Are There Permanent Hair Removal Procedures?

Laser treatments can reduce the density of hair growth, but it doesn’t remove hair permanently. If you want to get rid of body and facial hair permanently, the only procedure approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration is electrolysis. Electrolysis can be used to describe any process that removes hair permanently, according to the American Electrology Association.


An extremely fine metal probe is slipped into the opening of the hair follicle, after which a tiny current of electricity is applied to the follicle base. This effectively kills the hair’s growth cells. Electrolysis devices can destroy the hair through either chemical or heat energy, says the AAE. An electrologist, the professional who provides this permanent hair removal service, will select his or her preferred method of electrolysis, of which there are three modalities.

Galvanic Electrolysis

During galvanic electrolysis, the electrical current results in a chemical reaction in the hair follicle. explains that galvanic electrolysis makes the salt and water in the skin around the needle produce small amounts of lye (sodium hydroxide). If enough lye is produced, hair growth cells are permanently damaged and the follicle does not grow back.


Also called short-wave electrolysis, this process relies solely on heat. Thermolysis makes the molecules in the skin surrounding the wire probe vibrate, which then creates the heat required to eliminate hair growth cells. Thermolysis may involve using a high-intensity electrical current for a shorter amount of time or a lower current of electricity for a longer amount of time.

Blend Method

The blend method of electrolysis incorporates both aspects of the above modalities. Thermolysis heat makes the lye produced through the galvanic process more effective, which purportedly gives better results. Most professional electrologists recommend the blend method of electrolysis for permanent hair removal.

Ongoing Process

Because the electrolysis method of permanent hair removal tackles one hair at a time, a series of appointments are needed, often over a long period of time for large body parts, such as the back, legs and arms. Electrolysis works for all skin tones and hair colors, but the AAE warns the coarser hairs may grow back and require additional treatments to completely destroy the hair growth cells.

About this Author

Lisa Sefcik has been writing professionally since 1987. Her subject matter includes pet care, travel, consumer reviews, classical music and entertainment. She’s worked as a policy analyst, news reporter and freelance writer/columnist for Cox Publications and numerous national print publications. Sefcik holds a paralegal certification as well as degrees in journalism and piano performance from the University of Texas at Austin.