All Ballet needles have a tip that is micro-polished to a mirror-like finish. Only a smooth, perfectly shaped needle tip, that allows easy entry in to the follicle, can give you the control that you need. Your clients will appreciate the difference during and after treatments. Compare Ballet directly with other needles and ask your clients for their opinion. You’ll like what you hear!
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Myth: A flexible needle equals a good insertion.
Reality: Good training and a well-made needle tip equal a good insertion. The relative flexibility of the needle is unimportant.
Myth: Flexing during insertion show an incorrect angle of insertion, and nothing else.
Reality: Flexing may show poor insertion angle, or poor tip shape or finish. Whatever the type of needle, the well-trained electrologist will feel resistance and re-direct the needle regardless of the amount the needle flexes. Many electrologists prefer the control of a stiffer needle.
Myth: A stiff needle will pierce the follicle wall.
Reality: Any needle can pierce the follicle wall in the hands of an inexperienced electrologists. However, a sharp or poorly finished needle will pierce the follicle wall more easily than a well-made one. The skill of the electrologist is paramount.
Myth: A flexible needle follows the curve of a “distorted follicle”.
Reality: Even the most “flexible” needle is made of hard, stiff stainless steel. The follicle, on the other hand, is soft, pliable tissue. Work by Dr. James Schuster demonstrates that there is no such thing as the distorted follicle shown in so many popular charts. In any case, the follicle molds itself to the shape of the needle, not vica versa.
Expert electrologists agree that choosing a needle that matches or exceeds the diameter of the hair to be treated will result in the best electrolysis treatment. Knowing which needle to use is something that can come only from experience, however, so some electrologists, especially those fresh out of school, use micrometers to accurately measure the diameter of the hair shaft until they have developed sufficient skill in visual inspection.
Needles first used for electrolysis were much thicker than current ones: They were fine sewing needles or jeweler’s tools, with diameters of .011 inches 2 or more (imagine an F11!). By comparison, the largest diameter needle commonly sold today has a diameter of .006 inches (an F6), just about half that size.
The first needles made specifically for electrolysis were hand ground, and although finer than the sewing needles, they were still thicker than many current ones. Even after two-piece needles were developed, sizes tended to be larger. For example, one manufacturer sold them in Size 3 to Size 8 (.003 to .008 inches).
Today, needles are available in a variety of styles, ranging from Size 2 to Size 6 (.002 to .006 inches).
Why choose a larger diameter needle?
After all, a small diameter needle will fit in even the largest follicle. Why bother with a larger one? The answer centers on two issues: the effects of needle diameter on Galvanic Current, also called direct current (DC), and on Short Wave Current, also known as radio frequency current (RF).
Effects of needle diameter on Galvanic Current
Modern epilators are constant current machines, meaning that they deliver an exact amount of current at a given setting regardless of differences in the skin. The diameter of the needle does not affect the amount of lye produced.
When you use a thin needle, lye is initially produced in a more concentrated area, so pain may be greater. However, when you use a thicker diameter needle, since the needle has more surface area, the DC current will be distributed over a larger area. And that means that the treatment should be less painful.
Further, blend theory notes that the total amount of lye (units of lye) produced in the follicle will determine the destructive power of the treatment. So if the same quantity of lye can be produced over a larger area, one can be assured of maximum destruction in the follicle with the minimum of pain for the patient.
Effects of needle diameter on Short Wave Current
A thin needle is hotter; it creates a larger and hotter heating pattern than a large diameter needle at the same current setting. To produce the same amount of heat to destroy follicle tissue with a thicker needle, an electrologist must use a higher current setting. This higher current setting is nothing to be afraid of; it is necessary to produce the same amount of heat in the follicle.
With the same amount of heat produced, but spread over a larger area, the discomfort will be less. The destruction will be the same or possibly better, because of the wider coverage in the larger follicle.
To destroy a large follicle requires increased amounts of lye or heat, or both. Using a larger diameter needle will allow you to introduce more of either current with less pain to the client. This translates into more effective and comfortable treatments for your clients.
To treat the finest hair, experts suggest a Size 2 or 3 needle. They agree that a needle even two times the diameter of the hair shaft should be able to be inserted without damaging the skin.
If a school does not make larger size needles available, it is not offering the best probes for the treatment of large follicles, nor is it teaching the students to make best use of today’s tools.
One of my favorite electrology teachers likes to ask: “What are the three most important factors necessary for effective electrolysis treatment?” She then answers with a smile: “Insertions, insertions, insertions.” If you are having difficulty placing a Size 2 or 3 needle in a fine follicle, the problem may not be needle size at all. It could be that it’s time for a refresher course in insertions. The large electrolysis school mentioned earlier makes Sizes 3 through 6 available to its students, who hone their skills by learning to make insertions with Size 3 needles, even for the finest hair.
Lastly, electrologists who use only Size 2 needles for all treatments place both themselves and their clients at a disadvantage. The treatments will be less comfortable, a situation that electrologists may try to resolve by lowering the current settings. But by taking that step to lessen the discomfort, they will also provide less effective treatment. On the other hand, there is also a greater risk of overtreatment due to the hot spot caused by the fine needle.
With the background just provided, we can now return to the main question: Why use different sized electrolysis needles?
Regardless of whether you use multi-needle galvanic, blend, or thermolysis, a larger needle will yield a more comfortable heating and/or lye distribution pattern. So match the diameter of the needle to the hairs you are treating. If there is a question, choose the larger of two sizes that the follicle can accommodate.
Contrary to what is sometimes heard, choosing a needle larger (within reason) than the hair shaft does not cause bruising.
To match a needle to a hair, experienced electrologists make the selection by simple visual inspection. As mentioned above, some use micrometers to aid in the job. Interestingly, we have heard from others who began using microscopes in their practices and report that they are using larger diameter needles as they begin to see the hair shaft more clearly – and they are able to see their insertions more clearly as well.
And now I wish you happy follicle hunting!