Electrolysis - Hamilton Fraser

We can provide cover for electrolysis within your medical malpractice insurance policy if you have the relevant qualifications to perform this treatment.

If you are looking for insurance to cover electrolysis, please contact the team on 0800 634 3881 or email cosmeticsales@hamiltonfraser.co.uk.

Who does Hamilton Fraser cover for electrolysis?

Hamilton Fraser provides electrolysis cover for doctors, nurses, dentists, beauticians (NVQ level three in general beauty or equivalent beauty qualification), dental therapists, dental hygienists, dental nurses, pharmacists, paramedics, operating department practitioners and physiotherapists.

What is electrolysis?

Electrolysis is the science of permanent hair removal where a miniscule amount of electricity is gently applied to the base of the hair follicle. This process destroys the hair growth tissue and permanently destroys the regenerative ability of the hair follicle.

The term electrolysis is used to describe all methods of permanent hair removal and was first used to remove hair permanently in 1875. Medical electrolysis devices permanently eliminate the hair growth cells with heat or chemical energy, and there are numerous modalities available. Electrolysis can also be used to remove skin lesions and thread veins amongst other skin concerns.

What types of electrolysis are there?

There are three types of electrolysis, including:

● Galvanic – the galvanic method uses a chemical reaction to destroy the hair follicle with a direct electrical current which moves from one pole to the other in one direction

● Short wave diathermy (SWD) – also known as ‘thermolysis,’ ‘high frequency’ and ‘radiofrequency’, this method uses an alternating current that creates heat at the root of the hair to destroy the blood supply and area of growth

● Blend – the blend method uses a combination of SWD and galvanic currents

How does electrolysis work?

The electrolysis machine works by passing a tiny amount of energy into each hair follicle using a fine needle (usually thinner than the hair being treated), which disables the follicle and causes the hair to fall out.​ The base of the growing hair is then damaged, which cuts off the blood supply and nutrition to the hair, preventing any new growth from developing. The technique is very selective and is unlikely to damage surrounding tissue.

What is electrolysis used for?

Electrolysis can be used to treat numerous aesthetic concerns, including:

● Hair removal on the body and face

● Thread veins

● Blood spots

● Spider naevus

● Skin tags

● Milia

Who should not have electrolysis?

Electrolysis is not suitable for patients with active skin infections, keloid scarring, haemophilia, patients using anticoagulants (blood clotting medication), or patients who have undergone facial plastic surgery within the past six months.

Is electrolysis permanent?

Electrolysis is a permanent treatment – as electrolysis permanently destroys the growth cells in the hair follicles, the hair will not grow back.

What happens during an electrolysis treatment?

Firstly, an initial consultation and skin examination will take place to make sure the patient is suitable for the treatment.

During the treatment, the patient will be positioned comfortably while lying down and the practitioner will apply a disinfectant solution to the treatment area. An ultra fine needle will be placed down the hair to the root, and a short burst of electric current should then be applied to the root, with tweezers used to remove the treated hair. Each hair should not take more than 15 seconds to be treated and the same process should be repeated for every individual hair. Once complete, the practitioner will then usually apply some soothing lotion to close the pores and ease any discomfort.

Most patients experience some degree of pain with electrolysis, as a fine needle or probe is inserted into each hair follicle to destroy it. The degree varies depending on individual skin sensitivity, area of body being treated, personal pain threshold, and hair quality. Some patients may feel a mild heat sensation, and some experience a plucking or tweezing-like pain. A number of sessions over a period of time are required for a full electrolysis treatment.

What are the risks, potential complications and side effects of electrolysis?

Electrolysis is generally a very safe procedure. Most side effects of electrolysis are mild but may include redness, swelling, blisters, scabs, dryness, ingrown hairs and skin edema. These are temporary side effects and should disappear in a few days.

Is electrolysis available on the NHS?

If patients have a formal diagnosis and have unwanted facial hair, the NHS may provide funding for some electrolysis or laser hair reduction. However, without a formal diagnosis, patients will need to pay for treatment.

What is the recovery time from electrolysis?

Most patients experience one to two weeks of recovery time following an electrolysis procedure. Scabbing tends to develop within one to two days and resolves within two weeks. For the first 24 hours after the treatment, patients should try to avoid activities that may irritate the hair follicles, including:

● Anything that causes sweating

● Tanning

● Staying out in the sun

● Applying makeup

What training is required to perform electrolysis?

Practitioners need to attend electrolysis training from a reputable provider before treating patients. A typical electrolysis training course will include:

● Treatment planning and client consultation

● Types and structure of the hair

● Anatomy and physiology

● Skin, blood and lymphatic circulation

● Reproductive and endocrine system

● Theory of electric currents

● Treatment techniques and practical skills

● Side effects and risks

● Legislation, hygiene and sterilisation

● Aftercare

Who can perform electrolysis?

There are numerous electrolysis training courses in the UK, which are available to healthcare professionals as well as beauty therapists. Practitioners who want to perform electrolysis are required to have an electrolysis licence granted by the local authority in the area which they operate from.

What Hamilton Fraser policy conditions should practitioners be aware of?

In the event a client is performing an electrolysis treatment on a patient aged between 11-14, the excess will increase to £1,500.00.

Electrolysis claims: example scenarios

As with any treatment, all known side effects must be explained to the patient in the consultation and the patient must sign a consent form which outlines that they understand the risks, prior to the procedure.

Although minor side effects from electrolysis, such as slight redness, are quite common, they tend to go away within a day. Pain and swelling and more severe side effects are very rare. For this reason, we don’t tend to receive claims for electrolysis. However, one potential claim scenario is if a patient were to experience an infection from unsterile needles. If this were to happen, the client would be held liable for not storing or cleaning the equipment in the correct way. The patient could also decide to report the client to their governing body, and if this occurs an investigation would be opened.

Claims top tip: Always follow manufacturer’s guidelines on storing your equipment and products. If you are unsure about anything or this information is not mentioned in the guidelines, give the manufacturer a quick call. It is always better to be safe than sorry, for the sake of both you and your patients.