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#123522 - 02/21/17 02:46 PM Facial electrolysis experience + questions
ABetterDay Offline
Member

Registered: 02/16/17
Posts: 8
Hi all,

I had my first electrolysis (thermolysis) experience exactly a week ago. I have dense, coarse hair on my sideburns/cheeks and chin that I want removed. Previously I had been shaving the area since there are too many hairs to pluck individual ones. I now know this is the best possible thing I could have done as far as electrolysis results.

I must say, it was painful. It felt like a needle shot every time the practitioner would treat a hair. A few times she would have to treat a hair two or three times before it came out without resistance. I was supposed to be there for an hour but I'm thinking it wasn't up to that and I was ready for it to be over so I didn't question her when she said we were done. Looking back, it irks me that it seems she talked about my treatment for a good while but the actual treatment wasn't as long as what I was paying for.

The other huge issue I had was with the swelling, and a minor issue with hyperpigmentation (which I know will go away, but may take a long time). After treatment I had welts on both sides which I covered with my super curly, big hair. Day 1/24 hours after, however, it was welts and major swelling near the cheekbones. My boyfriend claimed it wasn't "that bad" but I noticed people I knew kept giving me double takes. Day 2/48 hours after was even worse -- the swelling went down closer to my mouth. It was extremely noticeable and chipmunk-like. A family member who didn't know about the treatments asked what I was eating and if they could have some. I also had tiny scabs. Day 3/72 hours was a little better than the second but still swollen. The scabs were going away but using make-up it looked like acne/uneven skin. Around Day 4 it was a little swollen but not as noticeable, still uneven. Finally by Day 5, no swelling but hyperpigmentation where the welts were.

My next session is in a couple of days to tackle a good chunk of what's left of my sideburns. Despite all of my reactions I will not stop treatment because, for the first time in 15 years I don't have hair growing in the treated areas. It is only a week later but even when I had few hairs earlier on as a teenager, the couple of times I plucked them there was hair growing in the same spot 2-3 days later. With shaving hair is back in 24 hours. So I know she must be killing the follicle. She told me that I would need weekly treatments but seeing as there is no hair a week later, I doubt that I will need these after my sideburns and chin are cleared.

My questions are:

1. Would taking ibuprofen before the next session prevent swelling of this magnitude? If not, what will?

2. Is this level of swelling and marks/pigmentation normal and when it will go away?

Sorry for the long post; I didn't realize how long it was becoming.

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#123526 - 02/21/17 06:43 PM Re: Facial electrolysis experience + questions [Re: ABetterDay]
dfahey Offline

Top 10 Contributor

Registered: 10/27/03
Posts: 9556
Loc: Columbus, Ohio
Taking ibuprofen might be helpful, just don't take it on an empty stomach.

What you described, as far as skin reaction, is totally normal! YES! Do not worry. The first several treatments are always the roughest, but it will get better and better.

If you can get cleared each time, you will know that something good is happening around month 5 or 6. Stay with it and you will be be very happy. Stay patient, too.
_________________________
Dee Fahey, R.N., C.T.
Licensed by the State Medical Board of Ohio for Nursing license and Cosmetic Therapy/Electrolysis license
_____________________
ELECTROLYSIS FAQ'S:

British Institute & Association of Electrolysis

http://www.electrolysis.co.uk/?page_id=16

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#123548 - 02/26/17 08:20 PM Re: Facial electrolysis experience + questions [Re: ABetterDay]
ABetterDay Offline
Member

Registered: 02/16/17
Posts: 8
Thank you for your reply dfahey! I saw the reply earlier but I wanted to wait until I received my second treatment to reflect.

Unfortunately, the ibuprofen did not do much to ease the swelling. The swelling actually started an hour after treatment, which was earlier than before. And this time it was lopsided, hard, and lumpy, e.g. one side of my face was completely enlarged with a lump that felt and looked heavy and sagging, while the other side was also enlarged but less so.

My electrologist doesn't seem to think swelling is an issue and said that I will have swelling because of the higher current and it will go down in a reasonable timeframe. However, it is taking at least 3 days these two times. I work in an environment where I meet clients every day and presentation is very important. I feel deformed and very self-conscious about my appearance constantly because of this.

I bought arnica to perhaps help with the swelling but it did nothing either. I have another appointment in 4 days with another electrologist who works at the place and I'm hoping she won't leave me with the same swelling.

I don't want to end treatment and I like the results of no hair but the swelling is beginning to get to me. I wish there were a way to lessen these side effects without compromising results.


Edited by ABetterDay (02/26/17 08:21 PM)

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#123549 - 02/27/17 12:33 AM Re: Facial electrolysis experience + questions [Re: ABetterDay]
Michael Bono Offline

Top 10 Contributor

Registered: 01/11/11
Posts: 3115
Loc: Santa Barbara, CA USA
We have no way of knowing if your swelling is within normal ranges. My own take is that because I see you have multiple complaints; I would therefore suspect that the swelling is, as your boyfriend says, "not that bad."

