Pain, swelling and dots after treatment

A few years ago I had electrolysis done on my upper lip with no problems or side effects. Since then, we moved, and foolishly, I did not return to the same practitioner this time.

I had electrolysis done on my upper lip almost a week ago. It was excruciatingly painful, and afterwards she put on no ice or other cooling substance to prevent swelling. She told me any irritation should be gone within 24 hours. By the time I got home my lip was puffy and red with obvious red dots at each place in which she put the needle. The next day, the swelling and pain were still there, and the red dots were worse.

We went away for the weekend during which things did not improve. While away, I bought some Hydrogen peroxide because my lip was getting redder and I was worried that it had become infected. I put on the peroxide (which burned terribly and foamed in each hole) and then covered the area with petroleum jelly to keep out possible contaminants. (I have since read on your site that I shouldn’t have used petroleum products…too late for that!) It was a bit better by the next morning, so I have continued doing this. Unfortunately, it’s now almost a week and I am still experiencing pain…it feels like nerve pain…and still have many, many obvious red dots on my lip.

Does anyone out there have any suggestions of something that might help me? I certainly didn’t expect this!!!

I’d do a couple things here. First, I would call your electrologist and describe the side effects you had and are still having. If she/he isn’t aware of what she has done wrong then she/he would have no way to correct their errors. It’s really a conscientious favor your doing for someone who has goofed. Second, I would let the area heal and get back to normal in appearance and feel. Third, I would definitely get a few more consultations with short sessions of treatment so you can settle on someone’s work that won’t leave you a mess.

Some of these client outcomes are very distressing to hear about. It just doesn’t have to be this way for you or anybody else.

I’m glad that you are aware of some no no’s for aftercare. The hydrogen peroxide may have been too strong for your skin and the petroleum product certainly is not my favorite either. These products could have aggravated your healing skin.

It is really possible to look normal after a week and even much sooner, you just need to find a better electrologist.


Thanks for your reply. I called and left a message on her answering machine.

Although the peroxide burned, I think it actually helped to stop what appeared to be an infection that was setting in. The redness had been increasing for two days after treatment and after the peroxide at least that started to subside.

Do you know if it’s possible that she actually did permanent nerve damage to my face? I still feel discomfort and twinges of pain in the nerves.

Thanks again.


I think you will find that after you have healed completely, everything will feel and look normal again. I really, really doubt that there would be permanent nerve damage, Julie.

This kind of outcome is why the electrolysis profession gets a bad rap. I don’t know about other electrologists, but I answer more questions from apprehensive first timers about scarring and what they can expect to look like after a treatment and for how long. I don’t blame one for feeling a little scared and suspicious because problems do exist. I just have to work harder to reassure a new client and actually demonstrate and prove to them that it doesn’t have to be this way.

I do hope you will find someone that will care for your skin better. Do be realistic and expect some reddness and swelling, but don’t accept swelling, reddness and pain that last longer than 24-36 hours at the most. It really is possible to look back to normal in hours if all the right steps in judgement are taken seriously by your electrologist. ahhmmm. That was a sigh.


Thanks. I just went to the dermatologist because I was getting really worried about the spreading swelling on my face. She says I have an infection and has put me on antibiotics.

I called the electrologist again and she just brushed off the whole thing saying it couldn’t possibly have had anything to do with her treatment!

I would normally suggest going back to the practitioner to allow her a chance eto adjust her settings but in this case I would suggest you find someone else. How many consults did you go on?
It’s been said on here many times before to try as many places as you can and pick the one with the most modern machine, best lighting and magnification and the one that produces the least amount of skin trauma but still makes the hairs slide out nicely…sounds like too much to ask doesn’t it? It is out there so keep searching.

A belated thanks for your feedback…I wish I knew about this site before I went!

It’s obvious to me now that I didn’t go on enough consults! I never should have gone to her. My gut feeling when I walked in was somewhat anxious, so I should have just walked out. I’ll really know better next time.

I still have some pain, but it’s a lot less (after almost 3 weeks of antibiotics)! One side of my face is still a little stiff and I still have dots, hopefully they’ll go away after a few years!

My physicians strongly urged me to call the board of health about her. Both my dermatologist and my internist are sure that that’s where the infection came from. I hate to do that to her, but at the same time, I’d really hate for someone else to have the experience that I had with her.


Geez. An infection? Did she wash her hands and wear gloves? Did you see her open a pre-packaged probe? What do you think caused such an infection like this? This really isn’t a common occurrence after electrolyis is performed. Besides being overtreated on your upper lip, I’m wondering about the hygiene issue here. Aftercare involves keeping the area clean and not touching a newly treated area with your hands for at least 24 hours and no makeup,too. It sounds like you had a doozy of an infection to be on antibiotics for three weeks.


No, I didn’t see her open a package for a new probe. I also couldn’t swear that I saw her wash her hands, although, I can’t imagine that I would have missed that. I think I was nervous and not paying attention. I’m kicking myself over being so stupid about this! I sure have learned to be much more careful next time!

My doctor thinks the continuing pain is caused by nerve damage. He assures me that nerves can take a long time to heal…up to six months and that he would expect the pain to improve gradually until then! My smile is still uneven although probably not noticable to anyone else unless I point it out to them. I still have some dots…who knows if they’ll ever go away!

What an experience!