I am often asked if electrolysis is a painful procedure. Everyone experiences pain differently and how they experience it depends upon their nervous system because it controls a person’s pain level. In general people can be divided two main groups.
Low Pain Threshold
This means that a person feels more pain and their skin shows more reaction. Typically these people will be younger and in their teens, twenties, and thirties. The highest risk group to treat is teens and early twenties, and the highest risk areas to treat are the eyebrows and upper lip. These areas have a very thin epidermis (skin). Young people react more to the treatment because of high moisture content in the upper layers of the epidermis. They get more redness and usually feel more pain. They are also more susceptible to scabbing and swelling. Therefore, younger people should have treatments done on lower settings and for shorter periods of time. There is no absolute minimum age for treatment. Generally for facial areas, people start at 15 or 16 years and for the body 13 to 14 years of age.
High Pain Threshold
This means that a person tolerates pain well and their skin tolerates the treatment well. People that usually have a higher pain threshold are those fifty years of age and older. The reason for this has to due with the moisture content of the upper layers of the epidermis. As you age, your skin becomes more dry from the surface down. Less moisture at the surface of the skin means less heat reaction. As a result, they feel less pain, there is less redness, fewer scabs, and no bumps. They can tolerate higher settings and longer treatments. No one is too old to be treated with electrolysis.
Client Comfort Level
Client comfort level is important to remember when performing electrolysis. There are common agents and methods that are used to make the treatment more comfortable. These products work best on the lip, chin, and eyebrows because the epidermis is thin.
- Topical Anesthetics – These products are applied to the surface of the skin to help reduce pain. Two popular agents are “Neurocaine” and “Hurricaine.” Neurocaine consists of 5% benzocaine and rubbing alcohol. The benzocaine helps to numb the surface of the skin while the rubbing alcohol disinfects and dries the skin. Hurricaine consists of 20% benzocaine gel for mucosal areas only. It is applied under the skin with a cotton swab and works very well in combination with the neurocaine.
- Lips Rolls – Used under the lip during treatment to help cushion the area and stretch the skin.
- Ice Pack – Used before treatment to freeze the area. Also very helpful after treatment for swelling.
- Over the Counter Medication – Tylenol and Advil can be taken an hour before treatment to help reduce pain and swelling.
- Prescription Creams – These must be obtained through a doctor with a prescription, and applied approximately an hour before treatment.
- Novacaine – Very effective for treating the upper lip but must be administered by a dentist before the treatment.
At Limoges Electrolysis we make our clients comfort a top priority. Book your appointment today!