Complications of Electrolysis of Hairs
- Electrolysis of the hairs if done correctly does not lead to any serious complications, but some problems do occur due to faulty technique, different skin conditions, person's systemic disorders or diseases, problem with the machines etc.
- Most side effects of electrolysis are mild but may include redness, swelling, blisters, scabs, dryness, and ingrown hairs. The commonest complication of the electrolysis is the skin edema. After treatment, your skin may be red, swollen (inflamed), and tender. These are temporary side effects. Redness and swelling should disappear in a few days.
- Scabbing - occasionally scabs may form as part of the healing process. This is slightly more likely on the body than the face but does apply to both. Check the scabs are not elongated in shape as this could indicate that the needle has been laid down across the skins surface. It is most important that the client understands that she must not remove the scabs that form, to do so would, impede healing and may result in hypo pigmentation (reduced colour) especially where treating an Afro Caribbean or Asian Skin.
- Blanching/ burning - is a complication of Thermolysis, Occurring immediately with the appearance of a white ring on the surface of the skin, it may be accompanied by a sizzling sound as the current is discharged. This should NOT occur and would indicate inaccurate probing, too shallow insertion or too high a current. Do not confuse blanching with the frothing that may occur when applying the Blend or Galvanic methods which is completely safe as there is no heat involved.
- Excessive erythema (redness of skin) - If the treated area is very red then it may indicate an allergic reaction, over treatment has occurred, a different method may be advisable, or that the skin is more sensitive than first thought. One should change the type of needle or reduce the current settings, treatment duration or space out ( spacing of insertions) the electrolysis area to reduce redness.
- Excessive swelling - indicates possible over treatment.
- Scarring - Not immediately obvious scarring can take weeks or months to materialize. This is the most common side effect or complication of thermolysis. Scarring does not occur with galvanic technique as there is no heat involved to cause damage to skin leading to scar. Pit mark or ice pick scars will usually be the result of continuously applied poor techniques of thermolysis.
- Electrolysis can cause scarring, keloid scars, and changes in skin color of the treated skin in some people. (See contra-indications of Electrolysis)
- Poorly performed electrolysis hair removal can cause long-term skin damage and can also spread infections. (See Contra-indications of Electrolysis)
Other Disadvantages of Electrolysis
Electrolysis has some drawbacks and limitations which is inherent with the technique. some of the problems are
- Painful - Most people experience some degree of pain with electrolysis, as a fine needle or probe is inserted into each hair follicle to destroy it. The degree varies depending on individual skin sensitivity, area of body being treated, personal pain threshold, and hair quality in that body area. Some people feel a mild heat sensation, and some experience a plucking or tweezing-like pain. The pain at Reyuva Hair Electrolysis center is minimized by infiltration of local anaesthetic which makes the use of Electrolysis for hair removal comfortable.
- Time-Consuming and Tedious Method of Hair-Removal - Electrolysis is the most time consuming method of hair removal. Hair removal from large body areas may take even a couple of years to be completed. Therefore, electrolysis is considered best for removing hair from smaller areas like the face, bikini line, or where they are not so dense. The time required for removing hair varies, depending on several factors like size of the area, thickness of hair, hair density, current stage of growth cycle of the hair, previous hair-removal methods used for that body area and the responsiveness of your skin to treatment. Electrolysis typically needs a number of sessions or sittings, each lasting from 45 minutes to an hour, even for hair to be removed from a small body area. You must be aware of this fact before choosing electrolysis, that it does not yield instant results. It will require considerable patience on your part to get the results you wish for. But, given the benefit of getting rid of the hassle of hair-removal forever, this may seem only a small amount of trouble, especially if your body hair is causing you much distress!
- Skin Reaction- Redness, Swelling, Scabs, Infection, Scarring - Hair removal by electrolysis does cause minor redness, swelling, dryness, blisters or even scab formation in the skin immediately after treatment, depending on the skin sensitivity, quality of equipment used, strength of current used (high currents have a higher chance of scabs and scarring) and coarseness of hair. The skin on the upper lip and bikini line are especially sensitive. Most of this subsides and resolves on its own within the next few days. It is advised not to scratch the scabs that form on the skin after electrolysis as these will fall off within few days without any visible mark, but if scratched it can lead to scarring. There is no documented evidence of the relation between electrolysis and ingrown hair.
- Cost of Electrolysis - Although, if compared with other hair-removal methods used over a lifetime, electrolysis is relatively less expensive, but, the affordability of the treatment may be a concern for many people due to its long duration and requirement of a number of costly sessions in continuation.
- Recurrence of hair after electrolysis - in some cases there is recurrence of hairs after electrolysis. More common after thermolysis. In some studies the efficacy of thermolysis technique is around 10% (that means 90% of the hairs removed are going to come back). There are various reasons for the recurrence after thermolysis, one being that the hair bulge (containing the stem cells responsible for hair regrowth) is not destroyed. The other reason being in-accurate insertions in thermolysis (which limitation is largely overcome in galvanic technique). That is why even if there is inaccurate insertions in galvanic technique, the lye (soda or NaOH) formed still destroys the hair follicle with it's hair bulge (containing stem cells), that is why the galvanic technique has hair clearance rate of 90 to 100%. Below is the diagram of in-accurate insertions that can occur during electrolysis.