Electrolysis Disaster! - NOT FOR THE FAINT-HEARTED

My friend has a very difficult time handling the pain of electrolysis and she found a well-reviewed and reputable plastic surgeon’s office who offers 4 and 8 hour sessions with lidocaine numbing injections. She did a 4 hour session, and there was some minor scabbing and redness. Well, she went back for another 4 hours and returned with what appears to me to be about the worst possible outcome imaginable.

The photos below were taken 2 and 4 days post-treatment, respectively. She has been healing but there are obvious scars developing (which the electrologist says will “go away”). However, I have yet to find a scarier electrolysis photo online, and i have searched.

Here’s my issue. The electrologist who did this says she used the same heat settings (it was thermolysis) as before and is acting like it’s a complete mystery how this happened. They are taking no responsibility for this result, and my friend is planning on going back for more of the same treatment! Which I am trying to talk her out of.

Since there are a lot of knowledgeable electrologists on here, please tell me your thoughts on what the heck happened and if this is by any stretch of the imagination acceptable. I am still livid over this and pretty much have been forever scared off of ever getting electrolysis myself. It just seems too risky.

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Oh my goddess.
I’m so sorry. Yes, this absolutely will scar. If this was done where I think it was, well unfortunaely I’m going to have to be quietly horrified, because I have seen such before. I recommend immediate assessment by a dermatologist.

I’m just going to say, if anyone is asking, yes we know who did this, no we are not, as any member of the board moderation, going to reveal that information or say anything negative. pinksun has reached out to us privately and we are advising them in the background. I’m sure they could use all helpful advice and encouragement. we have the best skin experts in the world, right here at hairtell. Keep it clean, keep the names OUT OF IT.

Until your friend can see a cosmetic dermatologist, these option may help:

Continue to use a mild cleanser and 100% aloe vera gel with no menthol. Avoid sunlight in that area and consider using a triple antibiotic ointment to keep the skin as bacteria-free as possible.

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After the inflammation has gone down, I recommend getting some silicone sheeting to help mitigate long-term effects.

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If you want to do additional work to smooth your skin after you get the hair under control. Chemical peels, laser peels, and dermabrasion can all help as well.

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Okay, with all of that out of the way, I’ll just preface by saying I’ve recruited some expert assistance to help yu out pinksun. I do have some questions…
Do you know if the eletrologist used an insulated probe? Equipment Type? Do you know specifically what kind of thermolysis ( example flash, slow electrolysis , synchro, picoflash? How long from treatment were these photos taken?

The larger scabs and markings are of the greatest potential for marking. It appears manyof the scabs are circular and small. If it’s only been a few days, then the majority of these may be from high thermolysis current and an uninsulated probe. Tjhey will certainlyimprove, but its way too early to say much else. The larger scabs on the upper lip are somewhat more concerning. I feel this might mean some skin resurfacing techniques might be beneficial to reduce their appearance, but this should be at the discretion of a qualified dermatologist. They may recommend a skin rsurfacing technique such as fractional laser or microneedling to help. But time, time will make the biggest difference. That , and the magic Mr Asshat is now pulling out of his brain at my request.

Thank you so much for this! It will be a big help.

I don’t know anything in greater detail than that it was thermolysis. I’ll try to find out more details.

The first photo was taken 2 days after the treatment. The second photo was taken 4 days after treatment. I can’t believe how large those scabs were. It is my understanding that the probe goes into a single follicle. Did it burn the skin surface?

Oh dear God in heaven. I’m going to get sick. I have extensive experience with lidocaine and this sort of reaction should NEVER happen … NEVER!

Perhaps the error was in the amount of HF used? You see, lidocaine AKA Xylocaine (has epinephrine in it) stops blood flow for some time. Because there is no normal blood flow, the skin is unable to normally cool. Think: like a radiator in your car … if you stop the water circulation … engine and radiator … your engine will overheat. So, always turn down the HF a lot more then you think!

The other problem is that, with lidocaine, you cannot see normal skin reactions … it’s like flying a plane on instruments only … with NO VISUAL. If you don’t know the safe parameters … you will get yourself into major difficulty and not know about it until many hours later.

Furthermore, clearing-off that much skin is also an invitation to disaster. When we work with Xykicaine, we still stay within normal timing. For example, even if the upper lip is numb, I will not exceed 15-20 minutes on the upper lip … and I will not ever “clear-off” all the hairs. Indeed, clients are not happy … but, as a pro I have to keep them SAFE. I always say “Well, you are going to have your skin for a long time … And, I will not allow you to push me so you’ll end up permanently messed-up.”

What more can I say on this? I don’t drink, but I think I’ll have a Jaegermeister tonight.

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re the large scabs, I’m speculating as I wasnt there, but this could be the result of high frequency blowback on shallow upper lip insertions. Little puffs of hyper heated moisture that erupts from the follicle like a guiser and is superheated, and ya, causes someimes a little bit of a burn. It could also be from inaccurate insertions or a miscalibrated machine. Regardless, the operator is liable for a machine which is defective if thy are using it anyway.