If we have a patient with clinical abnormal swelling (very rare), the physician will prescribe Betamethasone Valerate (0.1% cream). This is a medium-strength topical corticosteroid and will virtually eliminate the swelling. Follow the doctor's directions for use. (Mostly use it ONE time only ... and only on the specific treated area.)

BTW ... you cannot develop hyperpigmentation in 24-hours.

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#123550 - 02/27/17 02:27 AM Re: Facial electrolysis experience + questions [Re: ABetterDay]
Iluv2zap Offline
Top 10 Contributor

Registered: 11/19/14
Posts: 1028
Sorry I've been away getting things going at my new clinic, so I meant to get to your question a couple days ago.

I would like to add that your expectations of "one and done" is completely off target.It sounds like your electrologist is trying to educate you properly on the process, so listen to her . It takes a series of treatments over 9-18 months to clear any area on the body permanantly. I just dont want your expectation to hit reality to be a shock.
As Michael points out,we cant really tell all that much from a description alone. A quality picture really helps us to see what you are talking about. In the meantime we can only guess as to your symptoms.
Some places on the face are quite painful, most especially the upper lip right under the nose and just under the lower lip.I've got a little blurbI'd like to share with you regarding pain and discomfort control. It's a cut and paste from my site:
Is electrolysis painful? What can you recommend to reduce discomfort?

In general the discomfort felt from electrolysis treatments is fairly tolerable. Some areas are more comfortable that others and the amount of discomfort felt is individual.
​Inquiries about reduction of discomfort in electrolysis is a question we receive often at the clinic . We utilize multiple techniques to reduce discomfort and to make treatments more tolerable.
The number one step to reduce discomfort is to reduce stress on mind and body. Stress of all kinds serves to increase the response to discomfort and pain. For this reason we recommend taking direct steps to reduce stress of all kinds immediately before an appointment. Stressful reviews at work, and stress in the home, are a good reason to be booking your electrolysis appointments at another time.
Getting enough sleep the night before your appointment will help to reduce stress and discomfort, and allow for longer duration electrolysis sessions.
Forms of distraction can help to reduce discomfort. These can include music over headphones, use of a stress ball, and several other techniques.
Caffeine, like stress, can serve to heighten the body’s response to pain or discomfort, and should be reduced or eliminated in the 24 hours prior to an appointment.
All forms of electrolysis utilize moisture in the follicle and the more moisture that is present provides for better results, and also serves to reduce discomfort. For this reason we do recommend that you are sufficiently hydrated. This is of important note most especially to our transgender clients who utilize spironolactone as an antiandrogen. Spironolactone reduces moisture in the body and you must be careful to stay hydrated. This can also be overdone however, and should be done in moderation.
A Tylenol or Ibuprophen taken 20-30 minutes before an appointment can help reduce pain.
Topical anesthetics such as EMLA or 5% Lidocaine applied to the skin before an appointment can reduce or eliminate discomfort, but caution should be used. 5% Lidocaine in the “Xylecaine” brand can be purchased at most Walmarts for approximately $15 at the pharmacy counter, EMLA costs approximately $80 at Shoppers Drug Mart. Occlusion should be used (plastic wrap over the skin to prevent the anesthetic cream from rubbing off on clothing and surroundings). We recommend using Glad Press n Seal wrap for this purpose as it can be cut to shape and sealed against the skin in uncovered areas. While generally safe, we recommend you do not cover an area larger than an A4 piece of paper, and summon medical assistance in the case of a rare adverse reaction. Lidocaine and EMLA work better the longer beforehand they are applied, up to 2 hours before to get maximum effect.
Discomfort increases with the length of the session, but tolerance increases over time and is particular to the individual. Some may find long sessions quite tolerable, while others will have more difficulty. For this reason we normally recommend new electrolysis clients book appointments of an hour or less, and then allow for longer sessions as they are able to.

Late night, and I have to dash off but I'll add some more when I am able to

Seana
_________________________
Seana Richmond
Certified Electrologist.
Electrolysis By Seana
http://electrolysisbyseana.com

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#123553 - 02/27/17 09:01 PM Re: Facial electrolysis experience + questions [Re: Michael Bono]
ABetterDay Offline
Member

Registered: 02/16/17
Posts: 8
Originally Posted By Michael Bono
We have no way of knowing if your swelling is within normal ranges. My own take is that because I see you have multiple complaints; I would therefore suspect that the swelling is, as your boyfriend says, "not that bad."


My swelling looked similar to this on the second day after my first treatment, minus the eyes.

