Is sub-par electrolysis better than nothing?

Hi all

I joined this forum a few weeks after I begun reading it. I had an awakening almost 3 months ago that helped me realize that if you ignore your problems, they don’t go away. So I decided to finally research for an electrologist in my area. I had known about electrolysis being the only permanent hair removal method since 2007, the year I was diagnosed with mild PCOS. I always knew I was hairier than other girls, but I spent many years ashamed of myself and wishing things were different. I didn’t even remove the hair on my face until 2010. It was so hard to face the fact that I was hairy and had a hormonal problem. I just kept wishing the problem away.

Anyhow, I have seen 3 electrologists in my area so far. The first lady was very nice and explained electrolysis to me well. However, she was very expensive compared to everyone else in my area and the sessions were painful. Second lady was plucking about 30-50 % of the time. The third lady was almost going to work. She was the first one whose insertions I didn’t feel. However, when I went back a second time, it was as painful as the first lady, and she wasted a lot of time adjusting her gloves and applying lotion to the area. I wasn’t satisfied.

I found one more lady in my area I will try on Wednesday. After that, I am waiting for a different electrologist in another part of the state who is supposed to be really good, but she doesn’t have any openings yet.

My question is: If this 4th lady doesn’t work out, is sub-par electrolysis where I feel the insertions BETTER than nothing, in your opinions? If this lady doesn’t work out, I’ll just be going back to using a bikini razor on my face until I find a miracle worker electrolysis.

Please let me know your thoughts.

I think there’s a couple things you should be asking yourself.
Feeling the insertions is less than ideal. But, my question would be whether you are feeling the hair taken OUT.
Pain is pain, but mostly it’s irrrelavant.
What you need to be asking yourself, is not if you are feeling the insertions, not whether you are feeling pain. It’s whether you think the electrologist is SUCCESSFULLY KILLING HAIR. Even if an electrologist has a low kill rate, eventually electrolysis will work and remove all the hair. The higher kill rate is what you really are after, and your best measurement of that is whether you are feeling the hair extracted.


Thank you, Seana. I don’t remember feeling the hair being taken out when I went to the 1st or 3rd ladies. I did have a lot of swelling, redness and a hundred little red bumps after they worked on me, though. Now that I think about it, it has taken two weeks for all the pus-filled bumps to dissipate after my session with the 3rd lady. I don’t know how clean her equipment was. She seemed frazzled and she wasn’t certified (you don’t have to be in VA) so maybe she’s fuzzy on how to properly disinfect.

I guess this thread is really for me to think about DIY electrolysis. If their kill rate is going to be slooow and cost me thousands of dollars, I might as well practice on myself and save myself the disappointment. The earliest the good electrologist will open up consultations is July, last I spoke with her.

Well I’d be the last to talk someone out of DIY.I will say its no where near as easy as it might seem.Oh my goodness my first insertions were slow. I was lucky if I did a hair a minute!Then there is under the jawline,which you’ll absolutely HAVE to have someone else work on you.

Money wise I probably DID save some money. However I worked relentlessly, doing electrolysis in some cases 10 hours a day. I wasnt working so I had the time, and not the money.And the money I did save is tempered by the fact I did have serious upfront costs, those of a machine, probes, memory card, and other supplies which even early on I calculate easily cost me 1200-1500 dollars .
Then finally there is the risk factor. I could easily have screwed up far worse than your last electrologist.I didnt , but that wa largely because of the help and advise of some of the top pros here who were supportive.

As for cleanliness, well admission time. While when working on others I follow strict protocols for sterilizing tweezers and keeping probes sterile, even scrubbing down probe holder caps . I’ve yet to go as far as saran wrapping my machine, but others have done so, and it’s recommended by the health department.No kidding!The recommend saraning the probe holder an annode wire too.
However when working on myself, I follow almost NONE of these procedures. I dont sterilize my tweezers between sessions unless they were used on someone else. I reuse probes and keep them in an open container or in the probe holder, sometimes for DAYS at a time until they are no longer useable because they have been too badly bent out of shape.
In all the time I worked on myself, I have NEVER seen puss filled pustules on my face like that. I’d be more curious if there is another cause, either too much energy applied or a allergic reaction to the metal in the probe, or to teatree oil or other substance used in aftertreatment.These to me seem like more likely causes.
In some countries re-using probes or failing to sterilize tweezers is actually considered acceptable. To be honest, as soon as you use them once, they are no longer sterile.YOUR SKIN is not sterile, or anything close to it. Food for thought.

