"Aftermath" of electrolysis

A client was kind enough to send a photo of his upper back and neck that was cleared about 3 weeks ago (the photos are “hidden” somewhere in the millions of Hairtell threads).

I’m posting this photo for prospective electrolysis patients to see, and think about. With clearing off large areas of body hairs, what you see in this photo is common, expected and appropriate. There’s a lot going on in this photo and I won’t take the time to discuss all the “stuff” going on.

But, you will notice tiny areas of irritation, fast growing anagen hairs (amazing how FAST), and tiny plugs of what’s left of the dead follicles.

All of this clears up, of course, and the skin will eventually be perfect. However, those seeking electrolysis for permanent hair removal must consider that your post-treatment skin is not going to look very good for a few weeks thereafter.

This is a great client and I will show you what he looks like in a few months when all the new hairs have grown in. (At the start of the 2nd clearance most patients think I’m a fraud! And, that’s also expected.)

Electrolysis is NOT a “walk in the park,” but it is guaranteed to DELIVER permanent hair removal!

In a sense, electrolysis is like “the Big Bang!” Laser often takes a few years of repeated treatments to achieve the goal. Electrolysis is a “BIG BOMB,” but never takes more than 3 or 4 clearances over a period of, say, 9 - 10 months.

Yes, laser seems fast, but you must also consider the overall time the entire process takes: the ELAPSED time. Elapsed time? Electrolysis is faster!

Here’s another photo (same guy). I left this a bit larger file so you may zoom in to really have a good look-see.

The area is the upper back near the underarm area. There are a few things happening in this photo. I’ll let Jossie “have a go at this,” but those “pustules” you see are NOT pustules!

Hint: new anagen hairs, hyperpigmentation (PIH) near the underarm, sebaceous papules and a bit of residual inflammation. Can you spot more?

Another note on the above photo:

If you look closely (and the lighting was perfect to show this), you will see that each “dead follicle” is a bit raised and the skin almost looks like it has “goose bumps,” you know, when you get cold.

Here’s what’s happening. The follicle is now filled up with “wound collagen.” This initial mend is very rough and always causes a tiny mound to form. During the next several months, the body will completely replace the wound collagen with perfectly formed collagen … and the “bump” will completely disappear to skin level.

The guy is not showing this very well, but you might be able to detect some angiogenesis in each follicle (this is more difficult to spot on the back, but very easy to see on areas that have thin skin such as the fingers or toes.)

And THANKS to the “Oregon kid” for letting me use these fine photos!

Thanks for sharing the realities of how bad the skin looks after treatments and clearances. I wish this part said was true for me, however:

“Electrolysis is a “BIG BOMB,” but never takes more than 3 or 4 clearances over a period of, say, 9 - 10 months.”

I think this is misleading for people. I’ve had three clearances on my chin and cannot say the same results have happened. I am happy that they are becoming more spread out, but it will take longer than your expected amount of time.

Oh so true! And, oh so “not true.”

The reality is the “bomb” works on BODY hair and with men that have not been “fiddling” with the hairs: left alone and untouched.

Not so with faces and especially women’s cases. LOTS of reasons for this, but cases like yours are unlike the body and take “forever.”

Not misleading! Just completely different territories!

That makes more sense. Do your female facial hair clients typically see permanency in the 18 month window or more/less?

Yes, indeed, we can see dozens of small sebaceous papules that do not contain pus as someone who is not familiar with the normal progress in the body work might think. Unlike pustules that can leave marks, these little “pearls” disappear without trace. We can also see a couple of “tombstones”, typical from the treatment in an area with a majority of hairs in telogen. We can see a small percentage of false regrowth (or new growth), ie hairs which could not be treated due to lack of a “pathfinder” :wink: (because exogen hair during first clearing). Hence, these hairs have appeared weeks later.
However, what is most significant here is the high percentage of “kill rate”. 100%? oh yeah.

