follicle is directly proportional to the amount of moisture in the tissue. • Skin has a “receptivity factor” for HF. • Turn your HF dial to 50 volts, insert needle into leather, nothing happens. Why? • Use same setting on moist young skin and heating tissue destruction occurs. • Each patient has different skin moisture, therefore HF output produces different current levels in each patient and body area.
Follicle Temperature • Level of destruction in the follicle is determined by the temperature achieved in the tissue. • No meter exists that can measure actual temperature in the follicle. • One must rely on well-designed machine output indicators to give idea of temperature produced. • Cell injury can begin at only 105 degrees. • Coagulation of human tissue takes place between 127 degrees to 212 degrees. • Above 212 degrees (the boiling point) tissue is desiccated), deprived of water. • Severe burning takes place at 240 degrees! • Correctly designed blend epilators has HF output that produces only coagulation temperatures. 35 to 90 volts encompass that range in the blend method.
Capacitive Return • HF does not require the use of hand-held ground. • For unknown reasons, radio waves are able to travel from the patient into the air and return to the epilator. • This phenomenon is called “capacitive return”. • Research has shown that certain epilators require less voltage when the hand held ground is used.