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On average, an Australian woman spends $3,600 a year on beauty and grooming. That's around 5% of the average household income. A large part of that goes to hair removal.

Practically since time began, we have been obsessed with removing unwanted hair. In Australia, 95% of women regularly remove their leg and underarm hair.

Ever since the magazine Harper's Bazaar ran an advertisement saying women's body hair was objectionable, we have been shaving, waxing, threading, plucking, and tweezing like crazy! So when bright spark Dr. Charles Michel came up with the idea of electrolysis in 1875, it was bound to be a success.

Strange Beginnings

Believe it or not, Dr. Michel was an ophthalmologist from St Louis. He invented electrolysis purely to remove painful ingrown eyelashes from his clients. However, it really caught on and has the longest and best track record for permanent hair removal.

Electrolysis is used to remove individual hairs from the face and body. Naturally the method has been substantially improved since those early days. It is now considered one of the safest hair removal techniques.

Electrolysis works by destroying the growth centre of the hair with electrical current or chemical heat so that it stops growing. The first step is usually a consultation to work out which areas you would like to target and how many sessions you will need.

No Permanent Side Effects

Treatment involves a very thin needle being inserted into the hair follicle. A tiny electrical current is applied to destroy the hair growth cells. Whilst the word 'needle' can be quite scary, remember it is actually finer than the hair itself, so it's more a case of slight discomfort than pain.

Pretty much your entire face and body can be treated with electrolysis. Generally, there are no permanent side effects, although you may experience a temporary reddening of the skin.

Permanent hair removal requires a few sessions. The total number depends on the individual, as hair growth varies from person to person. Each session lasts between about 15 minutes to an hour. It is usually recommended you return weekly until treatment is complete.

Busting The Myths

Whilst this might sound like a lot of effort, remember this: your unwanted hair will be gone forever once all treatments are complete. That has to be worth a little inconvenience and discomfort.

There are plenty of myths about electrolysis, starting with the one that says it is unbearably painful. As we have already mentioned, it is more slight discomfort than pain. However, if you do find it too uncomfortable, you may be able to have a topical anaesthetic.

Another myth is that temporary hair removal methods are healthier. Whilst many people prefer to use depilatory creams or hot wax to remove hair, they are not healthier. They contain chemicals, and can be irritating to the skin. It's all about personal choice.

Choose A Professional

It's worth noting that home electrolysis kits are available to buy, but they are not recommended. Electrolysis should always be done by a trained professional.

Three types of electrolysis are available around the world. Galvanic electrolysis is a chemical process, with the current creating a chemical reaction in the hair follicle to eliminate hair growth cells. Thermolysis - sometimes called short-wave - uses heat to destroy the cells in the follicle, whilst the Blend method combines galvanic and thermolysis current.

Electrolysis aftercare is easy. Serious complications are virtually unheard of. Your skin may be a little red and tender, but that should disappear within a couple of hours. It's best to avoid things like extreme exercise, excessive sun and make-up for the first 24 hours.

If you feel you could benefit from permanent hair removal, it's easy to find an electrolysis professional here on Bookwell and arrange a consultation.