My Electrolysis Experience

Hi. I’m from Alberta, Canada and new to this forum. I enjoy the posts here and want to add mine. I’ve been plucking facial hair for 15 years since I started getting them after pregnancy. I am 50 and the possibility of being in a situation (hospital visit, long trip) prompted me to look into permanent hair removal. I thought I had about 20 hairs and once I left them alone to prepare for electrolysis was shocked, as everyone is, to find they were in the 100’s. I started my treatment in October and had galvanic. The electrologist, trained in Chile, does all three but prefers galvanic as she feels the other two don’t work very well. I had two 2-hour appointments weekly until the beginning of December. As galvanic is so slow it took that long to get clearance, excluding my lip and sideburns, which she never touched. She told me that the hairs treated would be killed the first time and new hairs would be the result of having more than one hair in the follicle or a hair that was appearing for the first time. I began reading this forum in November and started to have doubts about her claims. But now I’m not so sure. It’s the middle of January and I have only had a few odd hairs show up. These are taken care of in a few minutes every two weeks. Either she is very good or galvanic would seem to be the way to go for a small area. She was expensive but since a lot of the work she did seems to have been a one-time shot it’s starting to look like it was worth it, from a time perspective for sure.

However, I had to stop going to her because she moved. My new electrologist dislikes galvanic preferring blend and flash. She seems very qualified and was even an instructor for many years before going back into private practice with her daughter. I started going to her at the beginning of December and she and her daughter have been doing mainly my upper lip (lots of mostly fine blonde hairs with a few tree trunks), sideburns (long and fine blonde) and leftovers from galvanic. She’s using blend. This is going much slower. I go for an hour every two weeks and they do a clearing. Or it is to them but I’m not sure I agree. I can still feel some coarse hairs and some fine ones after my treatment. I do see progress so perhaps they are sticking to the 1/2 hour only for the lip rule. The pain is tolerable except for under the nose which hurts like heck. I’m using EMLA there so we’re getting through it.

While doing my bi-weekly appointments for my face I also booked additional appointments to do my legs. I have long gross hair on the insides and backs of my thighs, which I hate, so that’s were I started. I had a four-hour appointment with both electrologists, one to a leg doing flash. I didn’t use any EMLA because I thought I could breeze through this. Boy was I wrong. It REALLY hurt. After half an hour they had to apply EMLA to the rest of my thighs. I wasn’t able to get optimal freezing but it helped somewhat. At the two-hour point I was sweating but insisted on going ahead and they were able to finish. The next day my thighs were a sight to behold. They didn’t hurt but where every insert was made was a red bump which turned into scabs within the next few days. I have to admit I perversely enjoyed looking at them because they looked like they should be really painful, but they weren’t at all. Three weeks later the scabs are gone. They are still bumpy and red but that’s my fault. I love to scratch (yes I do know better) and the itchiness from the healing was too much for me to ignore so I’ve spent the last week scratching far too much. The result is that they started to look worse and I got concerned. I stopped scratching and bought some tea tree oil last night and put it on. It stinks but I love this oil. It’s so cooling it’s like putting Vicks Vaporub on. I’m not as itchy today and they look a little less red so I’ll continue with the oil and I promise not to touch. I have another long appointment in February to do a clearing on the second crop that should have appeared by then. It seems like I have a lot of hairs coming out of the follicles that were treated the first time and I’m hoping that it’s a second hair from the same follicle and not a follicle that was zapped and the hair wasn’t removed. I’ll put up with the pain as long as it’s working but to have the pain and not have the hair affected at all is too awful. Also on my next visit I’m going to ask them to turn down the setting; I think it may have been too high painwise. I’m glad that the two of them working were able to get a full clearing in one appointment and that’s why I’ve booked one more long appointment. When I start on my lower legs I am not going to do it the same way, however. Having both legs jolted for that long is just too unpleasant. There is never any respite.

Sorry for the long post but that brings me up to date and I’ll post my updates. I’m very curious to see how the galvanic areas are over the next year compared to the blend areas.

I will also soon be having a different electrologist. My current one is moving out of province so I’ll be trying the new owner in May. I hope I continue to be lucky.

Long Posts are welcomed.
Thank you for your input.
Now put Alberta Canada in the location section of your profile so others will know that you are a person who knows about Alberta Canada.

