Electrolysis (in medicine)


ELECTROLYSIS, in medicine, is the destruction of tissue by an ionizing electric current. Most commonly it is used to remove excess hair, but it is also often used to remove certain skin lesions, including dilated blood vessels at the skin surface.

For removing hair, an extremely fine platinimi wire, serving as a negative eleetrode, is passed along a hair shaft down into the bottom of the hair follicle, approximately 0.10 to 0.15 inch (3—4 mm) below the skin surface. There it comes in contact with the tiny nest of cells, the hair papilla, which has produced the present hair and which would produce ali subsequent hairs growing from that particular follicle. The current is then gradually turned on, and after 5 or 10 seconds the papilla is destroyed. The hair is then pulled out easily.

There is very little discomfort during the process, and anesthesia is not necessary. In electrolysis, unlike shaving or the use of a chemical depilatory, hair will never grow from that follicle again, and if properly done there will be no scarring.

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