You wont make huge amounts of progress even if you start today before your first electrologist is back. However if you DIY there is ONE key thing you will have gained, that is you will have learned a new skill. For me it’s a skill that even gives me a tiny little side income which was desperately welcomed. It’s possibly if you decide to DIY you may decide later to follow up and try and work in the field. To me , having a new skill, one that could potentially pay bills in the long run is invaluable.


I think I have a lot of research to do before I take the plunge into DIY electrolysis. I definitely wouldn’t want to work on my face, since I know I’m impatient and will likely screw something up. It seemed to me from skimming the DIY forum that you could get a machine for around $500, which is what I was hoping to invest.

I have an appointment tomorrow with another electrologist, the fourth I’m going to see. I hope it goes well enough that I can keep going to her until the good electrologist opens up. I keep dreaming of finding a great electrologist so I won’t have to experiment on myself with DIY just yet!

Thanks for all your DIY info. I will definitely be needing your help should I find myself joining the DIY club.

Wanted to respond to the pus-filled pimples i got after electrolysis: this happened twice, once when I wasn’t using any sort of astringent and the second with this 3rd electrologist who kept using aloe on my face. I used tea tree oil at home, but only after the pus-filled bumps were still there after 5-6 days. I guess it could be that I’m allergic to something, or both of the electrologists had unclean equipment? I don’t know. It could be a combo of both. Although I’m certain I’m not allergic to aloe ( i used to blend it in a smoothie and eat it).

Puss filled bumps would have more to do with debris left in the follicle, or insertions that broke the skin than unclean equipment. The probes are usually single use, and opened from a sterile package at beginning of the appointment. The forceps/tweezers are sanitized and in many cases don’t actually touch your skin during treatment anyway.

Had you used the tea tree oil immediately after treatment, you likely would not have ever had any bumps, as it would have taken care of any necrotic tissue overnight and during the 3 day window we recommend applying tea tree oil at bed time.

So immediate use of tea tree oil is how to prevent the ugly bumps from coming to fruition. Ok. None of my electrologists mentioned that. One mentioned using witch hazel would be good to use on my nose after treatment.

I’m pretty sure the 3rd electrologist just wiped the tweezers with an alcohol wipe. I still don’t want to go back to her though.

This fourth electrologist I went to last Wednesday is the first one who uses a timer! She did my eyebrows since I had left them unplucked for two miserable months. I was amazed at the results. No pain and very little skin reaction afterwards, just some white pustules. Tomorrow is the true test for me, because I want to go back to working on my upper lip; the most painful of places. Wish me luck that things go well! I have a long road of electrolysis ahead of me for all the areas that need work.

So I just got back from my second session with my 4th electrologist. sigh I felt plucking perhaps 50% of the time. Here’s how it went:

Insert probe: little to no pain for most areas. Under the nose was very painful though.

Zap of electricity: bearable amount of pain

Tug on hair: painful about half the time. So that means there was plucking OR the hair was in the resting phase?

All I know is that I keep reading on here that there should be a slight tug, not pain, when the electrologist tugs on the hair.

It’s too bad. She was very nice, clean, fair (she gave me a discount because we stopped a few minutes shy of an hour) and she was overall my favorite electrologist so far. But I can pluck at home and for free.

Please tell her what you feel. Give her a chance. First appointments can be nerve wrecking for both.

Hi Dee,

I did mention to her that I stopped seeing other electrologists because of plucking or painful insertions. She said that I would feel a tug on the hair if it was in the resting phase because the root is dried up. I’m pretty sure that’s what the other electrologist said, too, when I asked why I could feel some of the hair removal after she had zapped the follicle. That isn’t what I understand from reading on here… once you zap it correctly, the hair should slide out with no pain, right?

Maybe I will book a shorter appointment and let her know what I felt. Or I will call her before booking another appointment.

Thanks for your response!

This is my biggest mistake (sub-par electrolysis).

I should post a picture of the backside of my right arm. RIDDLED with PIH still. These spots are 6 months old.

I don’t know the OP’s personality, but if you were ever self-conscious about your hair growth - imagine being self-conscious about PIH spots.

I don’t wear t-shirts anymore.


Forgot to say: think about yourself. You’re a client who is getting a cosmetic treatment (but one that can have psychological ramifications as any cosmetic treatment can).

Make sure you do what’s best for you. Your electrologist isn’t your buddy. They will continue to treat clients and you will be stuck/happy with whatever results you got from them.

Instead of sticking it out with someone you’re unsure of, make sure you see OTHER electrologists at least for a consultation.