Welcome to HairTell!

I hope someone can tell me if they have had this experience. As I look closely at the many red bumps left on my thighs I’m noticing that a lot of them have a hair in them still. Tugging on the hair a little with tweezers tells me it’s still attached. How can the area be zapped and the hair remain? What is the percentage of follicles likely to have two hairs in it or to having a new hair growing under the old one? Can anyone tell me what’s going on. I’m supposed to go for another long treatment in three weeks and I don’t want to go if all these hairs are being missed.

Dear Tangarine,

I was so fascinated by your post as there are so few people who share their galvanic experiences.

It is not surprising that you have not come across practitioners who administer galvanic. In my early years as an electrologist, I would talk to colleagues about how wonderful galvanic was but there are many reasons for its unpopularity. One needs the proper education in galvanic to administer its treatment and there is very little of that available. Also, as you have experienced, it takes awhile to get your full clearance and most clients want to see that full clearance as quickly as possible and are willing to experience some of the regrowth that will occur when thermolysis is used.

You experienced something that few electrology clients experience. Practically all of the follicles that were treated with galvanic, needed only that one treatment.

Have you interacated with the Electrolysis Society of Alberta? Ask to speak with Rose and let me know if she or someone else is responsive to you. Tel: 403-730-8778
Tell her about your predicament and ask for her assistance in finding someone who does all 3 methods of electrolysis as this might be more suitable for you.

Would you get back to me and let me know how you are doing? I would love to continue reading about your experiences either here or in private emails.

Dear Tangarine,

The method of electrolysis you had administered to your thighs was flash, correct? Confirm this for me._____

Did you feel tweezed during your treatments? _______

Do your thighs rub together when you walk? _________

How many days was it between the time you had your appointment to the time
you noticed the hairs growing from the area? _____________

Could the hair be from a neighboring follicle that was not treated?

After you answer these questions, I will be able to respond.

Thanks for you help Arlene. I very much appreciate it. In answer to your Flash questions:
Did you feel tweezed during your treatments?_______
I don’t think so. It’s hard to say for sure because the “flash” itself was so painful.

Do your thighs rub together when you walk? _________

How many days was it between the time you had your appointment to the time
you noticed the hairs growing from the area? _____________
Two weeks. (I was thinking about it last night and wondered if maybe the hair was broken and the top was removed and the bottom is still growing.)

Could the hair be from a neighboring follicle that was not treated?
I don’t think so. The hair is growing out of the centre of the red bump.

Regarding your comments about galvanic: I do feel very fortunate with my experience. My sister also went to her and had the same positive outcome. I would have no doubts about continuing with it (and I wish I could) but it isn’t practical time-wise to do my legs with this method. It would take FOREVER. She is also expensive. I’m not sure it would be cost effective either to do my legs. I think it worked out to about the same as blend would have cost for my face however. As I said earlier I would highly recommend galvanic to anyone doing a small area like their lip, chin, bikini line, etc. For me it was also a lot less painful. The pain was easier to tolerate because once the probe was inserted the pain would build slowly to its peak and then subside. With blend, and especially thermolysis, I feel like I’m being bombarded without any rest between.

The electrologist who did the galvanic is still practicing here but because she’s moved to the outskirts of my city instead of being central I don’t have time to get to her office before she closes after work.

Dear tangarine,

I don’t know if flash was painful for you because of the operator’s lack of expertise or because you are used to the sensation of galvanic and feel more comfortable with that.
But first things first - You are going to have to assess if you are being tweezed as this precludes everything else.

You indicate that the hair is growing out of the center of the little bump after 2 weeks. You are indicating that you still have little red bumps after 2 weeks. How long is it taking you to heal? Are you applying anything to the area in your aftercare?

I don’t know why the flash was so painful either but I am going to ask that the level be turned down when I go next. I think it was high because they mentioned how “tough” I was. Since I don’t know for sure if I felt tweezing could you tell me hypothetically why there is a hair in the follicle for both scenarios; the first scenario that I was tweezed and the second that I wasn’t? I know this would be pure speculation on your part but I would like to know what your best guess would be.

