Electrolysis is the process of destroying hair follicles, typically with a mild electric charge. This practice is done in clinical settings and requires a tiny needle-like probe to be inserted into the skin next to the hair to deliver the charge. Home electrolysis kits that send a charge down into a hair follicle through tweezers clamped onto the hair have been available for several years. An electrolysis roller, however, is a handheld device that can be rolled over the skin much like a shaver. Through the use of a gel to conduct the mild electric charge, the roller is supposed to remove hair by destroying the follicles several at a time rather than individually.
The electrolysis roller device is generally small and handheld, resembling an electric shaver. A special gel called conducting or conducive gel should be included or available for purchase separately. This gel is spread on the skin and designed to help the electric charge carry from the device to the skin and into the hair follicles. The electrolysis roller is then slowly moved over the gel-covered skin, delivering the mild charge designed to stop hair growth.
Tweezers are typically included in kits as well, as the act of using the electrolysis roller will not remove the hair. It is designed to damage and destroy the hair follicles, but the hair will remain in place until removed. Waxing may also be recommended by the manufacturer to speed the process of hair removal. Waxing and tweezing, or some other method that pulls the hair out rather than cuts it off at skin level, typically are recommended so the user can more easily monitor hair regrowth. Use of the electrolysis roller should be painless, but tweezing and waxing may cause mild discomfort.
Electrolysis done by a qualified electrologist has been practiced clinically for many years and can eventually result in the desired permanent hair loss. Even when done properly in a clinical setting, however, electrolysis does not always prevent hair regrowth the first time it is done. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lists electrolysis as a permanent method of hair removal when done clinically, but states that there is no evidence that home electrolysis kits actually work. There is very little information available about the efficiency of the electrolysis roller specifically, as it is a fairly new entry into the field of home electrolysis products. The use of such a device is far less invasive than clinical electrolysis, but it may not provide the results that multiple electrolysis sessions with a professional typically do.