There are three types of electrolysis needles on the market today. Stainless steel needles, gold plated needles and insulated needles. All three types of needles start with surgical stainless steel as the base. Stainless steel is a blend of metals, including nickel, that provide strength, ductility, and flexibility. Gold needles are stainless steel needles that are coated with thin layer of 24 karat gold. Insulated needles are stainless steel needles that are coated with a polymer layer along the length of the needle, starting at the taper point and down except at the tip. Unlike gold, which is a conductive metal, the polymer layer insulates the needle, so it cannot cover the shank nor the tip of the needle.
Ballet Gold Needles are stainless steel needles that are coated with a very thin later of 24 carat gold. The plating is done via an electrolytic plating process where single atoms of gold are deposited onto the surface of the stainless steel needle to create a smooth, evenly distributed layer. Because gold is more conductive than stainless steel, using gold plated needles can allow the electrologist to either reduce current delivery time, reduce current or reduce the time for their clients.
These reductions in time or current often improve client comfort while enhancing treatment delivery. Gold coated needles are efficient, passing current faster along their surface due to reduced current loss.
Electrolytic Plating of Gold onto Stainless Steel
Electrolytic plating is the process of coating the surface of a conducting material, such as stainless steel, with another metal, in this case gold. The movement of electrons from the anode (gold) to the cathode (stainless steel) causes the positively charged gold ions in the liquid solution to gain an electron at the stainless steel surface, This causes the gold ions to change from positively charged to neutral and deposit on the surface of the stainless steel.
The gold anions in the solution are replenished from the gold metal as electrons are pulled from the neutral gold atom to create a positively charged gold ion, which then dissolves in the liquid solution Since single atoms are deposited onto metal surface, the layer is smooth and uniform.
Advantages of Gold Plated Needles
Gold has higher conductivity than stainless steel. This results in a few differences in how electricity, or more specifically electrons, moves along the surface of the needles. On a gold surface, due to the higher conductivity, the electrons effectively move faster, and have reduced current loss. As a result of this difference, electrologists have shared that they can either reduce the current for a specific treatment, or they can reduce the time of a specific setting. Both of these changes can lead to improvements in client comfort and reduced skin reaction.
In addition to the advantages to the treatment settings, gold is a biocompatible metal and is used in a variety of medical devices such as stents, pacemakers and other implants. Due to this biocompatibility, devices coated with 24 carat gold are less likely to cause skin irritation, thus improving clients' experiences. For clients with sensitive skin, the gold plated needles is much less likely to cause irritation due to this biocompatibility thus potentially allowing electrologists to work on clients for longer periods of time. This is particularly true for clients who are allergic to nickel, and for any client who can only wear sterling silver or 24 carat gold earrings. If this is the case for a client, we strongly recommend that electrologists immediately switch to gold plated needles. The nickel allergy is quite common and we've heard from a variety of electrologists who have shared that they start with gold needles for all clients due to the large number of clients who are allergic to the nickel.
Note: While gold is considered biocompatible and is a great tool for sensitive skin, there is an extremely rare and unusual medical issue where a client may be allergic to gold. Be sure to ask your client about a gold allergy before switching to gold plated needles.
Gold Needle Types
Ballet's gold needles come both F- and K-Shank and in a range of needle thicknesses, from .002 inches (.055 mm) to .006 inches (.150 mm). These needles are primarily used for epilation, although some electrologists use them for advanced electrolysis techniques, depending on state licensing rules. The F3G-tel and K3G-tel needles were developed specifically for telangiectasia and have a sharper point that electrolysis needles in order to effectively pierce the skin. If you have any questions about any of the Ballet Gold Electrolysis Needles, please reach out to us!