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/cd/4b/a6/cd4ba62766b4fe3bc1cc53f48944392c.jpg

My swelling after the second treatment was similar, except mostly on one side, hard, and lumpy.

I think my boyfriend was just being kind. My friends and family members asked me what I was going to do about it and whether I was going to go about my activities as normal.

Originally Posted By Michael Bono
BTW ... you cannot develop hyperpigmentation in 24-hours.


I developed hyperpigmentation by Day 5, as I wrote in the original post.

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#123554 - 02/27/17 10:12 PM Re: Facial electrolysis experience + questions [Re: Iluv2zap]
ABetterDay Offline
Member

Registered: 02/16/17
Posts: 8
Originally Posted By Iluv2zap
Sorry I've been away getting things going at my new clinic, so I meant to get to your question a couple days ago.

I would like to add that your expectations of "one and done" is completely off target.It sounds like your electrologist is trying to educate you properly on the process, so listen to her . It takes a series of treatments over 9-18 months to clear any area on the body permanantly. I just dont want your expectation to hit reality to be a shock.


I'm aware of that. I did do months of research before starting this, including reading many of the posts by major contributors here; I wouldn't jump into this blindly.

What I meant by that statement was I don't think I will need weekly treatments as she thought in the beginning. I still have no hairs in the first treatment area (tomorrow will be 2 weeks post). I asked her on the second treatment if about every 2-3 weeks would be okay after the initial clearance and she said yes, so she must have changed her mind. I know that new hairs will grow in and some may grow back in a thinner, weaker state so I will need to maintain the area by having regular treatments. I'm okay with that.

Thank you for the blurb. I have been stressed lately so I will try to reduce it.


Edited by ABetterDay (02/27/17 10:27 PM)

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#123556 - 02/28/17 11:44 AM Re: Facial electrolysis experience + questions [Re: ABetterDay]
Iluv2zap Offline
Top 10 Contributor

Registered: 11/19/14
Posts: 1028
If you had been plucking beforehand, she may have recommended weekly treatments as a way to get to the hair, before you grab the tweezers. This is a common strategy but it works well with dysphoria too. Some people get really uncomfortable about ANY amount of hair on their face and to them, going two weeks without a treatment would be an eternity. It doesnt sound like you particularly mind a hair or two for a few days and if that's the case a biweekly strategy would work fine.I would urge you however to listen to what your electrologist advises she really does have your best treatment interests at heart.

Seana


Edited by Iluv2zap (02/28/17 11:47 AM)
_________________________
Seana Richmond
Certified Electrologist.
Electrolysis By Seana
http://electrolysisbyseana.com

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#123557 - 02/28/17 11:49 AM Re: Facial electrolysis experience + questions [Re: ABetterDay]
Iluv2zap Offline
Top 10 Contributor

Registered: 11/19/14
Posts: 1028
Abetterday really, a picture of your skin after treatment can tell us more than some self comparison picture of a guy after being beat up. If you arent prepared to show us that, I understand, but I'm letting you know a simile picture isnt helpful. We'd need to see the actual skin to tell you anything.


Edited by Iluv2zap (02/28/17 11:51 AM)
_________________________
Seana Richmond
Certified Electrologist.
Electrolysis By Seana
http://electrolysisbyseana.com

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#123558 - 02/28/17 03:32 PM Re: Facial electrolysis experience + questions [Re: ABetterDay]
dimi Offline
Contributor

Registered: 02/14/17
Posts: 44
Loc: Montreal, Canada
I agree with Iluv2zap.
Make a close up picture without flash right after treatment and a picture after 24 hours. If you do that you will receive adequate opinions from many electrologist from this site.

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#123575 - 03/06/17 01:39 PM Re: Facial electrolysis experience + questions [Re: dimi]
Mags77 Offline
Member

Registered: 05/08/14
Posts: 4
Loc: Munster, Ireland
Regarding the issue with working in a public environment and slow healing/swelling I would reccomend you you pick a day close to weekend that way you have a couple of days to recover. I always reccomend applying ice to area in a sealed container(zippy bag/sandwich bag) to hold the ice. if you can apply immediately on your way home it seems to reduce swelling and cools the area quickly so that healing can begin.
Is it possible you might have a nickle allergy ? (to the needles)??
_________________________
www.edenelectrolysisclinic.com
(Available for Marathon Sessions)

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#123608 - 03/14/17 08:43 PM Re: Facial electrolysis experience + questions [Re: Iluv2zap]
ABetterDay Offline
Member

Registered: 02/16/17
Posts: 8
Originally Posted By Iluv2zap
If you had been plucking beforehand, she may have recommended weekly treatments as a way to get to the hair, before you grab the tweezers. This is a common strategy but it works well with dysphoria too. Some people get really uncomfortable about ANY amount of hair on their face and to them, going two weeks without a treatment would be an eternity. It doesnt sound like you particularly mind a hair or two for a few days and if that's the case a biweekly strategy would work fine.I would urge you however to listen to what your electrologist advises she really does have your best treatment interests at heart.