It seems to me that it is taking a long time to heal. I am nearing the three week mark (day after tomorrow)and I still have bumps. Not all follicles have bumps but almost every insert point is still red. I didn’t apply anything immediately after I was treated (the electrologist advised leaving the area alone and allowing it to heal itself) but for the last week I’ve been applying tea tree oil and that has helped reduce the redness.

Thanks for taking the time to help me with this. It’s really appreciated.

Embedded hair can occur from electrolysis overtreatment which causes the skin to heal over the follicle opening.

The embedded hair can also be the natural result of tight fitting clothes rubbing against your skin.

UPDATE: I went for a 1/2 hour blend session last night. I’ve been going every two weeks for 1/2 an hour and this was my 4th session. I had quite a bit of work to do on my lip. I think it’s been approximately 8 weeks since I had my lip first cleared so this may be the regrowth from the first clearing. This second regrowth was a little finer and not quite as many. A few hairs taken care of on the sideburns and lower part of my face, maybe 20 altogether and 1/2 of those were sideburns which have only been cleared twice. The majority of the time was spent on my lip. As I’ve always felt tugging when she worked on my lip I’ve been worried that there was some tweezing involved. However, yesterday I noticed that if the hair didn’t come out with a light pull the hair was treated again. The tug doesn’t hurt so it must be the root being pulled through that I feel. I do know that my moustache hairs are coarse and deep. Anyway, so progress is being made on that front. I also had one unibrow hair treated. This one hair will be a good indicator for me on the effectiveness of blend because I know for a fact there is only one and it’s a thick one. I’ve plucked it in the past every few months. It will be interesting to see if it comes back and what it’s texture is if it does. My next face appointment is in 2 weeks.

I also told the electrologist that my legs still had lots of red spots and showed them to her. She didn’t think they were too bad. She did say that they had been treated aggressively. I will say that the spots are fading. The electrologist has had all the hair on her legs removed and she showed them to me. Very very smooth. She said she’d had it done about 15 years ago. She gets the occasional hair showing up but that’s all. Wouldn’t that be heaven. My next thigh appointment is in 3 weeks and I am dreading it. I told the electrologist last night that when I see her for my legs I need the level turned down a little because I don’t think I can tolerate that level again.

Here’s something interesting that I haven’t heard from anyone else. If she uses Madajet (anaesthetic) in her sessions she guarantees you will be hair free in 8 sessions. (I quickly looked under “Tips For Pain Reduction” in your index to get the name of the anaesthetic) and there was a post by Andrea from my electrologist under “Madajet for pain reduction”!!! Is that cool or what?)

I’ll post another update after my next leg appointment. 'Til then.

Arlene Batz is an electrologist goddess. She knows her $hit!

Arlene - I have to agree with the author of this thread. Short wave on the legs can hurt like the dickens, especially on the front of the upper legs where the quadricep muscles are.

But it’s soooooo worth it. Even without the anaesthetic.

No pain, no gain. heh heh heh.

The reason why I do not encourage the use of anesthetics is because the skin is highly permeable and although the anesthetized skin is desensitized enabling a more comfortable treatment, the medication is also circulating throughout the client’s system. I would rather work with the variables that I can control like my machine settings - timing… intensity…

I might be able to adjust my settings without affecting the quality of the treatment.

I read your other posts, hoping to find a clue as to who you are but I am not sure. I am glad that you are pleased with my work.

Thank you.

I think it’s possible to turn the intensity down while using flash, and zap each follicle twice on the same insertion to be sure the follicle is killed…

Ouch? sounds like a shallow insertion. Or for some reason all the current is being dispensed at the surface. Hair growing through the scab. I have experienced this before changing electrology schools. Are you giving up quality for fast? Do you get wet, shower, sauna soon after treatment. Like Arlene I am concerned about the use of Topicals over such a large area you can overdose using so much as an entire leg. They are absorbed into the system and can be toxic.

Galvanic, Thermolysis? To quote Dr. Schuster “in the hands of a skill practicioner it makes no difference.”