This is something that pleases the eye, especially today, after working in a male chest previously treated by another colleague, without the slightest evidence that something has happened. Really unfortunate.

Note: The illustrations are from the book “Treatment Strategy for Electrology” by Michael Bono.

Jossie, English may not be your “first language,” but you speak better than I.

(Or is that “me?” No, I think “I” is correct … doesn’t sound right though! Damn silly English language anyway. And spelling? “Forget about it!”)

Looking closely at the photo, I think a few of the “tombstones” are actual “instant regrowth” (I spot 2 of these). Yes, I either missed the follicle or didn’t deliver enough “juice.” (I’ll do those 2 hairs for free next time.)

OH … Hi Lara07,

I just noticed your post. Generally yes … 18 months. However, a significant number of cases of female hair involves the dreaded “hormones.”

If I woman is at, or passed, “menopause” I can clear the hair, but she will usually need one or two short treatments per year … with no end in sight.

And, this is soooooo frustrating for both the client and the electrologist. By contrast, what you see on your underarms is a “done deal.” Remove these and a hair will never grow in for the rest of your life … EVER!

Guys too, if they are young, often have not fully developed their body hair; so this can also be an on-going situation until it all grows in.

Not so with the SUPER hairy guys. These “Oh my God!” cases indicate that nearly all the body hairs have grown in, so results will be spectacular (and actually easy). Once gone, the hair will stay gone!

Seriously, my own frustration with WANTING to get women’s faces done fast has actually made me stop treating women’s faces altogether. Luckily we have a super electrologist in town that gets all my “face cases.”

I suppose I want results even more than the patient. The cases that drag on-and-on seem draconian, and I start to feel like I’m cheating people. When I hear on the phone, “The hairs have ALL grown back AGAIN,” my heart sort of sinks. (The use of “all” REALLY gets me … it feels like a knife in my stomach.)

So, I’ve stopped doing it. I think okay, fine, “screw it!” Of course, any body hair on a woman (or hairline) is fine however … it’s not hormone related in nearly all cases.

I have never experienced this skin side effect until recently.

Arm before treatment:

Arm after three weeks:

Thanks for this fine photo Dee Dee,

Yep, these look like common papules. The interesting reality is there is no clear way to absolutely predict these, or other post-treatment manifestation as well. All of these disappear in every case, of course, because they are part of the normal healing process.

I think it’s wonderful and admirable … a “kiss” for Dee Dee … that we are showing clients the sometimes downside reality of electrolysis treatments. Sure, a nice perfect “before & after” will always get us new clients and make us look good. However, what people are looking for now, on the internet, is REAL unembellished reality of what they can expect from treatments.

Every now and then there will appear some post about “How Great Thou Art” from a client (or even a “selfie”). All of this literally makes me physically sick. I few times clients wanted to go on Hairtell to say, “How wonderful I am.” My reaction was … “Don’t you DARE ever do anything like that!” YUCK!

Further to the point: Those wonderful “before & after” shots of face-lifts and hair transplants? Sure, YES, you will look super … after the healing takes place. But seriously, a post-op face-lift patient (or hair transplant) looks like a character from a horror film. (I’m caring for one of Chapple’s face-lifts on Wednesday. Maybe I’ll take some photos if she will allow it? I mean, nobody will recognize her anyway “balloon face.”)

I wish people would show EVERYTHING involved in every treatment. Actually, the miniscule post-treatment “stuff” that electrolysis causes is virtually nothing, compared to most other surgical procedures.

This “show me” direction is good for Hairtell. It’s going to keep me posting here and I sincerely believe MORE potential clients will jump-in, with the resulting effect: MORE people seeking electrolysis.

The internet generation is VERY savvy and is looking for STRAIGHT answers to their questions. Show it all, and I intend to continue doing this! Ever notice that posts with a real photo gets 10 times the readership. Wanna guess why?

I would LOVE to see a separate section created on Hairtell called “SHOW ME!” YEAH!

