Some electrologists suggest shaving between treatments; others disapprove completely. Who is right? Which practice is the best? Well, let's try to find answers to these questions!
Before starting the debate, it is essential to review the different hair development phases. The life cycle of a hair consists of four distinct phases: the anagen phase, the catagen phase, the telogen phase, and the exogene phase. There are also three types of hair: lanugo, vellus, and terminal.
Lanugo hair is a fine down which grows on the body of the foetus and which is less abundant on the newborn baby. As for vellus hair, it is very fine, usually with almost no pigmentation (even without it sometimes). It is located in the pilosebaceous unit that is in the lobe of the sebaceous gland. This kind of hair will never become terminal unless there is topic traumatism (plucking, shaving) or a systemic condition (disorder, sickness, etc.).
According to medical research, vellus hair goes through the same phases as terminal hair and can take up to two to three months before growing back. Clinical studies indicate that it is possible to obtain excellent results on vellus hair during an electroepilation treatment even during the telogen phase.
Remember that when you treat the median part of the upper lip (fine, virgin hair, very superficial follicle), you can have results after only one or two treatments, if, of course, the following conditions are met:
1. a perfect insertion technique, which means a superficial insertion according to the depth of the hair follicle
2. the right adjustment parameters, which means a very short period of time, in thousandths of a second and an average intensity between 50 and 70 percent.
The most controversial… the anagen phase. It is the phase where the stem cells reproduce by mitosis. The mitosis activity is intense in order to produce a new hair and grow a follicle. The growth time during the anagen phase depends on several factors such as: age, sex, body area, race, heredity, hormones, and relative to hair follicles, on the number of androgen receptors and hormones.
Each follicle that produces hair has its own growth time variation. The anagen phase consists in three steps described as follows: the early anagen phase, the median phase, and the late anagen phase.
A. At the early anagen phase, the follicle is not as deep and distorted. The bulb is very easy to reach and is located near the bulge.
(Ref.: Gior. Gino. Modern Electrology)
B. The median growth phase contains all the germ cells necessary for hair growth. Since the follicle is deeper and hydration is at its maximum, it is the best time to perform thermolysis techniques.
C. At the late anagene phase, the bulb reaches its characteristic form. It ages, starts dehydrating, keratinizing, and gradually detaches itself from the papilla and follicle external sheath. It is slowly growing into the catagen phase.
There are three reasons why an electrologist should remove hair during the early anagen phase:
1. to be able to reach the bulb in the case of naturally curly hair
2. to be able to reach the bulb in the case of a distorted follicle (the hair was pulled out without considering in which direction it was growing)
3. to better reach the papilla and the bulge, which are close to each other at this phase
We know that it is very difficult to insert a probe in a distorted follicle in the late anagen phase. In such a case, the effectiveness of the treatment is minimal since it is almost impossible to reach the papilla. Most of the time, there is a resistance when pulling the hair or the current simply cuts the hair. Finally, the same hair can cause folliculitis or reappear in the late anagen phase or even in the catagen phase. Since at the early anagen phase, the hair is less distorted and not as deep, we are sure to reach the bulb without difficulty and to obtain better results whatever technique is used.
Also, according to recent research on human follicles, it has been demonstrated that the bulge as well as the bulb contain germ cells responsible for hair growth. So, to permanently remove hair, both areas have to be destroyed, and the best way to do so is during the early anagen phase.
Director of the Dectro International Training Institute in Montréal, Mrs. Lévesque is actively involved in the development of new electrolysis and aesthetic application techniques with Dectro International. With more than 20 years of experience as a professional electrologist and aesthetician, and more than 10 years as an instructor in these fields, Mrs. Lévesque contributes each year to the training and advancement of numerous electrologists across the world. Mrs. Lévesque is regularly travelling to international conventions to assist Dectro International world-wide distribution network and to lecture at specialised seminars on new techniques and technologies discovered for the benefit of electrologists and aestheticians.