Even destroying such a tiny part of the body as a follicle’s mechanism for regrowing a hair will trigger the body’s healing response and nearly all treatment reactions are simply the body’s healing processes in action. Reactions such as redness, swelling or tiny scab formation should be viewed as the actions of healthy skin repairing itself as fast as possible.
Common treatment area reactions
The treatment area is the site on your skin where probes are inserted to permanently remove problem hair.
- Redness of the skin over the treatment area
- Swelling of the skin in the treatment area and nearby
- Small scab formation over some of the hair follicles where probes have been inserted
- Bruising in or near the treatment area
Common electrode reactions
A damp pad is used as an electrode in electrolysis to return the current used by the probes back to the machine powering them and complete the circuit. The pad is often strapped to an arm or leg. Around the electrode you may experience:
- An Eczema-like reaction
Treatment-area reactions in detail
Redness is caused by blood vessels in the skin expanding to increase blood flow. This helps the body repair damage and remove waste material as fast as possible. This reaction will only last a few hours at most.
Redness can be countered by applying ice packs. These are available at the clinic on request and it is a good idea to have some at home for use as required. Ice works by slightly numbing the treatment area and by triggering the skin’s natural response to severe cold which is to constrict blood vessels.
Your therapist will have applied Melfol Calm Balm to the treated area at the end of your treatment session. This cream forms a protective layer and assists with reducing redness. If possible, do not wipe it off for at least 2 hours after your treatment or reapply it as soon as practicable. Instructions on how and when to apply Melfol Calm Balm at home are provided here.
Swelling is caused by blood vessels deeper in the skin expanding to increase blood flow. Swelling may actually increase in the period immediately after treatment but disappear within a few hours. It is important not to ignore swelling as, especially in more mature skin, swelling can lead to bruising as fine blood vessels leak under the increased blood pressure.
Swelling will reduce rapidly with the application of ice packs to encourage the blood vessels to contract. Ice packs are always available in the clinic on request. Keep some at home to use as required.
Scabbing is a natural part of the healing process though it is more frequent on dry rather than oily skin. Scabs are a protective “scaffold” over the skin to protect it from infection and to retain nutrients where they are most needed. Removing scabs can lead to infection and a slowing of the healing process. In some cases, removing scabs can result in scarring.
The first time you cleanse the skin after treatment you may find what appear to be scabs coming away from the skin. These are most likely only coagulated oils from treated follicles. It is important that scabs that do not come away, or that reappear after this, are left in place.
Regular application of Melfol Calm Balm will assist in the healing process.
Occasionally one or more tiny bruises may appear in the treatment area. These occur when an electrolysis probe affects a capillary (small blood vessel) feeding the follicle.
Expect the bruising to fade over a few days. From feedback from some of our clients, the application of Arnica ointment may speed the process.
Electrode reactions in detail
In galvanic electrolysis, a chemical reaction occurs at both the probe and at the return electrode. Because the electrode is thousands of times the size of the probe and is coated in a conductive gel, any affect on the skin under the electrode is dissipated over this large area and usually negligible.
Occasionally, and mainly in dry skin, the area under the electrode may become irritated. The symptoms: itching, redness or an eczema like response, are all degrees of the same skin irritation. This reaction may be minimised or prevented in advance by applying moisturiser daily between treatments to the area where the electrode will be placed.
Treatment with a mild steroid cream such as hydrocortisone 0.5% (eg: Dermaid Cream by Ego Pharmaceuticals) may help to settle the reaction if it occurs.
Very rarely the reaction to the electrode may be more severe resulting in a minor “burn like” reaction. Please tell your therapist immediately if you experience such a reaction to the electrode.
Previous Topic: Skincare After Electrolysis