Electrolysis medical data

Electrolysis has been clinically proven permanent since 1875. I have included selected articles from the past 140+ years, as well as selected books by practitioners.

Human clinical studies

Michel (1875): First published report of permanent hair removal with galvanic electrolysis. By the widely-accepted inventor of the modality (but see Wagner (1997)).

Bordier (1924): First published report of permanent hair removal with thermolysis, by the inventor of the modality.

Niedelman (1945): Fifteen-year clinical observation of galvanic and thermolysis leads to his preference for thermolysis.

Ellis (1947): Clinical and histological data showing galvanic is more effective than thermolysis.

Peereboom-Wynia (1975): Clinical report of 11 women with hirsutism, with positive outcomes.

McKinstry (1979): Makes a case for destroying the upper follicle to improve electrolysis efficacy.

Verdich (1979): Of 56 women treated, 90% were satisfied, but most found it expensive and slow.

Avnstorp (1982): Describes high regrowth in 11 women with hirsutism after thermolysis. Shows why hirsute women should also have hormone levels checked.

Kligman (1984): A good overview of histologic changes following thermolysis, but comparison to galvanic is considered flawed. The co-author sells a thermolysis machine, which may explain the biased comparison.

Peereboom-Wynia (1985): In a small sample of 9 hirsute women, they found blend faster and slightly more effective (differences not statistically significant).

Richards (1986): Based on 35,000 hours of observation, this clinic found 93% of electrolysis patients improved. See also the 10-year follow-up Richards (1995).

Kobayashi (1987): In 73 patients given 3 to 8 treatments at 2- to 12-week intervals, almost no regrowth was observed in observations 6 to 36 months after final treatment with Kobayashi-Yamada thermolysis.

Richards (1995): A follow-up to the Richards (1986) study cited above. Now with 140,000 hours of observations, the original observations were further confirmed.

Urushibata (1995): Compared blend with plucking in 14 women, with armpits as test site. Plucking did not decrease hairs; blend took an average of 10 sessions over 27 weeks to achieve permanent hair removal.

Gorgu (2000): 12 patients had one armpit treated with electrolysis and the other with alexandrite laser. 14 weeks after final treatment, they reported electrolysis had 35% clearance and laser had 74% clearance.


Lerner (1942): Review of 18 years of thermolysis medical papers. States approximately 200 hairs an hour can be treated with thermolysis.

Goldberg (1965): Recommends thermolysis for hirsutism. See the Goldberg 1985 letter.

Hinkel (1968): Book with first published report of permanent hair removal with blend, by the developer of the modality. Makes case for use of his blend method.

Chernosky (1971): A positive report on thermolysis. See also Chernosky (1987), a letter recommending electrolysis for hirsutism.

Caldwell (1972): A negative report on home electrolysis kits (called electronic pencils in Britain).

Caldwell (1972): A short review on referring patients for electrolysis.

Johnson (1975): Observed epilated follicles regrow for less time at a slower rate.

Mahoney (1976): A brief letter on electrolysis referrals.

Rydahl (1981); This Danish article discusses electrolysis in hospital for hirsutism.

Ridley (1985): A brief comment on the use of electrolysis.

Kobayashi (1985): An overview of the Kobayashi-Yamada thermolysis system with special insulated needles.

Wagner (1985): An excellent overview of electrolysis.

Hobbs (1987): A very good overview of electrolysis.

Kobayashi (1987): Tests showing the effectiveness of insulation used on needles in the Kobayashi-Yamada thermolysis method.

Fogh (1989): Recommends electrolysis to treat hirsutism, noted significant decrease in hair at six months.

Richards (1991): By far the most thorough and useful book on electrolysis. Essential reading for practitioners and consumers seeking in-depth information.

Wagner (1993): This paper outlines their successful university-sponsored electrolysis clinic as a guide for other institutions.

Bono (1994): A very good practice manual that makes a compelling argument for the blend method.

Lasker (1996): Suggests a method for establishing a baseline for evaluation of treatment efficacy.

Wagner (1997): This article looks at the claims that du Villards used electrolysis before Michel.

Wagner (1998): Looks at dermatologist attitudes toward independent non-physician electrologists and laser practitioners.

Richards (1999): A point-counterpoint discussing electrolysis, accompanied by a laser article Bargman (1999)

Gior (2000): A very good book for practitioners summarizing electrolysis basics.

Side effects

Vogt (1973): Reports on the formation of keloid scars following electrolysis.

Blackwell (1977): Instructions on releasing ingrown hairs and subsequent electrolysis treatment.

Petrozzi (1980): Describes a patient in whom flat warts were spread by electrolysis. Shows why abnormal skin should not be treated.

Unknown (1989): This letter discusses electrolysis and blood-borne infections.

Cookson (1981): Claims a woman contracted a heart infection from electrolysis.

Ditmars (1998): Looks at a case of sporotrichosis (a fungal infection) following electrolysis on a patient’s neck.

Dumesic (1997): This well-designed study estimates 1.7% of women under 50 seeking electrolysis have undiagnosed glucose intolerance.