When I do electrolysis for hair removal, people ask me how long it will be before their skin return to normal.
Electrolysis cauterises the root of the hair to kill it. The needle is inserted into each individual hair shaft and the current is passed down the need to deliver heat. This, of course, incidentally and temporarily damages the skin surrounding the hair follicle.
How much damage is dependent on how high we have the current, and this depends on how strong the hair is and how much current we need to kill or weaken the hair bulb. If it is a very strong hair we need to turn up the current but if it is simply downy, light hair we can turn the current down. The object of the exercise is to kill the hair root, not just wound it, but we also have to decide how much current you can endure for comfort.
The higher the current, the faster the hair growth will be eliminated but we also have to consider the condition of the skin and how much electrolysis trauma the skin can take. Some people have high pain thresholds and their skin heals fast; and others have low pain thresholds and their skin heals slowly. We also have to consider the skin’s long-term appearance and what condition the skin is going to be in when the treatment is finished.
The immediate effects of electrolysis leave the skin red, swollen, warm and there can be little scabs around the follicle over the next few days depending on the level of current used.
Everyone’s skin healing is different. How fast and well your skin heal depends on your overall health and personal circumstances.
Things that retard skin healing after electrolysis:
Lack of fruit and vegetables in your diet
Lack of sleep
Poor skin care
Bacteria or viral activity
Things that promote skin healing after electrolysis:
Plenty of sleep
Lots of fruit and vegetables
No processed or fried food
Good dental health
No alcoholic beverages
Icing (a packed of frozen peas is best as it moulds to the face or body part) the skin for 10 minutes a time four times on the same day as the treatment
Apply Aloe Vera balm or cream 3 times a day
Apply vitamin E at night
Wash the area gently
Dry by patting, not rubbing
Let the scabs drop off naturally, as opposed to pulling them off.
Leave make-up off on the day of treatment and only cover with mineral powders after the first day
If this all sounds scary, it really is not! Remember, electrolysis is the only way of permanently getting rid of unwanted hair and it has been used very successfully for more than a hundred years.
Here is the good news. If you stay with the treatment, you will be hair-free at the end of the treatment period. The skin will fully recover in a matter of days and weeks. Also, the trauma that the skin suffers during the process increases the production of collagen and elastin, which are the skin-building proteins. So, at the end of the treatment you may actually look younger!
Dr Tracie O’Keefe DCH, BHSc, ND is an aesthetician and naturopath who has been involved in skincare for over 40 years and treated tens of thousands of people.