Electrolysis. You’ve probably heard the word before. But perhaps you’re not sure what electrolysis is exactly, or how it works.
We’re here to clue you in. Electrolysis is a method of removing individual hairs from the face and body. Today’s medical electrolysis devices destroy the growth center of the hair with chemical or heat energy. After a very fine probe is inserted into the hair follicle, the hair is removed with tweezers. Most areas of the body can be treated with electrolysis, including the eyebrows, face, abdomen, thighs, breasts, and legs. There are generally no permanent side effects, but sometimes a temporary, slight reddening of the skin may occur.
No Pain, No Gain
Electrolysis hair removal requires multiple sessions to achieve the best possible results, but permanent hair removal isn’t guaranteed for everyone. Because electrolysis focuses on one hair at a time, it can be a tedious process, which makes it ideal for small areas like the brows, upper lip and chin. It can also result in scarring on darker skin tones as well.
Of course, everyone wants to know if electrolysis is as painful as everyone says. Most experts agree that the pain from electrolysis is greater than that of other hair removal methods, such as laser hair removal, and it may feel like a series of tiny pricks. Other people who have undergone electrolysis often compare the pain to that of getting a tattoo. This feeling is not caused by the insertion of the epilator, but by the application of the electric current which stimulates nerves that are present near the hair.
The esthetician generally applies a topical anesthetic beforehand, but many people report that it’s ineffective. Keep in mind, too, that since electrolysis takes a lot longer to treat an area, you’ll have to endure pain for a longer period of time. If you are sensitive to pain, you may want to consider other pain-management techniques or a different treatment option for permanent hair removal. Before considering electrolysis, here’s a list of its pros and cons:
- It removes hair permanently.
- It is effective on nearly all skin types and tones.
- It is very expensive – treating just the size of your upper lip can cost about $1,000.
- It’s a time-consuming procedure requiring multiple sessions.
- Skin discoloration is a possibility. The electricity in the device can actually destroy the capillaries in the surrounding areas.
- It can be very painful.
- It is not recommended for people with rosacea since the skin is so easily irritated.
- It may not be suitable for people with darker skin tones.
Laser Hair Removal: The Better Option?
Because electrolysis is time-consuming, painful and expensive, many consider laser hair removal to be a better option. Why? Well for starters, laser hair removal is quick, relatively painless, and highly successful. How does laser hair removal work? Laser hair removal uses laser light pulses that selectively destroy hair follicles by targeting the melanin in them. The follicle’s pigment absorbs the laser’s light pulse, damaging the follicle enough to significantly slow down hair regrowth. Since the lasers target melanin, coarse, dark hair and light skin combinations tend to respond best to treatment.
Don’t fret if you’ve got a darker complexion, though. People with darker hair and darker skin and lighter hair and lighter skin combinations can still achieve desirable results with the Nd:YAG laser. The Nd:YAG laser has a longer wavelength and better pigment selectivity than other lasers used for hair removal, meaning that it can penetrate hair follicles more precisely, leaving the surrounding skin tissue undamaged.
What’s a laser hair removal session like? The length of a laser hair removal procedure depends on the size of the treatment area, meaning a session can last anywhere from a few minutes to several hours. Before the actual laser hair removal session, you’ll be given protective eye gear and an elective topical anesthetic. Once the session begins, you’ll feel a stinging sensation, indicating that the laser has been activated. The actual session involves a series of laser pulses that results in a prickling and burning sensation. But don’t worry; the pain isn’t too bad. In fact, it’s similar to that of a rubber band snapping against your skin.
After the laser hair removal session is over, you may experience temporary swelling and redness. Most clients can resume their normal activities. It’s important, however, that you avoid direct sun exposure. You should also wear sunblock with a high SPF for several weeks afterward.
Laser hair removal really stacks up against electrolysis. Some of laser hair removal’s pros and cons are:
Laser Hair Removal Pros
- One of the biggest advantages of laser hair removal is the speed of the treatment in comparison electrolysis, which is much more time consuming.
- The technique is considered to be safe if performed properly.
- It is considered to be less painful than other methods, particularly electrolysis.
- The process works – most people experience long-lasting hair removal or even permanent hair reduction.
- The method is effective for removing hair from large areas such as backs or legs.
- Hair regrowth is reduced up to 90% after a series of three-to-six treatments.
Laser Hair Removal Cons
- Laser treatments are only approved by the FDA for “permanent hair reduction” NOT “permanent hair removal.” This simply means that some regrowth is to be expected, this is not a permanent hair-removal solution for most consumers, though reduction of hair can be expected.
- Since the laser targets melanin (pigment that gives skin and hair color), people with dark hair (more melanin) have more success with this treatment than people with light hair.
- There can be side effects that can range from itching or swelling (which will disappear after a few days) to more serious (but rare) side effects like burning, skin discoloration, blistering and infection.
Electrolysis or Laser Hair Removal? Decisions, Decisions
When comparing both hair removal methods side-by-side, and especially taking into account the pain factor, it seems that laser hair removal is far superior to electrolysis. It’s a quicker procedure than electrolysis, and is relatively painless, especially with the more modern laser hair removal technologies featuring built-in cooling devices and numbing gels.
Those things being said, if you’d like to achieve up to 90% permanent hair reduction on wide or sensitive areas of your body, like the legs or bikini area, then laser hair removal is definitely the best choice. Of course, if you’re particularly sensitive to pain, then you’ll want to stick with laser hair removal – the pain level is relatively mild and only lasts a few minutes. Even individuals with a high pain tolerance have trouble stomaching electrolysis, so that hair removal method is not for the faint of heart.
Want to learn more about laser hair removal? Then contact LaserAway. You’ve got nothing to lose but unwanted hair. If you would like to learn more about LaserAway’s laser hair removal services or schedule a free, no obligation consultation, please email us at LaserAway.net or call us at (888) 965-2737.