What is electrolysis?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Electrolysis is a process in which electrical currents are used to create a change. It’s commonly associated with a cosmetic medical procedure that stops hair from returning.

In the medical field, electrolysis prevents the growth of new hairs. The electrical current enters the hair follicle through a probe resembling a pen and zaps the follicle, killing the area where new hairs sprout. It’s a popular method of permanent hair removal on the face, legs, and bikini area.

Electrolysis is also used in scientific fields like chemical engineering. The use of electric current spurs chemical reactions. It can separate different elements; for example, electrolysis can separate the hydrogen and oxygen in water. Through history, it has also been used to discover calcium, lithium, and other chemical elements.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team