arm troubles

Hi everyone, i m a fairly hairy dude an i decided to try using an epilator Friday night on my arms. Without knowing anything, i just started away and did my arms. There was a little bleeding in certain areas, but i thought that was probably to be expected. Everything looked great and i was really happy with the results.

The next morning, i woke up and much to my dismay there were red blotches everywhere that there was bleeding, mainly the elbow area, but on the top of the arm where the skin seemed to be quite sensitive.

By the afternoon, those blotches had turned to numerous red bumps with scattered whiteheads.

It has now been about 36 hours and my upper arm elbow area is still covered in red bumps and whiteheads and is quite sensative to the touch.

Im not really sure wat to do, ive been wearing longsleves because of the embarrassment ill feel if anyone sees me like this.

is there anything i can do?

oh btw, i went into this knowing nothing and as a result i used the epilator without any kind of skin prep then went into the shower directly afterwards.

Welcome to hairtell.

Well, it’s important to start with clean skin by washing the area with soap and water for at least 15 seconds. Dial Soap would be good. Using an antiseptic to wipe the skin and perhaps the epilator metal part that touches your skin would be a good move.

The skin barrier has been broken and perhaps you have abrasions where the the coils of he machine snatched some skin with the hair. Continue to keep the area clean and dry. Watch for worsening skin changes and take your temperature if you think the wounds are getting worse. It will heal with time. Although, if you have trouble healing, of course you know that you need to see a doctor. I would keep wearing a long-sleeved shirt and not expose any open wounds to others and vice versa. If you have been diagnosed with MRSA in the past, be double vigilant about anything that deviates from a normal healing scenario for you and seek medical attention.

Read the directions for using this particular epilator and then follow those directions if you decide to resume epilating after you are healed.



thank you soo much, its not worsening, if anything its getting better and no i havent had anything like this in the past.

I think Ill try it again in a small test area with the proper preperations and precaustions, and if the same happens again then ill just going in for a professional waxing after this all clears up.

Sounds like a good plan. If you go for a waxing, make sure you wash your own arms before you go for your appointment, even though they may use a cleaning solution before they wax. Then you are double covered.

im sorry to bother you again, but when should i go to a doctor, i really cant afford one right now, and i would like to try and heal this thing on my own. Is there anything i can do for my arms to help them heal?

i heard somewhere that tea tree oil, neosporin, or cortisone cream would help.

This is the middle of the third day and when i woke up the rash seemed to be slightly lessened, but it might be my imagination. There aern’t as many whiteheads anymore though, its mainly just red blotches.

bleh its been 4 days now and its pretty much the same, i saw a post about a guy in the waxing forum who had a similar problem all over his back and it took him 7 weeks to clear up :frowning:

I would not use Neosporin. Many people tend to be allergic to the neomycin part of this topical. If you have used it, maybe the medicine is the culprit? What have you used so far to help the healing?

well ive put some neosporin on it the other night(2 nights ago), before i went to sleep. And i havent taken a shower since because i was afraid that might irritate it

Please take a shower and wash your arms with an antibacterial soap. No wonder this isn’t getting better. The neosporin may have made the problem worse or at least delayed the healing process. Try some tea tree oil. Don’t overdo.
Use the tea tree oil sparingly. Pick a spot and see how your skin reacts to the tea tree oil if you want to test it first.

Again, I never recommend Neosporin to my electrolysis clients and I’m thinking that maybe you should eliminate this treatment and just wash your arms and pat them dry everyday. Maybe twice a day if you perspire alot or do work where you might expose your arms to bateria. Keep your arms covered as long as you have open wounds so as not to expose them to a staph bug, especially the the super bug called MRSA.

Wound care does not have to expensive or complicated. Good old soap and water is basic and it works. You may want to dab a little witch hazel on the area after washing. I’m glad you mentioned the neosporin and not bathing part. Those are huge hints.


what about witch hazel?

Hiya Dani,

My upper thigh’s look identical to that when I shave them (unless I have them lasered the same day, but thats beside the point because it destroys the hair) and it maybe the same for your arms when they are epilated. The redness will go down you just have to give it time.

When you epliated the hair was it short (as in shaved a week or less before)? The reason why im asking is because if the hair is too long, when using a rotary epilator it can create a greater tugging sensation on the hair causing more damage to the follicle and the surrounding tissue.
The hair is also more likely to break off due to it being too long. I’m wondering, do you get shaving rash on any areas that you shave? It could also be that these broken off hairs are regrowing and thus irritating the skin.

Avoid anything seriously abrasive, physically and chemically, as you skin is already agitated.

