Q for James and everyone!


I think I got skin/collagen damage from electrolysis… :frowning: Unfortunately, i received electrolysis during my retin-a/tretinoin treatment. My compexion is so different right now: i have many small pits (pore looking) that create wrinkles…plus some intended scars…
Do you think those pits, scars, and wrinkles will fanish in time? Will retin-a or alpha lipoic acid help? What else I can do?
James, I remember you said: “Personally, my face even healed up from the bad electrolysis that I have had in my life”. Did you have the same skin problems/damage after electrolysis as me? How long it took your skin to heal up evenly?
All my life I was fighting with skin allergies, oilyness, facial hair… And now I got scars and wrinkles on top of that…I am so so dipressed!
I will appreciate any help/advice/information from the members of this forum.
p.s sorry for my English (my second language)


I’m not butting in on James, but am curious to know how many electrolysis sessions did you have and the intervals between each treatment, how coarse and close together were the hairs on your face and do you know what modality or electrolysis was used (blend or thermolysis)? Do you think the electrologist scattered her/his work or was a small section treated only each time. Also, why were you using retin A (acne only?)

Did your physician order any blood tests to determine if there was a hormonal imbalance?

By the way compari, your English is fine.


You can’t “butt in” on James here, because as it happens, James is just too busy to answer every question posed to him here, and it was never the intention of Andrea nor myself that I be the only electrologist covering these pages.

Thanks go out to all the fine folks who have headed the call to volunteer their precious time to answer a question or five and thus help our viewers, and the industry as a whole in the process. It would be nice to have more participation from more practitioners in this endeavor.

Other than the pigmentation I got from the laser patch test that I got, I never had any damage that lasted longer than perhaps 6 months. Most was gone in 3 months or less. I had one client who had horrible treatment on the upper lip that was leaving wrinkling and pitting before a friend dragged her in to my office. I left the lip alone so that it could heal up some (she had been having weekly treatments with the “sparkmeister”) and started her out with treatments clearing out her chin, cheeks and neck. After about three months, I started in on her lip and we finished in the normal time. It is now three years later, and although one can tell the difference between the areas that I worked on and the areas that were seriously overworked, it is no longer the difference between a pock marked prune and velvety soft skin. It is more like smooth skin all over with some difference in color in the formerly overtreated area. At least the surface is now smooth and the wrinkles have lessened considerably. It looks no worse than a career smokers pucker lips.

If you can answer the questions posed by D. Fayhey, I am sure she/he can be more help to you.


dear dfahey and James,
thank you very much for your time and willingness to help and answer my questions! I really really appreciate it!
dfahey, here is some information about my treatments:

  • i use retin-a for sundamaged skin. i have occasional pimples too (2-4 at a time, usually inflame) especially before the periods of course.
  • i didn’t see any docs since i am too embarrassed to tell anyone about my problems. one time i told my derm. about facial hair but she didn’t really listen (under makeup, with some distance,
    and some type of light my hair is not that visible)
    -my facial and neck hair are the mix of fuzz AND long, thin, grey/smoky color (not black) hair.
    the long and grey hair are on average about 1 mm (no more than 2 mm) apart from each other
  • i saw my electrologist once a week (every week) and never treated the same spot on my face more than 1 week in a row since it takes some time for skin to heal. Although I treated my undearms every week but without any problems.
    -not sure about the type of electrolysis (will ask Jan.21 when see my electrologist). usually it takes 1-2 seconds to treat one hair…modality (“power”?) for the face 2-4 where 8 is max… i use 5 for underarms area.
  • my electrologist scattered her work if the area was big ( the area close to my ears and hair line, for example). but if the area was small and i asked her to “kill everything you see”, then she treated small area at a time.
    -the most scarred, wrinkled and pitted skin is the area below the cheeks(mouth level) and on the right side of the lips.

i hope i didn’t miss anything…thanks again! :smile: really!


Hi compari.

The information you gave is very helpful.

Receiving electrolysis while on Retin-A can be okay if inflamed areas are avoided. One has to be careful,however, not to overtreat with thermolysis (heat only). It sounds like your electrologist uses thermolysis. It appears as though your person for the most part was scattering the work and being careful not overtreat most areas.

The area around the mouth or lip line is a challenge and can get agressively treated, as those hairs seem to be super glued into the follicle sometimes. Slow, low thermolysis or blend can be helpful here. Insist on scattering - get every third hair for example, so as to not overtreat.

Don’t let treatment happen on areas that are inflamed. It needs time to heal! You know your body, so direct your person away from these places and concentrate on areas that are stable. At least your’re moving forward.

Actually, if you have pitted scars, wrinkles, hypopigmentation (white spots), treatment can consist of using alphy-hydroxide cream or Retin-A peel, if prescribed by your physician.

Giving overtreated areas time to heal can take anywhere from 3 months to as long as a year in some cases.If the area near your mouth and right side of your lip looks scarred after 12 months, you may have to consult with your dermatologist to discuss other therapy (dermabrasion? chemical peel?) Speaking of which, I’m not surprised about your derm’s reaction to your unwanted hair concern. Since hair doesn’t kill you, most doctor’s hardly listen to a patient’s plea for assistance.

I would keep moving forward on unaffected areas like your neck, closely observing your skin reaction and healing time (less than a week it should look normal and don’t judge that by using a magnifying mirror!). Insist that the work be scattered on neck area,too.

Lastly, since you were prescribed the Retin-A for sun damage, I’m sure you understand very well to avoid or protect your skin, SPECIFICALLY THE COLLAGEN AND ELASTIN, from the “evil” sun from this day on. Pass this along to the younger ones in your life, and hope they will truly, truly, comprehend before it’s too late!