Why you should stick to a schedule

Due to the way the hair growth cycle works and, how each individual follicle is on its own timeline, hair is constantly shedding from one follicle and starting in another. This is the reason why, even a few days after waxing, you can already start to notice new hair growing in. The only hairs that can safely be targeted by any method of removal are the ones that are growing, not the ones that are currently dormant and could activate tomorrow.

As the hair enters the anagen growth phase, it is at a fragile stage, with the papilla and bulge close together, making treatment more efficient and effective. It is an ideal time to kill the hair in a single treatment while keeping the visible growth to a minimum versus treating a hair in the middle/late anagen phase when the hair is more robust and the inner follicle more spread out.

For a heavy growth area that needs a lot of treatment, typically, we would recommend that the person comes in every week until the hair gets into a manageable state. From that point on, the frequency of the appointments will gradually decrease, going from weekly, to every other week, once a month, etc and/or the duration of the appointments will lesson. The same is true for less dense areas as well. At some point, the person will enter a bit of a maintenance state, where it isn’t really required to schedule an appointment ahead of time, but works better to call and make an appointment once they start seeing hair growing in. Typically, at this point, it becomes a matter of months between appointments, eventually tapering off to all of the hair being completely removed.

If people do not stick to a schedule, there is a high likelihood of hair that could have been treated going into the telogen state and becoming dormant, meaning it could be six months before there is a chance to treat the hair again. Along with that, there is a likelihood of hair that could have been well treated in the early anagen phase passing into the mid-anagen phase, becoming harder to destroy in a single treatment.

At Emancipated Electrolysis LLC, we want to help you permanently remove your hair as fast as possible. For more information about permanent hair removal or to book an appointment, contact us at hairinfo@EmancipatedElectrolysis.com or call us at 585-270-5230 and finally be freed from unwanted hair.

Hair growth cycles

Hair grows in cycles, with each follicle being on its own cycle. There are three stages of growth, anagen, catagen and telogen, as well as a period of time where a follicle can stay dormant.

The anagen phase is the primary growth period of the hair as it exits the dormant stage. The follicle deepens, the hair matrix begins to form the bulb, and over a period of several weeks, the hair emerges threw the skin. In the early anagen phase, the papilla – the organ which nourishes the hair, and the bulge – which contains stem cells that can completely regenerate the follicle, are close together, making this an excellent time to be able to kill the hair in a single treatment. As the anagen phase continues, the hair becomes thicker and more robust. The duration of the anagen phase is what ultimately determines our maximum hair length. Some short hairs are in anagen for as little as six weeks, like with our eyebrows, while others can continue for a period of two to three years, like the hair on our scalp. Despite the fairy tales we are told when we are young, most people can only grow hair to their mid-back (two year cycle) or butt (three year) and it will never get longer than that because the hair cycles to the next phases and ultimately goes dormant again. During this phase, the bulb of the hair will look juicy and full.

During catagen, the follicle slowly begins to shrivel up as the hair prepares for shedding after the anagen growth phase. Typically, the catagen phase lasts for two weeks and the hairs in this phase are notable for being drier with smaller bulbs.

The third phase is the telogen phase, at this point, the follicle has shriveled up in preparation of going back into dormancy. The papilla and bulge are nearby again, making it an ideal time to permanently treat the hair. The hair begins to dry out and the bulb is virtually missing. With the hair no longer firmly pressing along the wall of the follicle, it will simply fall out as the friction that once held it in place is absent. From here, it will go dormant.

While the hair is dormant, it can no longer be treated by electrolysis or laser. In the case of electrolysis, we can no longer see the follicle so it is impossible to place a probe into it to treat it, while with laser, with no melanin present, there is nothing to absorb the light energy to create the heat necessary to coagulate the organs of the follicle. Typically hair can remain in this phase for 6 months, sometimes longer, and hair susceptible to DHT (dihydrotestosterone), the hormone that causes male pattern baldness, may never leave the dormant phase again.