I appreciate the honesty, it is hard to hear that I could potentially be spending more and more money, and doing this longer than 18 months (potentially for life?). I just hope it is worth it in the end, and I don’t end up still shaving like a man, with all that wasted $$, and with a face that looks worse than it ever did before treatments. I wonder how often that happens to women with “hormone” issues like you state. :frowning:

I will let my colleagues answer your questions because they have WAY more experience than I with this issue.

I will say that most of my (former) female clients spent very little money on their treatments compared to what my average man spends.

I’d like to ask you how much you’ve spent so far? Count it up and let’s talk about this.

Money is important and should not be a forbidden subject. (I never understood the reluctance to talk about REAL costs of … well, everything.)

When I get a new client, that’s the first thing I talk about … because that’s what they want to know! How much, how long and will this work?

I also super appreciate the straightforward honest goods that come from Michael.

I BELIEVE in electrolyisis ( and still do ) .Ive seen my sister’s eyebrows done and and all the incredible work shown on this forum , but my honest experience so far backs what Michael describes.

I am not menopausal and my hormones are not out of wack and I can tell you that I have already spend MANY MANY hours and LOTS of money on just a small sideburn area of my face and it is still coming back for more zapping! And i dont really have that much hair. Ive seen far worse cases on this site !

Granted not all zappers out there are as pro as the ones on this board so that may be the reason, however the general truth seems to be that, especially if you are not CERTAIN you are seeing a VERY GOOD ELECTROLYSIST , ( and one may only discover the answer to that only AFTER much time and money has been spent) , it WILL be a long and costly job to do ! Just sayin!

PS. If it is possible for you, you could at least reduce your chances, by seeing one of the pros on this forum that do work on womens face ???

Michael, I was so glad to see your papules picture. Honestly, I had NEVER had this kind of reaction on a client before (upper arms) , but then again, not many women of East Indian decent have requested hair removal in this area. It is usually face, neck and trunk that we tackle. I knew this was not infection (pustules) as it was waxy in appearance. So, I reasoned with my client that this was coming from the sebaceous gland, thinking the electrolysis overexcited the gland in the healing process. There were some very, very thin hairs mixed in with some of the bumps, but she did have laser reduction on her upper arms prior to electrolysis and I reasoned that the laser made the hair too thin and weak to push through the skin.

All this was so distressing to her. First, the laser stimulated more hair to grow on the places she had treated and then the electrolysis caused these waxy bumps that persisted for longer than I predicted.

On a happier note, she did get a substantial refund back from her laser treatments. The place of business was very cooperative. Perhaps all $8,000? She can speak to that if she adds to this thread.

I alerted her to your pictures , Michael. She offered to come on Hairtell to add to this thread and I have encouraged her to do so. She is so relieved to see your pictures. Thank you so much!

Yep, these papules are not all that common. I don’t see them that often either … but, when I see something new or unusual I get excited about it. (How sad really, a person that gets excited over a “pimple!” I need counseling. Oh, I had it … didn’t work!)

Usually I see these papules on guys with pretty “oily” skin … I suppose the excess sebum mixes with and “adheres to” the desquamated (destroyed) follicle material that is emerging from the follicle. Maybe the excess sebum acts like glue keeping the normal exfoliating stuff from being easily sloughed off. As the epidermis immediately covers the opening … well, there it is: that little “pearl of a papule.” That’s my take on it anyway. Dr. Chapple thinks that’s the deal too.

I’m super glad I could help, as y’all can imagine. We zapperettes and zapperinis “live for” helping our “kids” get to their goal of total freedom from HAIR!

It’s a little depressing to think about but I’ve been doing this since around mid May and have probably spent over 2k, potentially more if I seriously go back and look.

Are these the before pictures, Michael?



Dee, How long did your clients skin take to fully recover? I have seen something similar, but not the same as this reaction. This is a great thread, thank you Michael and Dee.