Side Effects of Electrolysis


Electrolysis involves inserting tiny needles into the hair follicle and emitting a mild electrical current to damage and destroy the hair follicle. Often regarded as permanent hair removal, electrolysis greatly retards the growth of new hair in the affected area, but does not totally eradicate the hair. Side effects are generally mild and subside within a few days with minimal care.


Redness immediately following electrolysis occurs in most patients. It lasts anywhere from 30 minutes to a day or more. Application of Aloe Vera gel to the affected area brings relief and hastens the disappearance of redness associated with electrolysis. Topical antihistamines lesson the itching or stinging and relieve redness.


Slight swelling at the electrolysis site generally appears as small raised welts similar to insect bites. Most prominent immediately after the procedure some welts begin to subside right away while others continue to swell for several hours. The size of the area cleared and skin sensitivity affect the degree of swelling experienced. Ice or cold compresses relieve swelling.


Tiny raised blisters that resemble acne often appear the day after an electrolysis treatment. They may seep a small amount of blood or fluids from the affected tissues and scab over. Electrolysis involving many hairs in small space increases the risk of blistering or scabbing. No treatment is necessary to treat scabs other than to allow them to heal naturally. Avoid the temptation to remove the scabs, as scarring is likely to result. Permanent scars may appear up to 6 months after the procedure because it may take this long for all inflammation and swelling at the site to subside and for scar tissue to contract.

Ingrown Hair

Electrolysis may weaken the roots of hair causing them to either grow back into the skin's surface or to fail to reach the surface of the skin. Untreated ingrown hairs often lead to inflammation and infection. Ingrown hairs must be removed carefully to avoid further infection or scarring. Seek the advice of an electrolysist if you experience ingrown hair that cannot be easily removed with sterilized tweezers.

Dry Skin

Dry skin that itches and flakes often results from electrolysis. Application of Aloe Vera gel immediately following the procedure and using a hypoallergenic facial lotion twice a day on delicate facial skin restores the natural moisture to the skin. Avoid products with fragrances or astringents.


Skin in the treated area sometimes discolors appearing either darker or lighter than the surrounding skin. Application of facial cream made of alpha-hydroxyl acids and hydroquinone brings some relief and may restore the affected skin to its normal color.

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