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All about Electrolysis


Electrolysis is a safe and medically APPROVED treatment method by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) for PERMANENT hair removal on people of all skin tones, types, and hair types.


Electrolysis works by inserting a fine probe or filament into the natural opening of a hair follicle. A small amount of current is applied to create a chemical or heat energy reaction to destroy the hair root. Electrolysis is a much slower process as the hair follicles are treated individually and treatments are scheduled weekly or bi-weekly.   The total number of sessions will vary from person to person. Factors which may play a role in the number of electrolysis treatments required include the thickness of the hair, underlying hormonal imbalances (including Polycystic Ovary Syndrome - P.C.O.S.), and the previous forms of treatment that have been applied to the area (e.g. plucking, waxing, threading, etc.).



Timing is Everything
Many factors influence hair growth. In order for the hair to be permanently removed, it must be treated while the hair is still attached to the dermal papilla. This occurs in the anagen stage of the hair growth cycle.

Most clients return once a week or every other week as needed. But the unwanted hair will be gone forever once the series of treatments is complete. The length of the treatment is from 15 to 60 minutes depending on the size of the area.

Other Things to Consider
It is important to have an initial consultation with a trained hair removal technician to assess your individual case history. Every client will be on a different treatment program and the technician must take the following points into consideration, as they will affect the treatment process.

• The area to be treated
• Previous history of hair removal
• Medication (Previous & Current)
• Underlying medical conditions
• The age of the person to be treated
• Gender difference/Transgender/Cisgender
• The skin’s texture and moisture level (dry vs. moist)
• The vulnerability of the skin (hyposensitivity vs. hypersensitivity)
• The texture and nature of the hair (coarse vs. fine / straight vs. curly)

Understanding the factors affecting hair growth will enable the client to have reasonable expectations, and assist the client in making the commitment necessary to achieve their desired results.

Skin Reactions and Treatment
Even destroying such a tiny part of the body as a follicle’s mechanism for regrowing a hair will trigger the body’s healing response and nearly all treatment reactions are simply the body’s healing processes in action. Reactions such as redness, swelling or tiny scab formation should be viewed as the actions of healthy skin repairing itself as fast as possible.

Common Treatment-area Reactions
The treatment area is the site on your skin where probes are inserted to permanently remove problem hair.
  • Redness of the skin over the treatment area
  • Swelling of the skin in the treatment area and nearby
  • Small scab formation over some of the hair follicles where probes have been inserted
  • Bruising in or near the treatment area

Treatment-area Reactions in Detail

Redness is caused by blood vessels in the skin expanding to increase blood flow. This helps the body repair damage and remove waste material as fast as possible. This reaction will only last a few hours at most.

Redness can be countered by applying ice packs. It is a good idea to have some at home for use as required. Ice works by slightly numbing the treatment area and by triggering the skin’s natural response to severe cold which is to constrict blood vessels.

Occasionally one or more tiny bruises may appear in the treatment area. These occur when an electrolysis probe affects a capillary (small blood vessel) feeding the follicle.

Expect the bruising to fade over a few days. From feedback from some of our clients, the application of Arnica ointment may speed the process.

Swelling is caused by blood vessels deeper in the skin expanding to increase blood flow. Swelling may actually increase in the period immediately after treatment but disappear within a few hours. It is important not to ignore swelling as, especially in more mature skin, swelling can lead to bruising as fine blood vessels leak under the increased blood pressure.

Swelling will reduce rapidly with the application of ice packs to encourage the blood vessels to contract.  Keep some at home to use as required.

Scabbing is a natural part of the healing process though it is more frequent on dry rather than oily skin. Scabs are a protective “scaffold” over the skin to protect it from infection and to retain nutrients where they are most needed. Removing scabs can lead to infection and a slowing of the healing process. In some cases, removing scabs can result in scarring.

The first time you cleanse the skin after treatment you may find what appear to be scabs coming away from the skin. These are most likely only coagulated oils from treated follicles. It is important that scabs that do not come away, or that reappear after this, are left in place.

Regular application of Recovery Balm will assist in the healing process.

What are the common side effects of electrolysis?

The most common side effect you can expect is redness. This reaction is caused by a dilation and congestion of superficial capillaries.  Also known as erythema, redness is short-lived.  The recommended aftercare is to apply a compress of witch hazel for several minutes to several hours after the treatment.

Redness may be accompanied by a histamine response at the site of the follicle.  This reaction may look like a mosquito bite and is a heat induced or physical urticaria, also described as hives, which appears within two to five minutes of treatment.  This reaction usually subsides within hours of the treatment.