Time is extremely relevent here. We are seeing this reaction at 2 and 4 days from treatment. This will improve significantly in 30 days and even more as time goes further. Lets touch on this and see what happens in 2 weeks and again in a month. I might have much more posative news at that time,but I do still think there is a legitimate issue to deal with. Lets see what time does for us.

I would reply, but after 2 Jaegermeisters I’m just “chillin’!”

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I’ll add that even between day 2 and 4 a lot of the smaller scabs do appear resolved and I dont think will be a long term issue. The larger scabs, I’m going to renew my analysis , and say this is just overtreatment.The marks are large and its clearly a large area, not just surface, that is affected. I expect there will be scar tissue formation in at least some of these highly visible areas. But overall we will see so much more improvement over time. My Asshat’s healing skin video series should be reviewed it has a lot to say about healing skin and things like the deadspace. And really thirsty Jaegermeister cells…oops sorry wrong version of the video I think. . Just go watch it, here:

Love it …

By “just overtreatment” do you mean just a little too much and not too out of the ordinary? Because she now has holes in the skin that can’t be covered with makeup.

No I cant make that assertion. I believe the overtreatment is substantial, but the video Mike ( Mr Asshat!) produces specifies this, we often dont know the results of overtreatment for 9 months or more. I understand about the holes and did expect this. Please review the video series if you havent done so. I do suspect the damage to be substantial. but again I dont know for certain until some time has passed.

Just so you know, Michael Bono is my “go to guy” for assessment in such cases. I do trust his opinion and have consulted with him on similar outcomes with other serious scarring cases in the past. It’s why I was hoping he would involve himself.Perhaps he can expand further on his assessment, but “I need a drink” is a strong statement on your treatment coming from him. Neither he, nor I however can say much else until considerable time has passed and we’ve seen updated progression.

Your skin, and Nature, abhors a vacuum. Those holes will fill up . It wont be a flawless process and there will be wound collogen that develops in the dead space. This leads to irregular texture and surface distortions that are often permanent , but things like fractional laser or microneedling which create information and kick start the healing process can help. This is a case where you should be following up with a cosmetic dermatologist as was already advised to you.They can tell you much more and provide proper medical assessment. . Will it scar? I’m in the camp of “Likely it will, yes”. We just dont know how much yet.If you look around in this forum, you’ll see cases where Michael ( And I ) have consulted on similar cases. Neither one of us, is usually very far from the truth.

Seana

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Thanks Seana … you are doing great work here on Hairtell. Everybody appreciates your comments and your really listening to the client (sometimes I’m a bit in a hurry).

So, on this particular case? I would keep very good photographic documentation of this situation. I would hire an attorney and sue whoever did this to you. AT LEAST recover all your medical expenses, to try to correct the situation.

Electrologists have malpractice insurance … and, this is definitely “one of those times” … Also, memorialize all the comments from other electrologists (made here): copy and paste in a Word Doc. You should also be paid for “pain and suffering” … this is an easy case and you will win. (If you live in California … it’s a sure thing!)

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Furthermore, start documenting (with verification) any time lost from work. Document the days you were unable to engage in normal activities … and, the days you had to “hide out.” I also notice that this was done in a physician’s office … so there is full insurance coverage.
Now, start looking at the new Tesla models … that should cheer you up, because you’ll be able to afford one!

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Thanks for your perspective! I am trying to make the case for a lawsuit as you suggested, but she seems skeptical. How would you rate this based on the pictures I posted, on a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being “totally normal scabbing” and 10 being “never seen this before”)?

The videos you posted were very helpful. Thanks!

No Micheal, I beg to differ in your interpretation of use of lignocaine. Lignocaine is local anaesthetic which blocks the nerve conduction hence the pain from local tissue is not conducted to brain as type C nerve fibers carrying pain sensation to brain are blocked. The local anaesthetic also blocks the autonomic nerve supply to local arterioles which dilates, causes infact more blood flow to that area. After local anaesthesia the local skin becomes red due to increased blood circulation. Therefore the concept that blood flow is blocked after local anaesthesia is totally wrong. Epinephrine does cause the arteries to contract, but it is used in such a low concentration in anaesthesia 1:2,00,000 that it cannot cause whole arteries to contract. Infact even with use of epinephrine combination of lignocaine, the visual response is skin becoming red and not pale. Half life of epinephrine is approx. 5 min, after which epinephrine is rapidly cleared off from the local site. The logic of adding epinephrine to local anaestheic is to increase the time of binding of local anaesthetic to nerves, which is complete within 5 minutes, Once the drug is bound there is no effective use of epinephrine. Therefore the analogy of engine and radiator is also not appropriate for local anaesthesia. I am sorry if I have offended you. In this particular case of skin damage, it is a thermal damage to skin, which in my opinion is caused by overlapping circle of injury which is concept unique to thermolysis. The heat spreads in circle around the follicle though individual hair follicle thermolysis may not damage the skin but overlapping circle of injury of thermolysis damages the skin. Whenever, I have to do area like this which has hairs growing very close together, I always leave one or two hairs in between which are removed in next session. Anyway, I use galvanic technique of electrolysis and not thermolysis.