Electrolysis Upper Lip Scars - Horror Story PICS

Hi ladies and HairTell,
Thanks for all your tips and help. I’ve been lurking for the past two weeks and wanted to post for your opinion on my electrolysis situation. Your replies are greatly appreciated. I’m a white redheaded female, mid-thirties with sensitive skin. No scarring previous to this and I take religious care of my skin.

Three weeks ago, I had electrolysis performed on my chin and upper lip area by a dermatological surgeon. She recommended electrolysis after repeated issues with acne from ingrown hairs and because my sensitive skin doesn’t tolerate laser hair removal (blisters and redness). She said that electrolysis was the only option for hair removal in that area.

She used a machine that had a circular disc that I had to lay on (for grounding) and a foot pedal. The machine made beeping noises throughout the process.


I immediately started bleeding and leaking a clear fluid from the treated area. She spread Desonide, a corticosteroid white cream on both the upper lip and chin. She told me to apply the corticosteroid daily and gave me a follow-up appt for two weeks after the procedure. I applied the cream that she prescribed and started drinking vitamins (A & C). I also used my gentle oil-free moisturizer and gentle anti-bacterial facial cleanser to wash the area.

The scabs started forming almost immediately. I was careful to never peel them or scratch them. They were filled with yellow liquid and lasted a week or so. Pink and light purple bruising in the upper lip and chin area.

My scabs looked like this and I could see little pink lines and holes. I also had pink and purple bruising with little black marks that looked like freckles. My hair (new cycle of hair growth) started coming back in.


When I went in, visibly upset about the pits and little scars for my appt, she told me that everything looked normal. That the healing process can take 3-4 months and that due to my sensitive skin, the scabs and little holes were expected. That the skin would would fill in from the bottom up. She said to stop using the corticosteroid and to give the treated skin a light massage with silicone gel (Dermatix Ultra) three times a day. She also told me to use Retin-A on the affected area to help tone down redness and help regenerate skin. She gave me a prescription for vitamins, special sunblock and told me to keep hydrated. She schedule another appt for a month from now and mentioned that if I had light scarring in a month, that she can provide micro-dermabrasion services to even out any scar edges.


Right now, I look like this:

The upper lip has between 12-15 little holes on each side. The right side has a large pit scar and the left side. The inside of each scar is pink and deep. Makeup doesn’t cover up the holes.

What is your opinion? Was I burned and over-treated? Will these pit scars go away naturally? If not, should I try micro-dermabrasion? Dermarolling the scars? Copper Peptides? Using some kind of scar filler? Is this usual for electrolysis on the upper lip?

Should I just keep using the silicone gel, be patient and wait another month, like she said?

The holidays are coming up and I am willing to try anything to have these scars heal properly with minimum pitting and scarring. If this is normal for electrolysis, I’m willing to wait for it to heal. If it’s not normal, please help.

What do you think? All comments and advice are welcome. Thanks!

I will give my opinion. This is NOT the USUAL desired outcome after one has electrolysis on the upper lip. This is what we call over treatment, meaning the follicle was treated beyond what was necessary to permanently eliminate the hair. Normal side effects are redness, mild swelling for minutes to hours after a session and maybe some pinpoint scabs that last for a week or two. For my people who desire a full, first clearance on the upper lip, I tell them that these side effects are expected except there will be more redness, more swelling that lasts about three days and they may have a few scabs that last a little longer or they may have no scabs?

Bleeding is not good and lymph fluid drainage signal that too much energy was used. It is not necessary or normal to have this outcome. This is NOT the fault of the process called ‘Electrolysis’ - it is a human skill factor that is causing your concern - and rightly, you should be concerned. It will heal. It may take several months, maybe more if you interfere with the natural healing process by using too many medicants! Do not have any more treatments until you are healed and do not allow this to happen to your skin AGAIN!

So a physician was performing electrolysis on you? are you located in the United States?

No, this is by very, very far not normal. When I read “Horror Story” in your title, I wasn’t expecting THIS!

First and foremost, do not, under any circumstances, repeat whatever she had done. That means, do not go to her for hair removal. Ever.

It is difficult to imagine what exactly has happened there. She might have been using a “Hyfrecator” device. Calling this overtreatment or bad electrolysis is like calling a jackhammer a bad toothpick. This is not because your skin is sensitive. I treated a very sensitive upper lip of a teenage girl today. It may get pink and a little puffy, but goes back to normal in under an hour, and perhaps faster, if you apply an icepack. If it stayed red for a day or two, it’s probably normal, but not what you describe by any stretch of imagination.

This not at all typical of electrolysis. DO NOT LET THIS PERSON TOUCH YOU EVER AGAIN!! They could in all likelihood make things worse.

Are you in Canada or the USA? Can you post a review for this individual hopefully sparing someone else the same fate!

If you are able, find a reputable dermatologist, I hope there is something that can be done. With that proceed very carefully, you don’t want the situation to be made worse.

Also ensure you document everything that has happened, every visit and conversation, including these pictures and consult a good personal injury lawyer.

There are Really great electrolysists on this forum and it was what influenced me go and try electrolysis treatments. Well, in the real world, let me tell you i have found that there are a great many lousy electrolsysist out there !! In the end simply removing hair with a rotary razor is often better than the risk . Sure it is a hassle but we also need to count our blessing and not give ourselves over to expecting perfection in all the ‘docs’ derms and spas, who can easily be hack jobs that create even worse problems.

What you see here is what happens when someone has poor vision equipment, and makes their own holes in the skin, then turns up the power to overcompensate for not getting good releases on the hairs.