Kind regards,

well firstoff, than you all for your overwhelming response. If it wernt for the people on this forum. I dont know wat i would have done.


well it seems that most of tha hairs were just broken, no i didnt shave before i used it ( well i did trim with clippers on one small test area but that was it)

no i dont get similar rashes when i shave, although i never tried shaving my arms so mabye i would there but i dont know


im finishing up a paper for school and im going to take a cool shower tonight and do just as you suggested.

Im really worried now about this staph thing you mentioned. Are these signs of it? im sortof getting worried.

Just be aware and observe your healing. You don’t need to take a cold shower, a warm shower would be fine and it would feel better.

Be aware of staph aureous. This bug has reached out into many of our communites. If you have open wounds or even a small open wound you can acquire this if you are exposed under certain conditions. Please google MRSA and educate yourself. I am not allow to diagnose anything. All I can do is give you general information most of which is common sense hygiene for wound care. If you think you are getting worse, you need to seek medical care.

well comparing my arm to that picture i took a few days ago, it seems to be slowly recovering. When i took that picture, my arms were quite sensative, the red spots and whiteheads were almost painful to touch. Now, my arms dont hurt at all, and for the most part the only parts that are red anymore are the elbow regions of the top side of my arms, (shown in the picture) where the skin folds whever i bend my arms. I think that that skin got caught in the unwashed rotary wheels of the epilator when i used it.

The red marks definitly are not getting worse, theyre getting less red i think, mabye theyre just staying the same i dont know, but theyre not getting worse.

Im at the point where i just wish the red blotches would go away and my arm hair would grow back. I think im never going to try this again.

I will keep posting though to keep updating on progress.

huh well it wont let me edit my post again so ill have to post again sorry

Well its been 6 full days now. The rash is still there

it shows no signs of spreading from what i can tell. It seems to be just the exact same spots that it was the morning after epilation

the tenderness of those spots is gone, they no longer hurt

theyre still red, but theyre no getting any worse, just pretty much staying the same

I dont think its staph or mrsa because its not spreading or getting worse

im still hoping for the best, wish me luck because i have no way to pay for a doctors bills so if i cant fix this on my own, i dont know what to do.

Thank you all for your continuing support it’s greatly appreciated,



Are you still washing your arms daily with soap and water? Exposing your arms to air is good, too, but if you are in public places or visit someone in the hospital or go to a gym to work out, keep your arms covered. I never said you have MRSA or staph, but was warning you not to expose your open wounds if you happened to be in locations where this bug is found most often.


Yep im washing my arms with soap and water in the shower. This morning i woke up and looked in the mirror and the reddness seemed to be even less intense than yesterday

oh and i know you didnt say i had mrsa or staph, you just reminded me that those things are out there and that i should look them up. And i was just stating that i dont think i have them for my own peace of mind.

i know its all for legal reasons so i dont want to get you in trouble after all the help youve given me :smiley:

Okay, thanks for reassuring me about that, Dani. Glad to hear that your arms look less intense today.


Well, let me just relay some information about how I epilate after letting my hair grow after no epilating or shaving for a while.

First of all, epilating is best done on short hair, probably no more than 5mm in length. My epilator, the Braun 5270 comes with a trimmer with this very length in mind. Anyway, when I let my hair get that long, which isn’t on purpose, (I usually epilate as soon as get stubble…doesn’t hurt that way), I do get some red bumps and a bit of mild swelling around the follicles.

What to do? Quite simply…Rubbing alcohol (or perhaps Witchhazel). Does it burn? Yeah, at first, just like applying alcohol to any inflamed/cut area. But it’ll make the redness and bumps go away in within hours.

For example, within the last few months, I went without an epilator for quite some time. I just reverted back to shaving. So all my hair was pretty much growing back in at the same time. When I decided to repurchase an epilator, I let my hair grow for a couple weeks. By the time I got the replacement, my hair was probably about optimal length for epilation.

I received the new epilator and proceeded to go to work (on my hair). It took me a couple of hours to re-epilate my entire body. The most sensitive area is the arms. They of course start to turn red and burn/sting a bit. But slap a bit of alcohol on them, and before I got home from work that evening (8:30pm), the redness is gone.

It seems that what you have done is allowed your freshly epilated arms to get infected.

Not showering is probably the biggest no-no here. And I try to stay as far away from Neosporin as I can. That stuff seems to be worse that what it’s trying to cure, simply for its oily nature. That’s probably where you got your whiteheads from. You clogged up your pores.

Hope my simple tip helps with further experimentation with epilation. Remember…alcohol…works wonders…it really does.