Electrical stimulation is widely used for pain relief, muscle stimulation and healing purposes. The surface of the skin is a poor electrical conductor; therefore the electrical stimuli are generally administered via special conducting pads. If a big area is to be treated, for example the scalp, this method would be very unpractical particularly in the presence of hair, as the conducting pads would have to be repositioned constantly. For this reason a form of flexible electrical contact is required, which can be moved around freely while overcoming the poor electrical properties of the skin’s surface.
The electrical conductivity of dry skin changes progressively from being a near perfect insulator at its surface to a very good conductor when approaching the core of the physical body. Placing two adjacent electrically conducting electrodes with opposite polarity onto the skin will allow a stimulating current to flow reliably from one electrode to the other, provided some kind of moisturizing cream is used. This will cause the major component of the electrical stimulus to flow along the surface of the skin without reaching the bottom of the hair follicles, which are several millimeters below the surface. Any product trying to stimulate the skin via two metallic probes in close proximity is not a good idea for follicle stimulation, even more so if it is done in the presence of existing hair which acts as a perfect insulator.
The above limitation can be overcome If one electrode is placed at a fixed position far away from the treated area and another movable electrode is used to treat the affected area. However, the problem of penetrating the insulating surface of the skin remains. Some cosmetic equipment manufacturers use this approach for skin rejuvenation but the required high voltage would make this an uncomfortable procedure for scalp treatment.
This leads to the ultimate solution whereby the electrical stimuli are communicated capacitively to the skin. By placing an insulating material on the surface of the skin, while applying a time variant voltage on the other side of the insulator, an electrical current will flow into the skin. By correctly choosing the insulating material, its thickness, its contact area and the electrical source, an optimal combination can be found. As the other larger electrode is far away from the scalp, it virtually connects to the core of the physical body and therefore the electrical impulses go deep into the skin, providing adequate stimulation for the hair follicles right down to the hypodermis without using any special contact cream.
The required voltage for the latter process is high enough to cause corona discharge, which needs skilful design of the device for it to be approved by the regulatory authorities. The very short electrical pulses generated by the equipment cannot activate muscle contraction. The stimuli are felt as a very gentle massage and are completely safe.
The above principle, which is now embodied in a commercially available product, cannot be ignored by anybody dealing with hair loss. It is one of the most effective ways of stopping hair from falling out. A small study has shown that about 40% of the participants were getting excellent results with hair re-growth, while the rest experienced varying degrees of benefit. All participants experienced the cessation of hair loss. This result exceeds the expectations of other natural hair loss remedies. Electrical scalp stimulation does not only work well on its own but can be used beneficially in combination with other hair loss treatments.