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Skin Reactions and Treatment

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. A bruise can occur from the pressure of the electrologist’s fingers on the skin, when the electrolysis probe punctures the follicle wall, or when the client has taken aspirin-like pain relievers.  Most bruising will show up immediately and the electrologist should indicate that it might be expected.  Witch hazel is the best treatment for bruising and should be used immediately to enable its astringent action.  A bruise from electrolysis treatment should be gone within 2 weeks.

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 can cause skin reactions

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.

Our electrolysis aftercare advice

What NOT to do:

  • Do not remove the scabs!—It may result in scarring if you remove them. Allow them to fall off naturally. Think of a scab as Nature’s band-aid. This is nature’s way of healing the follicle that we have treated. It acts as a protection against bacteria from entering the skin. It’s not as scary as it sounds. The skin is human’s first natural defense and heals extremely fast.
  • Avoid sun exposure—Avoid exposure to the sun during the first two weeks after treatment. If it is difficult to escape the sunlight, use sunblock. This will avoid the formation of brown pigment spots. Your skin defends itself against UV rays by producing pigment, which will deflect some of the harmful rays. If your skin is injured or traumatised it can overproduce pigment in those areas.
  • Do not use makeup during the first 48 hours—Makeup can lead to infection and pimples. Other cosmetics such as oily, scented or coloured creams, should also be omitted.
  • Avoid creams with alcohol and everything that can irritate the skin for 48h—Do not swim in a chlorinated pool for the first 48 hours following treatment. Also avoid all creams that contain alcohol.
  • Avoid heat and activities that increase blood flow for 48h—Following treatment, avoid activities that stimulate blood flow for 48 hours or longer if the area is still red or irritated. Plus, sweat can cause bacteria to enter the open follicles. We’re referring to sports activities, but also: saunas, hot baths, sunbeds, jacuzzis and steam treatments, as these can also cause pigmentation to develop. Another activity to avoid: stress, try not to have any:). Stress, especially chronic stress, is related to a myriad of health problems. When we’re under stress, our immune system takes a beating, especially the skin. Less stress = faster healing time.

What to do:

  • Cool your face—Not everyone suffers from it, but slight swelling, redness and a burning sensation after electrolysis are normal. When cooling your face, the cold temperature restricts circulation and causes blood vessels to constrict, which prevents further bleeding. Also, the cold temperature offers a numbing effect on the nerves, which plays a key role in reducing swelling and inflammation. It can also help limit any bruising. Make a towel wet and place it in the fridge. When using a cold compress, it is best to alternate between 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off. Dry the face well afterward to avoid dehydration and then use the soothing gel. For the patients that are staying in our Guesthouse: we have a cooling machine in the living room of the guesthouse for your comfort.
  • Use soothing cream— like our Recovery balm, this stimulates a quick recovery. You can use a soothing gel like aloe vera. We sometimes give you a portion of aftercare lotion after treatment. You can buy a tube at the clinic if you want more. Tip: You can store the gel in your fridge to have an extra cooling effect on the skin. You can apply a thin layer of the gel over your face liberally and allow it to dry for at least one hour. You can keep on using the soothing gel in between treatments to hydrate the skin. You can continue to apply it for at least the next 21 days. A well-hydrated skin makes electrolysis more effective, as the water in the skin is the electrical conductor.