My first thermolysis experience

This Monday I had my first thermolysis session. I had bought some EMLA (wow, it sure is expensive! About 11 US dollars or 89 Swedish crones for only 5 grams!) and intended to put it on my armpits and then some plastic foil around it. What a disaster! I put some EMLA on my left armpit, but couldn’t figure out how to keep it in place with the plastic foil (I should maybe mention that I was very stressed at that point and unable to think clearly, so you won’t think that I’m a big idiot! LOL! <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/tongue.gif" alt="" />). Well, so I had to wash it off. After that, I only had about 2 grams of EMLA left (how typical!), so I put it on my left arm – a place where I knew that I couldn’t fail to keep it in place. Great, so 1,5 hours afterwards I shake hands with the woman that’s going to work on me. She has her practice in the basement of her own house; it’s really cosy and looks clean and fresh.

I laid down on a big bed and was happy to see that she used a magnifying glass. I was prepared to feel a lot of pain when she would start (I’ve had laser done on my forehead before [without EMLA though] and experienced the worst kind of pain I’ve ever felt before), but I could barely tell when she started!! What a RELIEF! I felt barely anything throughout the whole session (1 hour)! I even asked her to try on an area that had not been affected by the EMLA… This was actually a little painful, but still not nearly as painful as the experience I had with the laser. I was a little nervous about the fact that I didn’t feel so much when the EMLA affected area was treated, since I didn’t know if I would notice any tweezing then. And I didn’t either, not by the “feel” anyways, but I could see that she had to “tug” with the tweezers some times, as if the hair was still “stuck”. I don’t know if this happens even the best electrologists sometimes, hopefully it didn’t happen to often this time.

I forgot to ask her what machine she used, but I asked why she didn’t do galvanic and she said that it just was to slow to work with. She wouldn’t have the patience. Although I’d rather get rid of my facial hairs than my arm hairs, I have decided to never touch my face with the thermolysis method, because the risk of scarring and prematuring skin. I’d only choose galvanic to treat my facial hairs, the biggest problem for me now is to find someone who does that.

Anyway, afterwards, she cleaned of my arm with water, alcohol and then put some aloe vera on. The arm was really red and bumpy. Every insertion site could be seen with a red dot, and it still can, although the dots are much smaller now and not bumpy at all. I had some overall swelling yesterday morning, but nothing now. The area seems to form some small scabs, but other than that it seems to be fine. I only use aloe vera, since I got a bad reaction from the tea tree oil when I tested it on a little spot on my hand (the area got really dry and itchy!). I’m still waiting for the witch hazel I ordered from the Internet.

This Friday I’ll have treatment on my right arm. I’ll take photos of the progress this time, and if there’s any interest of it here I’ll also post the pictures on this site.

Thank you all for the answers and thoughts I got on my previous questions. Good to know that it isn’t “dangerous” if the treated area gets in contact with water, so I won’t have to be neurotic about keeping my arm away every time I use water fore some reason. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

I’ll try to keep you posted with my progress!

Best regards,

Hi Miskah:

It would probably be a lot cheaper to buy the Emla in the 30g tube.

As far as keeping the plastic in place under an armpit, you may want to try holding it in place with a rolled towel
or something like that.


Electrolysis is an “invasive” proceedure. We are probing down an indentation in the skin called the follicle to destroy the tissue that feeds and grows hair. We make hundreds of very tiny wounds with the electrical current, so naturally you will have some redness and swelling for awhile,just as you would with any cut or other wound. There are acceptable and unacceptable guidelines for what your skin should look like after a treatment and you sound just fine miskah.

Try using an hypoallergenic cloth ribbon type tape to secure the plastic wrap in place and don’t shake hands with any one,if you can help it.


Ya, thank you for your advices! I did actuallu know there’s a 30 g tube, the thing is that a doctor has to write it out to you. I hadn’t have time to make one do so, untill recently, so know it’s gonna be at least three times cheaper for the amount!
My electrologist also told me to cut out a rectangular shape of the plastic foil and then tape it in place. I hope it will work better next time for me! <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

Dee, thank you for your reassuring input! I’ll try to stay out of all those nasty bacterias as well! <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />

You could try using the blend method on your face–it’s faster than galvanic, slower than thermolysis, and there is less danger of overtreatment and scarring than thermolysis. My skin has very little reaction when using the blend method.

Thank you for your recommendation. I will try to find someone that uses the blend method here where I live. As far as I know there’s no more than two electrologists here though, and they only use thermolysis… Oh, well, maybe I should learn myself to become a galvanic-/blend-using electrologist? <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> Maybe that’s the only way if I don’t move to another place.

Hi Julia:

In Canada we can get Emla without a prescription, but we have to ask for it at the pharmacists desk and tell them what it is for. If I get a prescription it is slightly cheaper however, You may also be able to purchase it over the internet as an option.

Many electrolygists use thermolysis, probably since it is quicker to clear an area. A lot of machines will do blend, and if you discuss it with them they may be able to do that option. It is slower though, as in less hairs able to be treated per treatment session. If someone is a properly trained electrolygist then they would know how to use all 3 methods.


Hi Alicia!
Thank you for your helpful thoughts! I will see if there’s any EMLA to buy cheaper over the internet. I’ve also tried buying Witch Hazel through internet, but it does not seem to work. Do you perhaps know an website that sells witch hazel to countries in Europe?
My electrologist told me that she had learnt galvanic when she went the electrologist education, but she didn’t like it (too slow she says, although the killing rate might be higher) and decided to only go with thermolysis (not even blend). This was 33 years ago (!), so I guess if she learnt how to do it then, she has already forgotten it by far ago now. I also think she uses an old machine (not sure though), and that it can’t do blend also. I’ll try to remember to ask her about it next time anyway.