What are the Real Side Effects of Electrolysis?

Electrolysis is an invasive procedure that involves inserting a fine needle into the the hair follicle and applying a small amount of electric current over a very short period of time.  

While the procedure generally isn't typically very painful (although some discomfort can be felt), there are usually some longer term side effects of treatment.  Here are the more common side effects:-

Common Electrolysis Side Effects

The amount and severity of the side effects that you experience with electrolysis depends largely on the sensitiveness of your skin, the duration of the session and the density of the hair in the patch that's being treated.  

Most people experience one or more of the following systems following a session of electrolysis:-​

  • Redness for up to a few hours after treatment (rarely longer than a day)
  • Red dots on the treated area (usually only last a few days)
  • Rarely small scabs may appear on the treated area (usually lasts up to 1 week)
  • Localised swelling (for most people these usually look like insect bites, although for the rare few that react badly to electrolysis, this can cause large raised bumps on the surface of the skin).
  • Acne breakouts (usually caused from skin insensitivities and disappears within a week)
  • Skin dryness (sometimes the reaction from the electrolysis can leave the patient with dry skin - a simple aloe gel is your best line of defence against this side effect)

Expert tip: If you find that you're suffering from long term side effects then you may wish to consider using some kind of anti-inflammatory drug or an antihistamine before your treatment. 

Rare Electrolysis Side Effects

In some cases, you may experience some of the following less common symptoms from electrolysis:-

Permanent Scarring and Pitting

In some rare cases you may find that the electrolysis procedure has damaged your skin enough to form severe scabbing, which may then over time progress into a scar.​  In some cases, the scars may take 6-12 months to fully show themselves on your skin.

The two most common reasons for permanent scarring are over treatment of a certain area or using a setting that's too strong for the customer.  This is one of the reasons why it's really important that you do your homework when looking for a good electrologist.

Expert Tip: If you find that you have permanent scarring from your electrolysis session you should consult with a dermatologist about using Alpha-Hydroxy Acids, chemical peels or laser skin resurfacing as viable methods of improving the affected area.

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