Seana


I didn't pluck, like I said in the first post, because my hair is dense and thick. To give you an idea, I have my 5th appointment/hour in two days, and my sides will hopefully finally be cleared. The only area I've plucked were my cheeks which have ~7-10 thicker hairs showing at any given time but I haven't done so in years. Oddly enough that is the only area from my first treatment that now has hairs showing on it again, so it is a good point you make.

I'm not comfortable posting pictures for a couple of reasons. One, privacy. Two, because the electrologist is well-known and when you search her name or her office, this forum comes up on the first page. I don't want her to see this and take it the wrong way because she can be defensive when I tell her about my issues as if I am blaming her, which I am not. I would not mind sending pictures privately, however. Right now I am not swollen and the last appointment went well since it was covering the area closer to my ears so the swelling that appeared was not noticeable with my hair down. It was with another electrologist in her office though, who I noticed uses a different machine (Apilus). The swelling is the same but the pain during treatment is much less than the first two treatments which were done with an older, wood panel machine I don't recall the name of. She also does cataphoresis for the swelling and sting, which is soothing but I don't know if it helps much with swelling.

The swelling in the photo was as a result of a car crash, but yes, I think I did look like I'd been beaten up the first couple of times. It is true that I do not mind a few hairs or even a little swelling but this is not a little.

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#123609 - 03/14/17 08:54 PM Re: Facial electrolysis experience + questions [Re: Mags77]
ABetterDay Offline
Member

Registered: 02/16/17
Posts: 8
Originally Posted By dimi
I agree with Iluv2zap.
Make a close up picture without flash right after treatment and a picture after 24 hours. If you do that you will receive adequate opinions from many electrologist from this site.


Thank you. After my next treatment in a couple of days I will take pictures and send to anyone interested.

Originally Posted By Mags77
Regarding the issue with working in a public environment and slow healing/swelling I would reccomend you you pick a day close to weekend that way you have a couple of days to recover. I always reccomend applying ice to area in a sealed container(zippy bag/sandwich bag) to hold the ice. if you can apply immediately on your way home it seems to reduce swelling and cools the area quickly so that healing can begin.
Is it possible you might have a nickle allergy ? (to the needles)??


Thanks, yes, I'm now doing the treatments on Thursdays. I work on weekends as well though and I usually have one day off during the week.

I'm given ice packs in a ziplock bag after every treatment but I don't know if it helps.

A nickel allergy? Interesting idea! I was very allergic to nickel when I was younger. I haven't thought about it in a long time because my mother had me wearing gold jewelry only since grade school. I'm going to ask my electrologist about it.

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#123630 - 03/16/17 02:55 PM Re: Facial electrolysis experience + questions [Re: ABetterDay]
Iluv2zap Offline
Top 10 Contributor

Registered: 11/19/14
Posts: 1028
There are gold probes available if you have a nickel allergy. One concern is they are better for blend than they are for high intensity thermolysis ( such as synchro on a apilus) .They are not an insulated probe but they are hypoallergenic.I've never heard of "insulated" gold probes though I suppose such could exist. I like the ballet ones very much.
_________________________
Seana Richmond
Certified Electrologist.
Electrolysis By Seana
http://electrolysisbyseana.com

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#123973 - 05/12/17 06:30 PM Re: Facial electrolysis experience + questions [Re: ABetterDay]
ABetterDay Offline
Member

Registered: 02/16/17
Posts: 8
Hi Seana,

Thanks for the reply. I see you have decided to no longer post but hopefully you are still reading. If you (or anyone else) would still like to see photos, you can send me a PM and I will send one. I'll just use this area to update my treatment progress.

I just finished my 10th treatment/11th hour. I asked my electrologist about the probe and she said it is not made of nickel. So I am not sure why the swelling is the way it is but I noticed it is less if the area has been treated once before.

One thing that did help was epsom salt. I applied it after my second to last treatment at the recommendation of my electrologist and the next day I had no swelling. This treatment my face was swollen before leaving the office and the salt did not take down the swelling later. So I took the day off because I had an extensive 2 hour treatment to get the regrowth on my sides and begin the area under my chin.

Anyway, I'm still overall pleased with my treatment. I'd rather be swollen than hairy and I've struggled with hair for so long that it's nice to see real progress. Much of the hair on my sides has not grown back but the ones that have (and she treated yesterday) are much, much softer and less noticeable. I'm able to go 3 weeks hair-free in an area before any hairs begin cropping up, it seems. We are continuing work on the area under the chin and working up to the chin for the next treatment.


Edited by ABetterDay (05/12/17 06:34 PM)

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