Succinctly said, James, and duly noted.

Hi curly girl,
Thanks for sharing, am sure this has been really unpleasant. I just wanted to say that I’m surprised your doctor told you to use Retin A when your skin was clearly still healing? Retin A IS great for scars and I loved the results while I was on it (for many years), but its pretty rough on the skin initially and can cause irritation/dryness until the skin adjusts, so not what I would ever put on skin that is still healing from a trauma. I could be wrong, but that’s been my experience - just a thought to consider.

Hi curlygirl

I should have said something about aftercare, I apologize. The best product I have found for assisting the healing process is a vitamin A and D ointment. I have seen it in the baby section of stores in the USA, purchase the most pure form with no fragrance. I provide it to my clients as an aftercare product. Use it frequently on the affected area.

retin-A (tretinoin/retinoic acid) is the acid form of vitamin A. it increases collagen production in the dermis which is why she was recommended to start using it.

More likely than not they will indeed fade away. It’s probably going to be a long and slow process. If you can, before the wounds actually close up (if they haven’t already) keep the area clean and moisturized as much as possible to promote better tissue regeneration.

Band-Aid with neosporin or vaseline overnight is a good healer.

This is horrific!! It looks like the current was inserted live!! We are all still curious to know which country this occurred in? On the other hand, the level of healing is remarkable after only three weeks. The discoloration is gone already. It is far too soon to discuss any remedial work, full healing must take place first, and hopefully a complete recovery will eliminate the need for this. Healing is a slow process and will take at least six months.

Oh my god…its really scary to see the result of a bad electrolysis done by an unexperienced person.
I dont know about how it heals but pitting will always be there in my opinion although it may become less noticebale with time.She just murdered your beautiful skin…if i would have been in your place,I would have killed her.
I am getting electrolysis over sideburns,jaw,chin and upper lip…thank god…god has put me in safe and expert hands…My upper lip is now clear and my skin is beautiful and flawless without pitting.although i have some mild pigmentation on my sideburns but i hope it will fade with time(visible to me only…ha…ha…).
I think you should sue this dermatologist…
Bleeding and lymph fluid…both are indicators she overtreated you as well as damaged the capilllaries beneath the follicle…poor insertion plus poor magnification.It can occur but rarely.I never bled…
Please dont go to her again…let your skin heal properly…dont use retin A as you are still healing.Please find a good electrologist in your area and meet with people who are done with the fellow and are happy before jumping yourself…you may find heaven or may go into drain if you dont do your search properly.I wish you heal properly…my best wishes are with you.
Dont go for microdermabrasion until 6months to 1 year as thats the time required for complete healing.

I suspect that this derm has used a hifrecator which is more powerful than even the Apilus Platinum.
Prescribing a steroid post electrolysis is not necessary or normal;
Retin A should not be in use for at least 6 weeks either side of electrolysis;
In my opinion, and it is a guess, of course, this derm. knew that she had caused damage and was trying to throw everything she could think of at you to save the situation.
One correct thing is that you really should keep up the gentle massage of silicone gel, as instructed as this may really be the one thing that will bring about as good a result for those pitted scars as you can get.
Do nothing else to your skin in the mean time and give it around 9 months to heal.
Pitted scars are not the same as other scars and often do not follow the ‘healing from the bottom up’ rule.
Good luck

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Holy moly-- that is completely unacceptable. I don’t know what the regulatory status is where you live, but I would go see a good dermatologist and report this person to local regulators!

I am sorry that you experienced such over-treatment. It is not necessary for permanent hair removal to cause that much epidermal tissue trauma.

Perhaps you can find a dermatologist who can discuss resurfacing.

Just know that with time, those upper layers of damaged skin cells will be replaced with new skin cells making your skin look more normal. This natural process of cell renewal can be speeded up by using products like Retin A. There are also laser treatments, fraxel being among them, that resurface the tissue. Start your research and let us know how you are doing.

judging from the healing of my own epilation marks (which among larger holes also consisted of similar pitting in the lower lip) it seems a bit early for such an intense treatment.

First of all, the healing phase should be over, and that lasts more of the order of two years than one. Anything discussed earlier - laser resurfacing, dermaroller and related techniques like fractional lasers or manually perforating the scar tissue with a fine needle are said to work in old scar tissue.

Secondly there is still a chance, that this pitting will go away over time or at least strongly improves.

So - as hard as it might sound: the best seems to be leaving the skin alone or just help it to recover with Retin-A or similar for a long time.
Try to arrange Yourself with these marks (as marks in Your body, not as an outcome of electrolysis, of course). You’ll see them for a long time.

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While I would have used Tea Tree Oil to speed the healing in the first 3 days post treatment, now, I would be using Aloe Vera Gel topically, and ramping up my intake of things containing vitamin C, Vitamin E, Magnesium, and Zinc. These will help the skin heal from the inside out.

These pictures are very upsetting. From the appearance of the lesions and your comments about the equipment “circular disc that I had to lay on (for grounding) and a foot pedal” the machine was most likely a hyfrecator. These are high powered dermatological devices with the ability to remove hair with the right accessories, but they are generally considered too powerful for that purpose. Electrologists (specialists in permanent hair removal) use lower powered devices called epilators expressly designed to remove hair without the side effects you experienced. Do not go back to the doctor that did this to you! James has provided good sound advice on what you can do at home. Keep us posted!

Its days like this that give me flashbacks to the nightmares I had thinking about the doctor that blew off a baby’s penis trying to perform a circumcision with a hyfrecator.

I hear the treatment currents can be a little unpredictable on those as well.