Electrolysis pain an indicator of damage?

Hi everyone it’s nice meet you all.

I’m curious about the amount of pain following each zap of the electrolysis probe and if there is a lot it means the death or at the very least severe damaging of that follicle or not? Also I want your opinions on whether my electrolysis practitioner is doing a decent job. (I live in Australia and they are the only electrolysis centre in a 200km radius)

Now to give a little history I’m a Mtf and have been on hrt for 5 months now and because of this my skin is a lot more soft and sensitive that it once was. I started electrolysis about 3 months ago (13hrs so far, 8 sessions) after 10 sessions of laser and my electrolysis (30+ years experience) uses the Galvanic method (though I never have to hold a metal probe is there a reason why?).

She usually starts with my upper lip left then right then proceeds to ice it before moving onto more broad areas like my chin and under jaw. Before starting she swabs the area with an alcohol wipe. On average I believe she gets 400-500 hairs per hr and about 100-150 of those I usually feel a slight bit of resistance (Usually the dark, really coarse ones) so I never count them as fully dead though since the damage is cumulative I don’t mind as they will die eventually. Afterwards my face is a little hot and red but that usually last for a couple hrs max. The cost is $85 per hr so it’s affordable which is a big plus.

Now the pain rating for me is as follows.

Upper lip (8-9) Emla cream takes this down to a 3-5 usually.
Chin (5-6)
Under Jaw (4-7)
Neck (6-7)
Cheeks (7-8)

So back to my original questions is the pain and indicator of effective treating of the follicles and do you believe my electrolysis is doing a decent job? I am noticing my hair is getting a lot sparser.

P.s I usually stop shaving to let the hair grow out 4 days before each session. The hairs are usually 1-2mm in length.


If she’s using galvanic, there’s absolutely no way she’s getting 400-500 hairs per hour. 400-500 per hour is generally only possible with thermolysis/very fast blend.

If hair is coming out with some resistance, that’s not good. However, it is common when the root is bigger than the pore the hair is in that you feel it come out, but it’s not like a “plucking” feeling. It’s kind of hard to explain lol.

I’m the same as you – I experience a lot of pain on my face with electrolysis. I’ve gone to some practitioners where the pain is minimal, and it’s also been great results, so it really just depends on the practitioner. Unfortunately, some of us just happen to find treatments more painful than others, and just because it hurts, doesn’t mean it was done properly. If you’re noticing hair getting sparser, that’s at least promising

Yeah it’s not really a pluck feeling more a slight pop, no pain or anything.

Is pain a good indication of damage? Well, no not really. It depends on what type of pain you’re feeling and because we’re not the ones sitting in the chair i couldn’t begin to understand how you feel. Natural pain like anything near the bone (knee bone comes to mind… OUCH) or even that flap of skin that’s the upper lip is going to be painful.

Also, when you’re being treated you tend to adjust to the pain and some people even go numb. Anyway, i’ve actually scarred myself when i was beginning it on me and felt absolutely nothing different.

Some helpful information you might add would be what type of treatment and setting is your electrologist using and if it hurts … please ask her to take it down a notch!

It sounds like your skin recovers quickly, so that is a really positive indication. Pain is a very individual experience, so it is impossible to determine anything from an individuals tolerance levels. Photographs would be a great way to assess your progress.

Yeah well the it is a bit puffy for a day or 2 after and gets a few whiteheads during that time but is completely fine afterwards.
I’ll def post some photo’s of course :).

Also why is not feeling anything when pulling the hairs out so important? Granted I don’t for most of the hairs. Is it because even slight resistance indicates the hair follicle hasn’t been damaged enough to completely kill it?

It’s a bit of a myth here on HairTell that any form of resistance means the hair hasn’t been fully destroyed, has it been debunked? Probably not and quite possible never will. But most resistance is not a bad thing.

I second that motion.
In my opinion, for what that is worth, if you feel what you feel when you pluck an untreated hair, then that is a bad treatment. Anything else, is more likely to be ok.

At worst, the hair will grow back thinner and weaker, at best, it is permanently removed, and you just got a razor’s edge treatment that did just enough damage to disable the follicle, but limited the tissue damage to the lower bulge area.

Now a bunch of people will come on and say that opinion is wrong, but like I always say, the proof is in the lack of hair one year to the day after the treatment.

Patients, of course, are always trying to find something to determine “a good treatment” from a “bad treatment.” Thus this “resistance thing” has been greatly exaggerated. (These issues are most important to worried/neurotic clients or those that want to “micro-manage” their treatment.)

Your electrologist knows when she has missed a hair and just plucked it; but you should (the client) NOT focus on that. Sometimes a hair has to be plucked, e.g., it was distorted and can’t take another “hit.”

The point is that we are parsing minutia here. This “issue” is WAY overblown. What is a “pluck” and what is an “appropriate” amount of resistance? There are no studies on this and there never will be studies on this, because it’s not important. As the above writer states: it’s all about the hairs NOT coming back. That’s the only true test. THAT’S objective!

I’d be happy if this whole issue “goes to sleep” … just like the nonsense about not being able to destroy hairs in catagen or telogen. Or talking about the “correct” diameter of a “dreaded SCAB.” Again: there are no studies; never will be “studies” and it doesn’t matter any way.