I went for a 40 minute blend treatment on my face yesterday and it felt like a lot was accomplished. She worked on the stray hairs here and there on my lower face, a few long sideburn hairs and then the dreaded moustache. I put EMLA on my upper lip but it wasn’t on long enough so the pain from hairs in the middle right under my nose was bad. I had tears running from my eyes. There weren’t too too many in that spot so I perservered. But I have to admit I really dislike getting that area worked on. The electrologist was very pleased with the work that was done. She said some of the hairs were tough but they all came out well and were all in the proper growth phase. She said I would notice really good results from the session. Yea!!! I’m still going every 2 weeks and I have enough hairs in that time to use the full 30+ minutes. When I get to the point where I don’t have enough hair on my face for 30 minutes I’m going to start working on my nipples and a few stray body ones (hairs not nipples).

My next appointment is in a week and a half and that will be for my thighs (as well as 30 minutes on my face). This will be the second clearing on my thighs. The first was done 6 weeks ago. I’ve asked the electrologist to turn down the heat at this next session so I’ll see how that goes. The second electrologist that was going to work with her on my thighs may not be able to do it. If I can’t get two working on one day my electrologist said she’ll do one thigh Friday and the other thigh the next day so I will still get both cleared. It seems to me that this second batch of fresh hair is not as dense as the first go round so maybe that will help to make the session more tolerable. Regardless, according to my electrologist, this should be the last time I need two of them to do a clearing. She said she will be able to clear the regrowth after the next 6 weeks by herself. She said there will likely be 1/2 as many hairs as I had at the first clearing. Won’t that be wonderful. I’m on my way to going out with bare thighs and not having to worry about the hair on them.

I’ll let you know how it went.

Looking at this post again and all of the careful advice. I realize that the emla may be what brought more moisture to the surface and the moisture conducts current. You might not need the emla at a lower slower blend or back to the galvanic. I have experienced first time clearance on my underarms with galvanic it was set at 8 seconds.

I had my appointment for a second clearing on my thighs Friday and Saturday. First we did another clearing on my face which took about ½ an hour the majority of time spent, as usual, on my lip. Not too many under my nose so that was a relief. This is the first time that I’ve had my lip cleared where I haven’t felt coarse hairs left that were too short to grab. My lip is finally smooth to the touch. A big step forward for me.

After my face the leg work began. My electrologist was working by herself this time so we did one leg a day. It took 2.75 hours to clear the right thigh. That’s about half the time it took to clear the first time. I saw her again the next day and the left thigh took about 3.25 hours. Apparently the left is my hairier side. The electrolysis on the first day was still uncomfortable but considerably better than the first time. I noticed that the second day was easier again than the first. I did put EMLA on both days. I think the major difference was that only one person was working this time so I didn’t feel like I was being bombarded. Also, on the second day I put the EMLA on as soon as I got out of the shower while my skin was still damp and it may have absorbed better.

Today is Monday, so 3 days after the first leg was done. I’ve been putting tea tree oil on faithfully. Both legs are all scabby and they’ve been scabby since the day after they were treated. For some reason I’m fascinated looking at them. They look like they’re painful but they’re not. My right leg is starting to itch a little but I promised myself I would not scratch this time.

I made another ½ hour appointment in 2 weeks for my face and an appointment in 6 weeks for my thighs. The electrologist is anticipating that she will be able to clear both thighs next time in the time it took to clear one this time. Even though my thighs are scabby they still look wonderful to me because there is no hair on them. It feels different than when I shave I guess because I know this will eventually be permanent. No hair, no ingrowns, no worry. Today is a happy hair-free day. I’ll update again in 2 weeks.

I haven’t been this itchy since I had chicken pox. I don’t know how much longer I can last. (I scratched a little this morning and it was heaven.) I’ve tried aloe, calomine and tea tree oil but without much relief. Any suggestions?

Have you tried a low-potency aloe corticosteroid cream yet? You can get generic brands in 1/2% or 1% and apply it as the directions say. Use a bland soap like Dove, Cetaphil, or Basis, sparingly, to keep the area clean.


Thanks Dee. I’ll check at the drugstore. I don’t think I’ve seen aloe corticosteroid cream where I live. It is only very recently that we’ve been able to buy .5% cortisone over the counter and we can still only get 1% cortisone by prescription.

I have a question: When my body is making itself so itchy why would it not want me to scratch. I understand about the infection and scarring but I’m wondering if maybe there might be some sort of physiological reason for scratching, e.g. increasing blood flow to the area of the wound maybe…I don’t know. Just wondering. Maybe I should say hoping. I’m a scratcher and I love scratching. This is making me CRAZY!!!