stop the redness?

after a few months of weekly or twice-weekly treatments on my upper lip with thermolysis, the area now gets bright red right after treatment and stays kind of reddish/pinkish for days. in a noticeable way. you know how when you have a bad cold and have rubbed the area around your nose raw with tissues? it’s sort of that color (though without the rubbed raw look—the skin looks normal). is there anything i can do to tone this color down? it’s getting embarrassing. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/blush.gif" alt="" />

btw, for my aftercare i’m cleaning the area with witch hazel and tea tree oil (which actually makes the area really flare up fire-engine red), and putting lots of aloe. i tried using tend skin since someone here said it helped the redness but it didn’t do anything.
thanks much!

Hi VS.

Just a note here: I would never do twice-weekly appointments on an upper lip. Once a week, well, okay, but I usually space an upper lip client every 1 1/2 to 2 weeks.
For coarser hair, I use a gentle blend with a gold probe followed by flash thermolysis for the less coarser hairs as we near the end of treatment. Most of my clients report the reddness gone within hours.

However, I did have one client describe the same scenario of redness, but it only lasted 24 hours. So perhaps this is just the way your skin reacts to electrolysis???

There have been a few reports in literature of adverse effects of tree tea oil, but this product is considered safe for use on skin. Only a few people have reported a allergic skin reaction. Maybe you should eliminate the tree tea oil as an experiment and see what happens. Go to and search for tea tree oil and allergy if you want more information. I like tea tree oil (100%) personally, however, if your one of of few that are allergic to this stuff, you’ll know it soon enough if you eliminate it from your aftercare routine.

Thanks for your question.


Here is one of those areas where the equipment being used by an electrologist is key. (This is one reason why so many electrologists strangely refuse to identify what make and model of epilator they plan to use on you when you call them on the phone.)

Someone using an old Kree Machine could not treat an upper lip for more than 5 minutes per section at best, and could only hope to treat them once every 3 or 4 weeks in that area. Someone of skill using a 12 MHz computerized machine could work longer, and or more frequently in the same area.

As for the tea tree oil, most people who have reactions to tea tree oil (Melaleuca Alternifolia) are actually reacting to the quality of the product being used. It is typically a reaction to a high level of a compound called Cineole.

Pure tea tree oil contains 48 distinct known compounds, two of which are of critical importance – Terpinene-4-ol and Cineole. Terpinene-4-ol (often called simply terpinene) is believed to be responsible for the healing potential of the oil, while cineole lends its antiseptic qualities. However, since all 48 compounds behave synergistically, variations in processing methods, and even differences occurring naturally in crops from year to year, can affect the quality and efficacy of the oil. For instance, an elevated level of cineole can produce skin irritation and degrade the effects of terpinene-4-ol. For this reason, the Australian Standards Association (ASA) has established certain criteria to ensure quality in manufacturing tea tree oil. According to ASA, quality tea tree oil must contain all 48 constituents, unadulterated; the terpinene-4-ol content must be no less than 30 percent of the entire solution, and the cineole content cannot exceed 15 percent. Typically, most tea tree oils found on the market contain from 35 percent to 45 percent terpinene-4-ol and 5 percent to 10 percent cineole.

Since the standards are a range, most tea tree oil product packages don’t tell you the percentages of these important compounds, and so you may think you are allergic to tea tree, when you are actually just too sensitive to use just any tea tree oil product on the market without regard to cineole count.

For those with high sensitivity to cineole, the products made by Melaleuca are golden. They have two levels of product, one level has a Terpinene count of 36% and Cineole of 5%, while the higher level product has a count of 40% Terpinene and 3% Cineole. I wonder if anybody makes a product that is guaranteed to be terpinene 45/cineole 3.

The problem is, when you go to the store and they have more than one brand of tea tree oil, you don’t know what the counts are on these important ingredients, or even if one brand at this store is a higher quality oil than the others, and which one it might be for that matter, because most brands won’t list their counts of these constituents.

Finally, most people who have treatments by a qualified professional, who is utillizing an updated machine, with good visuals deal with redness that lasts only a small period of time. I tell my clients to expect under most conditions to have redness for anywhere from 3 hours to 3 days. Some report looking like they never had treatment in 30 minutes from leaving my office.

You just have to research where you can, and do the best you can with what is available to you. That goes for tea tree oil as it does with electrologists.

James, I have melaluca trees growing up and down my street… perhaps I should trim them and get the bunsen burnwr and conical flasks out… <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/laugh.gif" alt="" />

Guaranteed potency and purity… 45% / 2% you say… I’ll keep you updated… <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/crazy.gif" alt="" />

BTW, if any of the products are from Australia, let me know, our labelling laws here are somewhat different, we often have to disclose specific volumes/weights… I may be able to get more info on products that are also locally available…



Thank you everyone for your posts. James, your info on tea tree oil is just incredible! It’s too bad that this kind of comprehensive post can’t be filed in a “reference library” section of hairtell because someone searching the forum archives is bound to miss so much great info. I’m going to take your info to a health food store and see if they can help me.

To answer some of your questions: My electrologist uses an Apilus machine. It really is great. Dee: I didn’t suffer from TOO many coarse hairs on the lip…the real problem was sheer volume. Such a dense amount of hair! I was going twice weekly at some points because new growth was overwhelming our efforts to get on top of the situation. (I’m only now finally just about at total clearance.) I never went in twice in a week if my skin was having any adverse reactions.

I’m now thinking that the tea tree oil may be part of the problem, but can hyperpigmentation also be it? Or does that only show up brown?

Thanks again,