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Contra actions to electrolysis

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A contra action is an adverse reaction that occurs due to unforeseen conditions, such as an unknown allergy.

During the consultation, it is important to establish any potential causes of contra actions, such as allergies to preparatory products or substances such as latex gloves.
If contra actions occur during treatment, the session should be ended immediately  and the area wiped with cooled boiled water. If the reaction is severe, the client should be advised to seek medical attention. Treatment should only be resumed once the allergen has been identified and its use discontinued for that client. The client’s records should be clearly marked.


Some of the following may be observed immediately following treatment, or reported by the client after they have left the clinic. If an adverse reaction is reported, it is good practice to invite the client to the salon so that you can examine it – this is reassuring for both parties to alleviate any concerns. In all cases action should be taken to ensure the reaction does not recur.


Scabs may occasionally form as part of the healing process. This is marginally more likely on the body than the face. If the scabs are elongated in shape this could indicate that the exposed part of the needle shaft has been lying on the skin’s surface. Scabs should not be picked off by the client; this will impede healing and may result in hypo-pigmentation especially in Afro-Caribbean or Asian skin.


This will occur immediately with the appearance of a white ring on the skin’s surface, possibly accompanied by a sizzling sound as the current is discharged. This should NOT occur and indicates one or both of the following: too shallow an insertion, or too high a current. Insertion technique and current intensity should be reconsidered. Blanching should not be confused with the ‘frothing’ that can occur in blend and galvanic methods.


A blood spot (instant bleeding) may very occasionally occur. This should not happen as it is usually caused by inaccurate inserting, either too long or at the wrong angle. Blood spots should be dealt with immediately by applying a clean cotton bud to the spot with slight pressure. The cotton bud should be disposed of in the clinical waste bin.


Bruising is not an acceptable post-epilation reaction – if this occurs, the electrologist should re-assess their insertion technique, follicle feedback signs and sensitivity of touch.


If the treated area becomes very red, this may indicate an allergic reaction, or over-treatment. It may be that a different method is advisable, or the skin is more sensitive than first thought. Needle selection, treatment duration, method and spacing of insertions should be reconsidered.


Again indicates possible over-treatment.


Scarring isn’t immediately obvious – it can take weeks or months to materialise. Pit marks or ‘ice pick’ scars are typically the result of poor technique, continuously applied.

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