There are hundreds to thousands of follicles per square inch of skin that are dormant and will never grow a hair and this is perfectly normal. How many hairs on our body actually ever reach a growth phase depends on a variety of factors, including our genetic ancestry, hormone levels, and how we treat our skin. Of those that do grow, they individually somewhat randomly cycle on and off, entering and exiting the growth and dormant stages, leaving us with a consistent appearance in our hair at all times if left untouched, barring some systemic event which causes a mass disruption to their normal cycling, such as chemotherapy or alopecia. Understanding these phases and cycles is important to understanding why permanent hair removal is a process and why, even temporary methods like waxing can leave us feeling or seeing new hair growing just days later.

For more information about permanent hair removal or to book an appointment, contact us at hairinfo@EmancipatedElectrolysis.com or call us at 585-270-5230 and finally be freed from unwanted hair.

How long and how much?

These are the two questions that, as electrologists, we hear the most.

The simple truth is, it is nearly impossible to give a specific estimate as to how long it will take to completely remove your hair since there are just too many factors. These factors include your individual pain tolerance, how dense your hair is, how large the area is, whether or not you stick to the treatment schedule, how long your sessions are, fluctuations in your hormones, whether you have treated the hair below the surface in other ways (waxing, threading, plucking, laser/IPL), etc.

What we can say, is typically, you should see a significant reduction within 6 months if you stay on your treatment schedule and that, in 12-18 months, your hair should mostly be gone, with only maybe one or two touchups per year if there is some new, previously untreated hair growing in that you are concerned about. Why does it take so long? Quite simply because you have more hair than what you currently see growing. Hairs will cycle through a dormant resting phase, typically lasting about 6 months, only to re-emerge again later and each hair is on its own, individual timer.

Hair that isn’t there cannot be treated until it starts growing.

If you pluck/wax/thread a hair out, if it remains in the growth phase, it will typically take about 6 weeks to emerge again. If you have done laser or IPL treatment, your hair that wasn’t destroyed may go dormant for as long as two years before it emerges again. These hairs cannot be treated until they are available for your electrologist to remove and the situation was not caused by the electrologist. Unfortunately, the ability of laser to permanently reduce hair is over-promised in advertising and consultations. The FDA declares “permanent” as a year of no regrowth and, again, let me reemphasize that laser is about reduction, not removal, despite the slick marketing.

Ok, so let’s talk numbers. These are not guarantees, but typical lengths of treatment.
Arms/legs: 20 hours
Underams: 10 hours
Bikini: 10 hours
Eyebrows: 3 hours

At Emancipated Electrolysis LLC, we offer reasonably priced sessions as short as 15 minutes long up to 8 hours long, with discounts for longer sessions. For more information about permanent hair removal or to book an appointment, contact us at hairinfo@EmancipatedElectrolysis.com or call us at 585-270-5230 and finally be freed from unwanted hair.

The battle of the bulge

During a consultation for hair removal, the practitioner will likely talk about how destroying the papilla is the key to permanently removing a hair. For a long time, that was the limit of our scientific understanding of how hair grows.

Advancements in medical research and technology now indicate there is a second structure in the follicle we should be concerned about, called the bulge. This is an area near the arrector pili muscle (the muscle that makes a hair stand up when you get goosebumps), which houses stems cells that can cause the entire follicle structure to regrow. Destroying the papilla can result in the destruction of the current hair, but, over time, the stem cells can regrow a new papilla, causing that follicle to resume hair growth, which is one of the reasons why it can take multiple treatments to kill a hair.

With this knowledge in mind, we know why treating hair during the early anagen and telogen stages are more likely to completely kill the follicle, as, during these times, the papilla, located at the terminus of the follicle, is very near to the arrector pili muscle and, thus, the bulge. There are techniques which allow a knowledgeable electrologist to treat both areas at the same time, increasing the likelihood of permanently destroying the follicle in a single treatment, regardless of the stage of growth a hair is currently in.

Although the principles of electrolysis are more than a century old, it is important for an electrologist to stay up to date with the latest advancements in their field if they want to be as efficient as possible. For more information about permanent hair removal or to book an appointment, contact us at hairinfo@EmancipatedElectrolysis.com or call us at 585-270-5230 and finally be freed from unwanted hair.