Most people, when considering the problem of unwanted body hair, generally opt for treatments that offer either permanent or long-term hair removal.
Electrolysis and laser hair removal are two popular technologies in widespread clinical use that provide permanent hair reduction. In choosing between electrolysis and laser hair removal, it is beneficial to consider the advantages and drawbacks of each treatment.
Electrolysis vs. Laser Hair Removal: A Closer Look
Electrolysis is an older technology that is still widely used today. In fact, it is the only hair removal method approved by the FDA to be effective in creating permanent hair loss.
In electrolysis, a specially designed thin probe is placed directly into each hair follicle. An electrical current is then passed through the tip of the probe. This current produces a brief burst of heat that destroys the hair-producing cells at the base of the follicle. The hair shaft thus loses its source of growth and falls out soon after its base is destroyed. Since it is directly applied to each hair, electrolysis is effective on all hair colors and types.
Yet because electrolysis is done follicle by follicle, it isn’t ideal for large areas that require hair removal.
Laser Hair Removal: A Different Kind of Treatment
Laser hair removal is distinctly different from electrolysis. It uses laser technology that results in permanent hair reduction after a series of sessions.
Since laser hair removal does not involve inserting a probe into each individual hair follicle, hair removal treatments are much faster than with electrolysis, especially given that a greater area can be treated in the same period of time. Those who have undergone both treatments report that the amount of discomfort experienced during each procedure is about the same—although many comment that post-procedure discomfort is shorter with laser hair removal than with electrolysis.
To most people, the main advantage to electrolysis compared to laser hair removal is that electrolysis is permanent: once the cells at the base of the hair follicle are completely destroyed, they will never regenerate to produce more hair growth. But repeated laser treatments applied to the same area over a longer period of time will often lead to the same results. Laser hair removal is often preferred over electrolysis because the sessions are shorter in duration and it is more cost-effective.