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Does Electrolysis Hair Removal Hurt or Cause Cancer?

By Viktoria
October 18, 2023
6 minutes
Does Electrolysis Hair Removal Hurt

Electrolysis hair removal has been there since the year 1875 and then in the year 1900, the first equipment for electrolysis was released in the market. Since then, various improvements have been made to make the procedure better for the community. Galvanic current, thermolysis, and then blend current were the source of this hair removal technique,

However, the procedure uses current and can be painful. Is the pain the same for all? How much will it hurt? Can’t find your answer? Stay right here because we are going to discuss this in detail today.

How Does Electrolysis Work?

How Does Electrolysis WorkWondering from where the stories about electrolysis being painful or carcinogenic started? People have started these speculations because of how electrolysis works. In this procedure, current is used to destroy the hair roots and follicles. During the treatment, the electrologist uses a thin wire or needle to insert it into your hair follicles.

Then current flows through this needle and reaches the hair roots. On reaching the target area, this current completely gets rid of the growth center of unwanted hair thus stopping its growth. The already-grown hair is then pulled out using a tweezer.

Either current (galvanic electrolysis), heat ( thermolysis), or a blend of these two is used. The use of current and heat has started rumors about the process being painful and cancer-causing.

Does Electrolysis Hair Removal Hurt?

Unfortunately, it does. You can experience discomfort, pain, or pinching sensation in the area being treated during the procedure. However, everyone who has undergone electrolysis has a different opinion.

This is because the pain threshold varies from person to person. People having high thresholds only have minimal to no painful sensations during the procedure while those with low thresholds find it quite painful. The pain also depends on the area being treated. Sensitive areas like the underarm, and upper lip hurt more than other body parts.

If you are afraid of the pain, you can ask your electrologist to use some numbing cream or give you an anesthetic before starting the procedure.

Does Electrolysis Hair Removal Cause Cancer?

Does Electrolysis Hair Removal HurtElectrolysis indeed uses galvanic current, or heat for the destruction of hair follicles. Galvanic current starts a series of chemical reactions while heat damages the follicles. This made people assume that electrolysis might cause cancer.

However, this is a myth. Electrolysis is a method that is safe and useful for all skin types. Moreover, it is an FDA-cleared procedure which indicates that it does not have life-threatening side effects for your skin and body. Also, there has been no research conducted that proves the relationship of electrolysis with cancer till now.

Can A Cancer Patient Undergo Electrolysis Hair Removal?

There is no proof now that electrolysis hair removal causes cancer but what about its effectiveness for those who already have cancer? Sadly, they cannot. Not only electrolysis but other hair removal methods can be harmful for them.

It is because those cancer patients have weak immunity as the cancer cells can affect your bone marrow thus weakening your defense system. Electrolysis poses a risk of infection as your skin becomes sensitive after the procedure. So, it’s better not to undergo the procedure if you have cancer or any other conditions associated with the weakening of the immune system.

Furthermore, chemotherapy also affects your immune system when hormone therapy causes dryness and skin thinning. So undergoing electrolysis even during your cancer treatment is quite risky.

Who can Undergo Electrolysis Hair Removal?

Who can Undergo Electrolysis Hair RemovalElectrolysis Hair Removal is safe for all skin types and hair colors. The method works for all hair types whether they are thick, or small, or anywhere on your body. It is a bit time-consuming but the pro is that everyone healthy can be a suitable candidate for electrolysis hair removal.

Why did we mention “healthy individuals”? This is because there are some skin conditions and other systemic diseases in which electrolysis is not suitable. For instance, if you have eczema, or any bacterial, viral, or fungal infection, undergoing electrolysis can worsen your skin condition.

Similarly, if you are using anticoagulants, or are a patient of diabetes or other disorders like HIV, hepatitis, etc, then opting for electrolysis for hair removal is certainly not a good option.

What Are the Potential Side Effects of Electrolysis Hair Removal?

Electrolysis hair removal is an efficient and user-friendly method in terms of its safety and results however there are some side effects you can still face. These mainly occur due to wrong practices.

Redness and Blisters

Redness and BlistersRedness is a prevalent side effect of not only electrolysis but also other hair removal treatments like Laser Hair Removal, IPL, and waxing. It mostly occurs in those with sensitive skin and the redness can subside on its own after a short time interval.

However, if your skin is extra sensitive and the practitioner is not skillful enough, you might have to face blistering too.


Another after-effect of this long-term hair removal method is that your skin gets dry with time. It is because heat or current is used during the treatment which might leave your skin dry. The dryness can worsen with time making it noticeable for everyone.

You can use natural ingredients like aloe vera gel or a mild moisturizer to fight this dryness and continue enjoying smooth skin.


skin irritationIt is not a given that everyone has to undergo redness or dryness after electrolysis. The side effects can vary from person to person. You might face inflammation or swelling in the treated area after you are done with the treatment.

You can treat this swelling by applying ice packs to the treated area.

Risk of Infection

When the treatment procedure is complete, your skin gets sensitive and foreign bodies including bacteria and viruses can easily invade the skin leading to skin infections. Not only the bacteria, but your body is also exposed to dirt and dust throughout the day leading to acne and breakouts.

Skin Discoloration

Skin DiscolorationSkin discoloration after electrolysis can occur in normal cases and due to skin damage during the treatment. In most cases, skin discoloration occurs as a result of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.

When current passes through your hair follicles, it leads to scarring which further causes the formation of small red dots on your skin. It may take a few months to 2 years for you to completely treat this hyperpigmentation. Moreover, skin damage can also occur in case your practitioner is not qualified enough to do the procedure right.

Ingrown Hair

Undoubtedly, electrolysis hair removal first started as a treatment for ingrown hair and it can also help prevent them. But, it can also cause them. How?

If the treatment is done right, your hair follicles stay intact and are not destroyed completely. As a result, your hair might regrow and even cause the formation of ingrown hair. The ingrown hair is quite painful and itchy which might keep you up even at night.

Is There Any Less Painful Method of Long-lasting Hair Removal?

Ulike Sapphire Air3Electrolysis is good and effective but the pain is not bearable for everyone. So what can you do instead? Replace this hair removal with another long-lasting hair removal treatment like IPL hair removal. IPL treatment is less painful, more long-lasting, and useful for those who want to make their skin hairless with minimum pain.

To add to your comfort, we have the Ulike Sapphire Air3 handset for you.

  • The handset is small, compact, and lightweight so it is best for at-home use and use at your long-stay tour destinations
  • It starts giving you noticeable results within 3 weeks for most people. The individual results can vary from person to person
  • The results last for a period of 6 months to a year after you are done with the recommended number of sessions. You will only require some touch-ups now and then
  • The handset costs $329 and can last for 10 years straight. You are also offered unlimited flashes which further contributes to the longevity of the device
  • There is patented ice-cooling technology incorporated in the device that makes hair removal easy with minimum pain and body soothing effect
  • The different intensity settings allow you to customize the working of your device according to the needs of your skin

A little treat from ulike is that you are going to get free safety goggles and a safety razor in the box along with the handset.


There have been myths about electrolysis being painful and carcinogenic. However, electrolysis has no association with cancer. As for pain, it can be painful, and the intensity of pain depends upon an individual’s pain threshold.

Your skin sensitivity can also contribute to the amount of pain you feel during the procedure. If you think that you are not compatible with the procedure, you can try IPL hair removal with Ulike Sapphire Air 3. It is quick, gives you long-lasting results, and is nearly painless for treatment in all areas of your body. The device can also work as long as 10 years.

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