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Since many people today find excess facial or body hair unattractive, numerous convenient and affordable methods of hair removal are available. A chemical compound called a depilatory is sometimes used to dissolve the hair, but it has the potential to irritate the skin and often has unpleasant odors. Shaving, or cutting the hair close to the skin with a blade or razor (one of the most popular methods of controlling body hair), can lead to skin cuts, chafing, and ingrown hairs. With waxing, a warm wax is applied to the area where hair is to be removed. A piece of cloth is then placed on the wax and ripped off quickly, ripping out the attached hairs. Sugaring is based on the same principle, but is said to be safer since it uses a cool solution instead of hot wax. Both sugaring and waxing can lead to increased skin sensitivity and ingrown hairs. With tweezing, the hairs are plucked individually with small forceps. This is usually more effective for small, delicate areas of the body, such as the eyebrow area, where other hair removal techniques might be dangerous or less effective. Shaving, sugaring, waxing, and tweezing have all been used to provide temporary solutions for hairiness, but these methods only cut or temporarily remove the hair; they do nothing to prevent future growth. Electrolysis is the only method reported to remove unwanted hair permanently, and when performed by a professional electrologist, it can be safer than many chemical products and other treatments.

The practice of electrology began in 1869, when Dr. Charles E. Michel, a Missouri ophthalmologist, used a probe and electric current to remove ingrown eyelashes for his patients. In the early 1900s, the multiple-needle technique for galvanic electrolysis was developed. Around the same time, Dr. Henri Bordier, of Lyon, France, developed the method of thermolysis, or electrolysis, using short waves and a high frequency. Improvements throughout the years have led to safer treatments. A current trend in electrology is the development and use of computerized equipment that delivers a safer and more reliable electrical charge. Disposable needles and other materials are also becoming the norm. Improvements in equipment and more stringent standardization procedures for certification of machinery and operators are making electrolysis safer and more accessible to all.