Electrolysis is not a new procedure. The first documented use of electrolysis was in 1875 by Dr. Charles E. Michel. But Dr. Michel did not initially use this innovative technology for hair removal. Rather, he used it to treat ingrown eyelashes [source: American Electrology Association].
Types of Permanent Hair Removal
Fortunately the phrase "no pain, no gain" doesn't necessarily hold true when it comes to long-term hair removal treatments. There are some that are considered fairly painless, while others may cause some temporary discomfort. The good news is that you have more than one option. The two permanent hair removal treatments most commonly used today are laser hair removal and electrolysis.
Laser hair removal is the removal of unwanted hair through a pulse of light that destroys the hair follicle. This method is most effective on patients with darker hair and lighter skin, because melanin -- the pigment that gives hair its color -- absorbs the laser light [source: American Academy of Dermatology]. During such treatments, you may experience discomfort that ranges from a mild sting to feeling like your skin has been snapped with a rubber band. Typically, you should expect to undergo several treatments per year. How much hair growth is reduced over time varies from person to person.
If you don't like needles, you may want to stick with laser hair removal. Electrolysis is a bit more invasive. It removes unwanted hair by inserting a probe, or needle, into the skin to destroy the hair follicle. There are also different methods used in electrolysis. With the galvanic method, the hair follicle is destroyed through the use of a chemical. In the thermolytic method, heat destroys the hair follicle [source: WedMD]. Results vary depending on the person and skill of the hair removal specialist. As for how it feels, patients report anything from wincing to shrieking during the procedure. That's why hair removal specialists often use a mild anesthetic to numb the area and ease the pain.
Now that you're running your hands over your legs wondering if fabulously smooth skin is worth the temporary discomfort that goes along with permanent hair removal, you'll want to read on to find out just how effective laser hair removal and electrolysis can be.