What Are the Dangers of Electrolysis Hair Removal?

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Electrolysis is a method of hair removal in which hair follicles are destroyed by electric current. Fine needles are inserted into individual hair follicles, and then an electric current is sent down the needle into the follicle, burning the root of the hair. Electrolysis is one of the only forms of hair removal that can be permanent, but it takes many sessions to achieve permanent hair removal, and there can be risks involved.

Electric Shock and Burning

Whenever you are dealing with an electric current or laser, or anything else delivering a strong blast of heat, there is a risk of electric shock and burning. Many providers claim that electrolysis is 100 percent pain-free; depending, however, on the sensitivity of an individual's skin, it can in fact be quite painful. Also, if a provider is inexperienced or makes a mistake, the electric charge delivered to the hair follicle can burn the skin and shock the patron.


Infection can occur immediately after or sometimes many years after electrolysis treatment. It can also exacerbate a pre-existing infection. In addition, if electrolysis is performed in unsanitary conditions, infection can be spread from one patient to another or from the provider to the patient.

Scarring and Debris Under the Skin

If not performed properly, electrolysis can leave pitted, round scarring on the skin. The needle must be inserted in a specific way so as to avoid swelling of the hair follicle and destruction of the surrounding tissue. If this occurs, permanent scarring can result. Another danger of electrolysis is the fact that debris can become embedded under the skin. When the hair follicle is destroyed, whatever remains will eventually be pushed out of the skin; in certain cases, however, debris can become embedded under the skin, leading to infection and scarring of the skin surface.

Pigment Alteration

There is a chance of pigment alteration following electrolysis, especially in individuals with darker or tan skin. Improper application of electrolysis can lead to a lightening of the skin that is often permanent.