By the Division of Professional Licensure

Board of Registration of Cosmetology and Barbering

Electrologists perform services for consumers through the permanent removal of hair from the body. Electrolysis involves the application of an electrical current through a needle to the hair follicle. The Board of Registration of Cosmetology and Barbering protects the public through regulation of the practice in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in accordance with the statutes and Board regulations and code of conduct.

The Board issues licenses to practice as qualified electrologists and qualified instructors when applicants meet the Board's education and experience requirements and pass a Board administered examination. The Board also licenses schools of electrology after inspection and approval.


Electrology is the science of permanent hair removal utilizing only solid needle/probe devices. A fine sterile needle/probe is inserted into the hair follicle and a small amount of electrical energy is discharged which destroys the hair growth tissue. When this is competently and skillfully accomplished, the regenerative ability of the hair follicle is permanently eliminated.

There are three different methods (modalities) used to accomplish this:

  1. Short Wave: A high frequency radio energy, which sets up a rapid oscillation or vibration in the cells of the follicle producing heat. Using this method, the hair tissue is then cauterized.
  2. Galvanic: The Galvanic Method uses direct current to produce sodium hydroxide in the follicle, which then chemically acts to annihilate the hair tissue.
  3. Blend: The Blend Method combines both the Short Wave and Galvanic modalities and, with the oscillation of the high frequency radio energy, produces heated sodium hydroxide to destroy the hair tissue.

Choosing an Electrologist

Many people find an electrologist through the Yellow Pages of local directories that contain valuable information regarding professional credentials. Sometimes, family and friends can make excellent recommendations. Also, one can ask a physician who is familiar with electrology for a referral. Consider the following when choosing an electrologist:

  • The electrologist should be a graduate of a qualified school of electrology.
  • The office should be clean and private.
  • During the consultation, your questions should be answered courteously and professionally.
  • You should never have the feeling that a hair is being tweezed during treatment. Only in unusual cases is it possible to feel the hair leave the skin.

What to Expect

Electrolysis is a safe, permanent process of hair removal that can be applied to anyone. Men and Women can both benefit... If you feel that unwanted hair is in any way a nuisance or an embarrassment, then electrolysis definitely for you!

One of the greatest fears of someone considering this process, is that there is pain involved. Although there may be some discomfort, this varies with the individual undergoing the treatment.

Electrolysis continues to be a safe and effective method of permanent hair removal. It is perfectly normal for some slight reddening and/or swelling to occur in the area of treatment. This usually subsides quickly. Occasionally, tiny eschars, which are a natural part of the healing process, may also appear. Left undisturbed, these too, quickly disappear.

Your electrologist may recommend the use of an antibiotic cream or antiseptic lotion to enhance the healing process. Cosmetics should not be used for the first 24 hours after treatment. Sunlight and tanning beds deserve special consideration and should be discussed with your electrologist.

When you contemplate the cost of electrolysis, consider what a lifetime of creams, razors and waxing will cost. Consider, too, the countless hours lost pursuing a temporary result. Electrolysis is clearly the best and most cost-effective solution.

Today's fees are flexible enough to fit most budgets. Never take chances with your health. Competent, professional service is well worth the cost.

In choosing an electrologist take as much care as you would in selecting a doctor or dentist or any personal service.

What to Look For

When looking for an electrolysis office consider the following:

  • Is the office well lit, ventilated, clean, orderly and sanitary?
  • Is the electrolysis equipment in good condition?
  • Are all medicated creams, lotions and sterilizing solutions labeled as to their contents?
  • Are clean towels stored in a closed cabinet or drawer?
  • Are there separate covered containers for soiled disposable and/or reusable materials?

Filing a Complaint

While the majority of licensees conduct themselves as true professionals, the Division of Professional Licensure will take action against those who fail to maintain acceptable standards of competence and integrity.

In many cases, complaints are made by dissatisfied consumers - but, dissatisfaction alone is not proof of incompetence or sufficient grounds for disciplinary action.

If you have a serious complaint against a licensed electrologist, call or write the Division's Office of Investigations and ask for a complaint form. Or download a copy of the complaint form pdf format of Application for Complaint Form

Division of Professional Licensure
Office of Investigations
1000 Washington Street, Suite 710
Boston, Mass. 02118
(617) 727-7406