I am back on Accutane to combat acne and oily skin. Because this drug makes skin photosensitive (like an oral version of Retin-A), laser hair reduction is contraindicated. I know it changes the way skin heals, however, I am taking a very low doseage compared to the norm.

I have heard conflicting reports as to whether or not electrolysis is kosher with the Accutane treatment. Show of hands: Do the electrologists here usually categorically avoid treating Accutane patients, or will they do a test patch and/or experiment with different settings to try to treat someone on Accutane? I’m asking here before I go on a wild goose chase calling people.

[edit: Also, some of my interest lies in removing extremely fine, light, vellus hair on my upper arms. I have a condition called keratosis pilaris whereby the sebaceous glands in this area develop hard plugs resulting in a cheese-grater-like appearance and feel. I’d like to experiment with electro there to see if a lack of growing hair helps keep the sebaceous glands unplugged. My question (finally!) is, just how small of a hair can be electrolycized?

I have learned more about permanent hair removal here than I ever dreamed possible! Thanks!


Sorry for the delay in answering your question, htky. I was having trouble accessing the hairtell website, but now I am glad it’s back and running. A day without hairtell is like a day without food! You are doing an excellent job, Andrea.

As for your first question about Accutane. Acne and hair are are powerful partners, both fed by the same hormone. Accutane and electrolysis are powerful partners, too, for combating the acne and hair. There is no definite contraindication for using any kind of electrolysis while using Accutane. There have been no reports of increased scarring when electrolysis has been preformed while one is on an Accutane regime. You can expect more reddness and you will probably be more sensitive to the sensation of electrolysis. Your electrologist should lower the timing and intensity in order to reduce the side effects of reddness, crusting and pain. Using an insulated probe might be a good strategy so as to keep the heat at the bottom of the follicle and away from the sensitive epidermis (top part of skin).

Accutane came to the market in 1982 and is the “big gun” for treating severe acne. It is an extremely effective drug. It affects the sebaceous glands thus causing a huge decrease in in oil production. Being that one of it’s side effects is dry skin, if your electrolgist is using alcohol to cleanse your skin, you will feel a burning sensation. There are ‘no-alcohol’ antiseptics on the market that can be used pre and post electrolysis that you can take with you to cleanse your skin if you decide to have electrolysis.

You can decide to wait one month after your course of Accutane has been completed (15-20 weeks is the ususal time frame for taking Accutane). However, if you want to start while taking the drug, be sure that your electrologist takes a conservative stance and adjusts those settings a little lower for intensity and a little slower for timing. See how you heal in between treatments. This will be a good gauge as to whether to continue or wait until the course of treatment is complete.

Electrolysis can treat the smallest, lightest hair on your body. However, your electrologist needs to be able to see the hair in order to treat it. That is why it has been said numerous times on this site that quality magnification and quality lighting are a must for every electrologist. As you consult with different electrologist’s, get a sample treatment, check out the equipment, observe your skin reaction and keep learning all you can.

Thanks for your great question.



Thanks for your great response!
In what area of Ohio are you located?


Hi htky.

Glad to help. I’m located in central Ohio, the Columbus area, but more specifically, in the suburb of New Albany.


New Albany is about 3.5 hours from me (I’m in Lexington, KY). I’d love to come to you if it weren’t for the drive! I will try to find someone locally, I am tired of tweezing my eyebrows!

Thanks again,

If you go to there is a electrologist’s member list for those of us who belong to the American Electrology Association. Perhaps you can start there with a search for an electrologist near you, in the state of Kentucky. Not all electrologists belong to this organization, and the ones who don’t can still be fabulous practioners, so don’t shy away from someone who is not a member or CPE. Please consider getting as many consults and sample treatments as you can before you decide on who can best treat your problem.

The referral part of the hairtell may be helpful for you, also. Finding someone locally is truly in your best interest as you will need several sessions most likely, whether it be for your eyebrows or face. It’s a real time-saver not to mention a safety issue if you’re not traveling 3 1/2 hours back and forth. The Cincinnati area has some great practioners, too, I’m sure. That wouldn’t be too far of a drive for you.

Much luck to you and please give us feedback on your experience.