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Contraindications to electrolysis

Identifying whether it is safe to proceed with an electrolysis treatment is an essential part of the consultation.

The easy-to-follow Sterex Electrolysis consultation card has a section covering the majority of contraindications. The ‘definitive’ and ‘restrictive’ lists are a guide, but you should also contact your insurance company to see which conditions they will currently insure you to treat, as that is subject to change.  If in doubt, you can contact the client’s GP to ask for written permission.

Below is the current Sterex guide to contraindications, however bear in mind the effects of medications and the management of conditions do change. We recommend a safety first philosophy:  ‘if in doubt don’t’.


  1. Blood Thinning Medication
  2. Cochlear implants
  3. Dermographia
  4. Haemophilia
  5. Keloid Scarring
  6. Pacemaker
  7. Pregnancy (1st Trimester) – Then not below neck with Galvanic or Blend*
  8. Recent Scar Tissue (in treatment area)
  9. Rosacea [active] (in treatment area)
  10. Skin Diseases/Disorders
  11. Sunburn (in treatment area)

*check with your insurance company before treatment.


  1. Asthma/Respiratory Disorders
  2. Auditory Devices apart from Cochlear implants
  3. Circulatory Problems i.e. Phlebitis/Thrombosis (in treatment area)
  4. Dermabrasion (medical) within 6-12 months (in treatment area)
  5. Micro Dermabrasion within 4-6 weeks (in treatment area)
  6. Diabetes with GP permission
  7. Epilepsy with GP permission
  8. ‘General medication’
  9. Heart Conditions with GP permission
  10. Blood borne viruses with GP permission and check with insurance company if covered to treat as may be immunosuppressed
  11. High Blood Pressure with GP permission.
  12. Laser/IPL (recent treatment in area to be treated)
  13. Local Bruising/Swelling
  14. Loss of Tactile Sensation (in treatment area)
  15. History of Cancer – GP advice
  16. Lupus – GP permission
  17. Minors
  18. Metal plates/pins for galvanic & blend techniques – if on/near DC return path
  19. Nervous Client
  20. Skin Diseases/Disorders
  21. Steroids
  22. Swelling/Oedema
  23. Tattoo (in treatment area)
  24. Pigment disorders or ethnic skin colouration

Plus, anything your insurance company will not cover you for.


It is not unusual for clients to insist upon treatment, despite having a contraindication to electrolysis.

If you treat a condition that is a contraindication your insurance cover will not be valid. You also risk the client having an adverse reaction,which could result in legal action.

Do not be bullied into carrying out treatments. You are opening yourself up to litigation. It is also unprofessional to carry out a treatment on a client that has a contraindication and you will be risking your salon reputation.


It is safe to treat a pregnant lady, but it is advisable to wait until the first trimester has passed. Check your insurance company covers treatment of pregnant clients. If in doubt, you could also request  written consent from the client’s GP.

The advised method is short wave diathermy as the current does not pass through the body; however blend or galvanic only can be performed from the neck upwards, after the first 3 months have passed.


To remove hair from an area with a tattoo, the tattoo must be at least 12 months old and fully healed. During electrolysis the diathermy current is released at the base of the follicle to treat the dermal papilla and, to our knowledge, should not affect the pigment of the tattoo.

However, it is worth noting that when the follicle is in telogen phase, the needle tip will naturally be placed nearer to the surface of the skin and possibly adjacent to the lower layers of the pigment placement, therefore, extra caution should be taken.

Galvanic or blend electrolysis, using the chemical form of follicle destruction, may be the preferred choice within an anagen phase.

Always check with your insurance company for the list of current conditions you are not permitted to treat. But if in doubt seek further advice from a GP.

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