The Eyelash Electrolysis
“In 1869, I devised and had made a delicate electro-cautery, with which I propose destroying the follicle and the hair papillae”. Trichiasis and distichiasis, with an improved method for radical treatment, St. Louis Clinical Record, Oct. 2 1875, by Charles Michel. “The agent employed is electricity, (a constant current battery of 8 to 20 medium sized cells is all-sufficient) the form, electrolysis. I simply pass a fine, gilt needle into the hair follicle and allow the current to produce, then, the electrochemical decomposition of it and its papillae”.
(Michel, 1897, as reported in Wagner, Brysk, & Tyring, International Journal of Dermatology, 1997).
As described by the eyelash electrolysis creator, Charles Michel (1833-1913), an American ophthalmologist from Missouri, the method was developed while trying to remove ingrown eyelashes from patients with trichiasis, which could cause damage to the eyes or blindness. Later was extended to remove eyebrows and all kind of facial and body undesirable hairs. At the beginning only the galvanic method was used, killing the matrix cells in the ocular papilla with sodium hydroxide formed by chemical electrolysis due to a continuous electrical current, leaving the follicles incapable of re growing hair. Later another method called “thermolysis” was also used; it works heating the hair matrix cells at 118º F, killing them by electro coagulation.
Actually, the Food and Drug Administration still only recognizes the effectiveness of the electrolysis method for permanent depilation, declaring that the hair laser removal, developed in 1990s, only can claim “to reduce hair growth, not permanently remove it”.