 In a few individuals who have sensitive skin, a slight skin irritation in the form of red spots will appear in the treated area. A minor bruise, localized swelling, tenderness, and some hyperpigmentation may occur, but these side effects are very uncommon and are only temporary.


Does Electrolysis hurt? 

Electrolysis can be uncomfortable and somewhat painful. Some clients opt to purchase a topical numbing cream from the pharmacy to assist with pain relief. You can expect a slight reddening of the skin occurs during or immediately after treatment but this will only last for a short time


Prep Your Skin Before you come to your appointment

  • HYDRATE 24 hours before your appointment! When your Skin and Hair is well hydrated, you get better results and the treatment goes smoother. Drink lots of water!
  • DO NOT SHAVE more than 3 days before treatment or hair will be too short to treat. In order for the needle to follow the hair follicle and more easily remove the hair, there needs to be at least 1/8th of an inch of hair above the surface of the skin. 
  • AVOID plucking or waxing for 2-3 weeks before
  • AVOID sun exposure 48 hours prior to your treatment to avoid dilation of the blood vessel and use sunscreen. 
  • AVOID stimulants such as coffee day of your appointment. This could make you more sensitive to pain. Some female clients have reported more sensitivity during their menstrual cycle and should avoid making appointments around that time. The higher your pain tolerance, the more effective your treatment will be. It is best to work as close to your pain threshold as possible for the most effective treatment.
  • If you are having electrolysis on your face, do not wear any makeup.  Please remove makeup from the face before your appointment.
  • If you are having electrolysis done on your underarms, do not wear any deodorant on the day of the appointment.
  • Your diet can affect your sensitivity. AVOID stimulants like caffeine, chocolate, or sugar on the day of your appointment.
    * Taking a pain reliever thirty minutes before your appointment will make your treatment more comfortable.
    * A topical anesthetic cream such as 5% Lidocaine, Zensa cream, EMLA or 5% "Xylecaine" (we use this brand). may also be applied to the area prior to your appointment. A thick layer of anesthetic cream, no larger than the size of your palm, should be applied to the treatment area. Cover the treatment area with saran wrap to ensure maximum effectiveness of the product. Anesthetic creams can be found over the counter, ask the pharmacist for advice which numbing cream will be the best for you, or by prescription from your health care provider. The numbing cream should be applied to the treatment area 30-60 minutes (as per instructions on the label) before the treatment.
    If you are using 5% "Xylecaine" numbing cream, please apply 5 to 15 minutes prior to treatment.
  • AVOID RETINOIDS. Do not use Retin A, or any topical retinoid for at least 1 week prior to your electrolysis treatment. Accutane should be discontinued for at least 6 months prior to electrolysis. Having electrolysis services done while on retinoids could result in permanent pigment changes and scarring.

While receiving electrolysis treatments, it is very important to be practicing a good skin care routine. Your skin needs to be healthy and well hydrated to get the best results. Using skin care products that will not irritate the skin will help reduce sensitivity and minimize reactions. 

If you have any health conditions that impact your skin, heart, blood, or hair growth you should always consult your physician first.

The following post-treatment care suggestions should be followed for the first 24 hours after treatment.


  • No sun exposure for 24 hours or your skin can hyper-pigment 
  • No cream on treated areas for at least 24 hours
  • No touching the treated area with fingers as this can cause infection
  • No picking scabs. If scabs occur, this is a normal process of the skin healing and you can cause scarring to yourself by picking scabs as the skin is healing.
  • DO NOT tweeze or wax between appointments as you will UNDO the treatment. However, you can cut hair or shave as an alternative.
  • DO NOT use deodorant for 24 hours after if underarms have been treated.
  • DO NOT wash the treated areas with warm water or soap for 24 hours after treatment.
  • In general, avoid any kind of activity that would subject the treated skin to irritating conditions while it is in the healing stage.
  • Keep the area clean with soap and water, witch hazel, hydrogen-peroxide, or other antiseptics.
  • Apply ice to the targeted area to reduce any swelling if necessary.
  • Be advised by your electrologist, apply an antibiotic cream to help minimize infection risk in the treated area.
  • Picking off the scabs also makes the skin take much longer to return to a normal appearance because it interferes with the healing process
  • Do not use any abrasive scrubbing action on the treated areas.
  •  Do not visit a tanning salon or get a sunburn on the treated area for at least a week after the hair removal.
  • If you must wear makeup a light layer of Vaseline is recommended to seal the pores, prevent loss of moisture and to prevent infection from bacteria. You can also purchase medicated makeup.
  • If any reaction occurs which appears related to your electrologist treatment, contact your electrologist for further care instructions.