Michel was practicing in St. Louis, Missouri when he began using a battery-powered needle epilator to treat trichiasis (ingrown eyelashes) in 1869. This direct current powered method was called electrolysis because a chemical reaction in the hair follicle causes sodium hydroxide to form, which damages the follicle. It’s also sometimes called galvanic electrolysis.
- Michel CE. Trichiasis and distichiasis; with an improved method for radical treatment. St. Louis Clinical Record, 1875 Oct; 2:145-148
- Wagner RF Jr, Brysk H, Tyring SK. Revisiting the Michel/Green controversy of 1879: was Carron du Villards the first to use probe/needle electrolysis for permanent hair destruction? International Journal of Dermatology 1997 Dec;36(12):947-51.