Electrologists that have been doing this for “centuries” know what a “pluck” is … well, most of them anyway. Of course, if you REALLY feel most of the hairs being tweezed out … that’s a bad sign for sure.

I have to say … (again)

I’m having trouble with a recurring Hairtell issue (to me anyway): People with almost no experience (or clients of electrolysis or laser) are giving information to other clients (and practitioners) with GREAT authority.

Frankly, I am not comfortable being “tossed” into the same “salad” (with my 40 years of experience and research) with “rank amateurs” that sound like veterans and experts. I don’t like it and I think it’s dangerous for clients.

To those with almost no “real world” experience, I would say, “back off a bit.” You are not in a position to give advice to either clients or operators. I’m glad you are excited about your new-found “avocation,” but please don’t take your opinions and turn them into facts.

Over and over I see the same people giving actual numbers and settings to people having laser. I seriously think this should be left to the physician in charge of the procedure … and not you!

Please be careful … maybe identify yourself as a “novice” or “client” or a “do-it-yourselfer” before handing out “directives” to those of us who have been doing this for DECADES!

To the reader: check out the qualifications of the poster before you trust what is being said on Hairtell! Not everything written is factual.

Point taken. I wont post.

Over and over I see the same people giving actual numbers and settings to people having laser. I seriously think this should be left to the physician in charge of the procedure … and not you!

I have not seen anyone here suggest actual settings. I’ve only seen people here suggest if the settings are too high or too low. You don’t need to be an expert to know that. In fact, Chris (the laser tech who once in a blue moon has posted here) has given parameters that are “too low” for effective treatment. If someone asks if they’re being treated at too low of a setting, we have a baseline from an actual laser tech who has treated thousands. But no one I’ve seen here has told someone the exact settings to be treated at. We’ve stated what range the settings need to be in to be effective, but that’s different.

People with almost no experience (or clients of electrolysis or laser) are giving information to other clients (and practitioners) with GREAT authority.

As long as the information is truthful, what’s the issue? I don’t see anything Seana said to be false, and considering she’s been teaching herself a lot about electrolysis, I definitely take consideration to her opinions. Isn’t the purpose of a forum for us to share opinions and ideas, and not to suggest to others they’re better off not posting? And yes, I do think clients should share advice to each other. We’re the ones going through it, so we should be able to share our opinions with each other. You guys (as electrologists) are welcome to give feedback and guide us, but I think it’s a great idea for clients to share feedback with each other and opinions, and not as dangerous as you like to think it is.

Brenton, I thank you for your support, but it’s not worth it. I dont want this to turn into a big discussion on who’s opinion is valid. I said my piece, it’s gone, and that’s it . Michael doesnt feel my experience is good enough to give an answer. He’s entitled to his feelings. I’m a prolific poster, and it’s clear I’ve ruffled some feathers. So I’m not going to be posting, it’s just that simple. Hairtell existed a long time without my opinion on anything, and will continue to be here. Nuff said.


If you remember, I welcomed you with open arms and I still do Seana. I do feel that everyone offering specifics should identify their reference; and that means your experience.

We get this all the time in the office where I work. People come in with all kinds of “stuff” from other people regarding their plastic surgery. The surgeon has to sometimes fight back all the misinformation.

So, nobody has to “run away!” Besides, this is ONLY MY opinion. And, everybody has his or her opinion. Just opinion and it’s only one person …

I would still be cautious in giving specific details that a client will then “insist on” with their practitioner. This applies to electrolysis too. Patients, for example, may “demand” a clearance (as is often discussed here) when the operator knows it’s not right or within her scope of practice.

Unlike the average poster, I’m direct. I don’t mean to be “insulting.” I find clear statements are much better than innuendo.

Michael every time you post you make a reference. There’sa big red “Hairtell Pro” flag that comes up every time. I dont ever post with such a flag. I make no bones about my experience, ever. I did not in that post nor in any post ever, recommend specific settings or modalities. I only discussed it here, because the original poster questioned it directly where she talks about the practitioner being a galvanic practitioner but she never had to hold an annode. In short, I answered the poster’s question. As directly as I could manage at the time. I’m sorry if you took offense to it.


Hi OP :slight_smile: I used to visit a clinic in South Australia where, although I had to hold a sponge thing and my electrologist was performing blend, she was treating hundreds of hairs per minute and I think it may have been more along the lines of thermolysis treatment. I only ever had 10 minute appointments and after seven of these she pronounced that I was finished (as in, had my first “clearance”).

It was REALLY painful and I was discouraged (I had a lot of vellus/blonde hair which was left). My skin didn’t heal very well and it always hurt a lot after the session - I would use ice packs on my face.

On the other hand what she did worked… Three years later I was still experiencing hair free cycles but interspersed, of course, with hair, as I never completed my treatment.

I now see a fantastic practitioner in Sydney. The pain factor is probably on a 1 - 2 compared with 7 - 8 previously (although different hair types and areas have different pain of course, and body work seems to hurt more for me). She uses better magnification and lighting and so can treat lighter hairs. As well, she is using a newer machine which may be why it hurts less (it is an Apilus Platinum machine).

So to answer your original question:
She is probably getting what you want done - permanent hair removal. The price is fantastic (three years ago a 10 minute session cost me $55 or something), the treatment is working - the pain, however, is a big factor. I can understand if that puts you off. All the best, either way. :slight_smile: