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”.

1915: an eyelash electrolytic treatment, with the positive electrode on the patient’s cheek.
1906: Electrolysis -galvanic  method- kit, with batteries and electrodes. From “A. B. Moler Barber’s  Manual”, by Arthur B. Moler, Chicago.