In an ideal world, electrolysis would be a one and done affair, but the cycles of hair growth make that an impossible dream. The fact is follow up is a key component of the treatment process whether you are undergoing electrolysis or laser hair removal. Multiple treatments of the same area are required to ensure that you remain smooth.
Hair does not all sprout out at once, and nor do we shed our hair all at once. There are 3 phases that a hair goes through in a cycle.
Anagen is a period of active growth, beginning at the moment the inactive follicle “comes to life” and descends to the papilla. This state ends when the dermal papilla ceases to nourish the hair, at which time the hair comes loose from the papilla. This is the first phase of each cycle and it involves a complete rebuild of the lower half of the follicle. At the beginning of Anagen the hair germ cells, which extend downward from the base of the remaining follicle structure in a solid column called the dermal cord, proceed to multiply by mitosis and grow in width and depth in to the subjacent dermis. Meanwhile at the tip of the cord a rounded depression is formed, into which have gathered the basic dermal papilla cells. This structure continues in its downward direction, the cord giving rise to the growth of the entire follicle, while the papilla cells blossom in to the life-giving papilla. The lower part of the cord develops into a bulb which encases the papilla. Not until the hair has grown approximately half an inch beyond the surface does the follicle cease to expand downward.
During Catagen the lower half of the follicle degenerates and the cells undergo a “retrograde morphogenic transformation”, which is a complete reversal of the growth process. Once a certain period of growth, the Catagen stage begins. The papilla suddenly separates and withdraws from the matrix. As it rises, the hair is still rooted somewhat in the follicle walls, and continues to be sustained in its growth by whatever nourishment is available from this secondary source. However, the collapse of the papilla initiates a degeneration of the follicle structure, causing undifferentiated cells to move inward into the area of the lower follicle. The period of time in which a follicle is in Catagen is extremely short. A very small percentage of hairs on any given area are in the Catagen stage. Frequently, a follicle goes through this stage so rapidly that the follicle has no time to collapse. In such cases a new hair begins to emerge from the base before the club hair has been shed. This is how we get two hairs in one follicle, one firmly anchored to the base of the follicle, the other lodged in the upper portion of the follicle.
Upon the completion of the Catagen stage, the upper portion of the follicle usually rests until stimulated to begin a new cycle. This period of rest is the Telogen stage. At this stage there is no remnance of the papilla and bulb and the hair is ready to shed.
This is why it is vital that a schedule with your electrolysis be obtained and maintained to obtain the desired results.
Information referenced from the Electrolysis Society of Alberta: http://www.onlineesa.com/ and Electrolysis Thermolysis and the Blend: The Principles and Practice of Permanent Hair Removal by Arthur Ralph Hinkel