This involves the use of a direct current (DC), which creates a chemical reaction at the base of the hair follicle. The mains AC current is converted to a DC current by the use of a bridge rectifier. The current is conducted to the client’s skin by means of a negative and a positive electrode. The negative electrode is the probe that is inserted into the hair follicle, while the positive electrode, wrapped in moistened material is either held in the client’s hand or strapped to their upper arm or
back. The use of two electrodes completes the electrical circuit.
Insertion of the probe causes the current to flow. This produces sodium hydroxide (lye) or caustic soda,caround the probe, destroying the base of the hair root and follicle. A current of 0.2 milliampere (mA) for a period of one minute may be required.
Galvanic epilation is slow but effective. Little reaction occurs on the skin’s surface, but the size of the probe dictates the pain felt. The smaller the probe, the more concentrated the area at which the caustic soda is produced.
Galvanic epilation was first introduced in the 1870s when a multi-probe treatment was performed with all hairs receiving the same length and intensity of current. It is a far slower method of treatment but in some instances can achieve a better result. For example, distorted follicles, very strong hair growth or curly follicles can all be treated successfully.