Charles Michel, an American ophthalmologist, is regarded as the first professional who used a battery powered needle epilator to treat an ingrown hair (eyelashes) in 1875.
The way that electrolysis is preformed today has changed significantly since Dr. Michel’s first successful permanent removal of hairs. One ingredient remained irreplaceable though and that is the needle, also known as probe or filament.

IMG_7735[2]The needle used in electrolysis has evolved with time primarily in its shape and material.
The purpose of an electrolysis needle is to enable proper insertion and to conduct electricity to the base of the follicle. That is why the needle must not have a sharp point as it may pierce the follicle’s wall during the application. The proper needle has a rounded point to slide easily down the follicle to the root or papilla of the treated hair.

Let’s digress a bit here. Some electrologists prefer to call the needle a “filament”. They argue that the probe used in electrolysis treatments is really not a typical needle; hence, they prefer to call them “filament”. The word filament comes from Latin “filum” and means “thread”. I will continue using the word “needle” in this article to avoid any confusion.

What to look for when choosing the proper needle?
The size and diameter of the needle used during electrolysis treatments is determined by the type and the diameter of treated hairs. The diameter of the needle varies and is measured in thousands of an inch, raging in size of .0002 of an inch, for treatment of very fine hairs, to .006 of an inch for treatment of deep and terminal hairs.

There is one piece and two piece needle; isolated, gold plated and stainless steal needles.
The decision to use a one-piece or a two-piece needle is very much personal preference and usually based on what electrologists are familiar with. Two-piece needle is crafted from two pieces of metal and offers flexibility, sensitivity and ‘feels’ the insertion more. One-piece needle is crafted from one piece of metal and gives a rigidity and robustness.

The insulated needle is suggested for clients with high sensitivity to the discomfort of electrolysis. It is coated with a medical-grade insulation less than one micron (0.00004 inch) thick. This special coating allows smooth insertions and stands up to the longest treatments.
Gold needles are stainless steel needles coated with 24ct, nickle-fee gold. Those needles are on an expensive side and the electrologist ought to calculate it into the treatment price. I would recommend these needles to clients with nickel allergies and a very sensitive skin.
The stainless steel needle is ideal for clients with strong healthy skin who respond well to electrolysis treatments. It is made from stainless steel used in fine surgical instruments.
Regardless of the type and the size of the needle, the needle must be sterile, hypoallergenic and disposable and one that enables the electrologists to achieve optimum effectiveness, safety and client comfort.
I have used Ballet and Sterex needles during hair removal procedures in my practice.

If you have any questions regarding electrolysis and its procedure, do contact me. I will be happy to be at your service.