Does Electrolysis Hurt?

Whether you’re waxing, threading or plucking, achieving hairless skin usually comes with some level of discomfort. You may have heard a spectrum of information regarding what electrolysis feels like and how painful it can be. Some have compared treatments to a hot prick or a pinch. Along with this feeling, the hair follicle is being destroyed, and you are that much closer to perfectly smooth skin. In this article, we will discuss pain when it comes to electrolysis and how different areas feel being treated.

Everyone interprets the sensation of electrolysis differently. Some people are very sensitive and feel stronger levels of pain, while others feel no pain at all. Some clients even fall asleep while they are being treated! With more and more treatments, you learn what to expect and adjust to how it makes you feel. The level of pain you experience during a single treatment can depend on many factors (such as pain tolerance, time of month – for women, stress, caffeine and sugar, music, intensity of treatment and many others).

Electrolysis works best when the client is treated as close to their pain threshold as possible, taking in the strongest current that is comfortable. The greater the intensity, the less time it will take for the follicle to be destroyed. The pain sensation that some associate with electrolysis is quite short, many saying that it hurts for a fraction of a second. The general level of pain varies greatly location to location, day to day, person to person.

Specific factors that affect pain threshold include: thickness of the skin, the amount of nerve-endings per follicle and the number of pain receptors in that location.  Below are some key areas of treatment and typical pain responses:

  • Upper Lip: This is a very sensitive area due to the number of nerve endings here. The good news is that hair follicles in this area tend to destroy quicker than other areas. The corners of the upper lip are less sensitive than in the middle.
  • Cheeks, Jaw and Chin: These areas are typically a mild to medium level of painful. The bones are very close to the skin surface here, which makes electrolysis feel stronger.
  • Neck: This area is sensitive for many clients because the skin is thin here and the throat is tender.
  • Underarm: For some people there is very little sensation in this area, while others feel discomfort here.
  • Chest: Some discomfort due to many nerve endings.
  • Stomach: Minor to medium discomfort, if any.
  • Legs: Hair is thinner on the thighs so it is less painful here than on shins and calves.
  • Toes and Fingers: Many report feeling the most pain on the toes and fingers. This is because this is a very bony area and there is less fat tissue.

We adjust the level of current to the specific part of the body. Over time, the practice of electrolysis has evolved. With this, the savvy machine equipment has become more effective at minimizing pain.

Just remember, nearly every hair removal method comes with some aspect of discomfort. Even if you experience any pain sensation, that means the follicles are weakening and are less likely to return – and that means one step closer to permanent hair removal. Electrolysis is the only form of permanent hair removal approved by the FDA.