Galvanic method or Direct current method - in this technique direct current is applied to the root of the hair. The patient holds the negative electrode while the positive electrode is inserted into the hair follicle. The current when passes through the water and salt (NaCl) in the hair root, it gets dissociated into sodium, hydroxide ions, chlorine and hydrogen.
Electrolysis of aqueous NaCl solutions gives a mixture of hydrogen and chlorine gas and an aqueous sodium hydroxide solution (lye). The water when reactions with electric current produces OH ions. 2H2O(l) + 2e– ==> H2(g) + 2OH-(aq) which react with the Na+ ions to form NaOH (Lye). The highly alkaline nature of the lye destroys the germinal layers of the hairs present at the hair root and prevents the regrowth of the hairs.
The chemical reaction that occurs is
|2 NaCl(aq) + 2 H2O(l)
||2 Na+(aq) + 2 OH-(aq) + H2(g) + Cl2(g)|
The hairs are permanently removed. The disadvantage is that it is time consuming as it may require 2 to 5 minutes for the complete electrolysis cycle to complete.
The process of electrolysis was first used for permanent hair removal in 1875 by Charles E. Michel, M.D. who used it to remove ingrown eyelashes in patients with trichiasis.
Since it is the sodium hydroxide, or lye, which is the source of follicle destruction in the galvanic method. The galvanic method is basically a chemical process.
With the galvanic method, the body salts combined with the moisture found in body tissue make a type of salt water solution. The moisture content of this salt water solution is at its greatest concentration deep within the follicle. When the electrolysis current is applied to be inserted needle, the newly manufactured lye causes a chemical decomposition of the hair growing cells to occur. Two electrodes are required for this process to take place. One electrode is the electrology needle, the other electrode touches the patient's body in some location. This "patient electrode" is usually a metal wand held in the patient's hand. The galvanic method kills about 80 percent of the hairs treated.
Efficient Method for Effective Hair Kill
Galvanic Electrolysis is actually a chemical process. Galvanic lye is a chemically unstable compound which provides free radicals to breakdown tissue and allow separation of the follicle wall surrounding the hair. The follicle containing the hair is comprised of some 6 known layers. Galvanic lye (sodium hydroxide) causes a breakdown of the weaker layers and allows the inner-most part of the follicle to be removed. However, the lye continues to work for some time after the hair is removed, facilitating the death of the outer layers and re-growth cells.
Properly applied, galvanic electrolysis will not damage surrounding tissue excessively, nor will it damage the sebaceous glands as galvanic lye encounters difficulty in breaking down the sebum contained in the sebaceous glands.
Mechanism of action of Galvanic technique of Electrolysis on hair follicle
Few Passes Needed
Because of the effectiveness and permanence of galvanic, far fewer passes are needed. Approximately 1/5 to 1/10 as many passes are required to have the same effect as thermolysis (Radio Frequency or Diathermy). With galvanic electrolysis, a significant reduction can be achieved in 3-5 passes over the area. The skin benefits from the reduced collateral damage caused by treating the same area 10’s of times with other methodologies. Also, it should be noted that the precision of the process of galvanic electrolysis is far superior to that of any other method. Utilizing duration of treatment cycle and intensity settings, each hair can be custom treated determined by its size and relative location to other hairs that have been treated.
There are two factors affecting regrowth, which makes galvanic electrolysis the ideal method.
The continuing effect of galvanic lye in the follicle tissue following the removal of the needle. This continued destruction damages the outer follicle wall as well as any material left in the follicle after the removal of the hair itself.
Continued degradation of Sodium Hydroxide (Galvanic Lye) which is chemically unstable, results in the formation of Hydrogen Peroxide which sterilizes the former follicle site and inhibits the germination process of new hair.
O2 + 2 H2O + 2e- = H2O2 + 2 OH-
O2 + 2 H+ + 2e- = H2O2 (Hydrogen peroxide)
The real secret to the power of galvanic electrolysis is the continuing devastation of the hair follicle and germination cells after the needle has been withdrawn.
When done properly, galvanic electrolysis is very gentle on the skin and less damaging to surrounding tissue.
Galvanic lye can ONLY be produced at the surface of the needle itself. The process is very controllable and its precision limits the presence of the lye to within a very small area which heals easily. Redness and swelling are limited to few hours. Retreatments can require as little as 1/2 second of galvanic treatment per hair to effectively kill young emerging hairs. In this case, redness and swelling are gone in just a couple of hours.
With recent changes in the way I work, I have been able to not only produce a treatment that is 5-10 times more effective than ANY Thermolysis treatments with about one half of the discomfort experienced by most modern machines. I am able to treat each individual hair as fast as 3 seconds or in some cases, less. What this has recently shown, is that galvanic is here to stay and, as part of my new system of operation, will ultimately prove out to be the fastest as well as the least damaging process you can choose for your work.
Less Likely to Produce Side Effects
Because of limited action on the outer follicle wall and the surrounding tissue, galvanic electrolysis has the overwhelming advantage of permanence while leaving the skin intact.
The skin’s greatest power is the ability to heal. This is also where other hair removal processes such as thermolysis and laser do considerable damage by disabling the ability of the skin to eject debris by forming scar tissue around the now dead follicle. Encapsulated debris can remain for a lifetime.
There are some very minor side effects of the use of galvanic electrolysis of which you should be aware:
Galvanic current is passing through you. It is recommended not to use Galvanic Electrolysis method with persons with pace maker.
When grasping the metal hand-held part of the galvanic setup, be aware that your hand is producing hydrochloric acid (albeit in small amounts) over the surface of the skin. If you have sensitive skin, this may feel like a very slight burning sensation. The burning can be eliminated by adding baking soda to the water.
Mechanism of Hair Electrolysis if Depicted in this video
Theory of Electrolysis (Galvanic technique)
In pure water at the negatively charged cathode, a reduction reaction takes place, with electrons (e−) from the cathode being given to hydrogen cations to form hydrogen gas. The half reaction, balanced with acid, is:
At the positively charged anode, an oxidation reaction occurs, generating oxygen gas and giving electrons to the anode to complete the circuit:
- Oxidation at anode (positive electrode) : 2 H2O(l) → O2(g) + 4 H+(aq) + 4e−
The same half reactions can also be balanced with base as listed below. Not all half reactions must be balanced with acid or base. Many do, like the oxidation or reduction of water listed here. To add half reactions they must both be balanced with either acid or base. The acid-balanced reactions predominate in acidic (low pH) solutions, while the base-balanced reactions predominate in basic (high pH) solutions.
|Cathode (reduction):||2 H2O(l) + 2e−||→||H2(g) + 2 OH−(aq)|
|Anode (oxidation):||4 OH−(aq)||→||O2(g) + 2 H2O(l) + 4 e−|
Combining either half reaction pair yields the same overall decomposition of water into oxygen and hydrogen:
- Overall reaction: 2 H2O(l) → 2 H2(g) + O2(g)
The number of hydrogen molecules produced is thus twice the number of oxygen molecules. Assuming equal temperature and pressure for both gases, the produced hydrogen gas has therefore twice the volume of the produced oxygen gas. The number of electrons pushed through the water is twice the number of generated hydrogen molecules and four times the number of generated oxygen molecules.
The electrolysis of brine, a water/sodium chloride mixture, is only half the electrolysis of water since the chloride ions are oxidized to chlorine rather than water being oxidized to oxygen. Thermodynamically, this would not be expected since the oxidation potential of the chloride ion is less than that of water, but the rate of the chloride reaction is much greater than that of water, causing it to predominate.
2NaCl + 2H2O → Cl2 + H2 + 2NaOH