Laser Hair Removal vs. Electrolysis: Pros & Cons
Is Laser Hair Removal a Better Option Than Electrolysis?
So you want to get rid of unwanted hair on your body for good—no more shaving, waxing or other “stop-gap” measures that require constant maintenance and discomfort. Once you’ve made this decision, you’ll be left with the two most common options for permanent hair reduction: laser hair removal and electrolysis.
Let’s start with electrolysis. 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, and after a very fine probe is inserted into the hair follicle, the hair is then 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.
Electrolysis Hair Removal Experience
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. If you have a darker skin tone, just note that it can result in long-term scarring.
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. Other patients 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 to be ineffective. Keep in mind 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 may be effective on lighter colored hair follicles.
- It is very expensive – treating just the size of your upper lip can cost around $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 Experience
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 it 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 our laser of choice — the Cynosure Apogee Elite, complete with the Nd:YAG and Alexandrite wavelengths. 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. The Alexandrite laser has a shorter wavelength and is effective on medium to light hair on patients with lighter skin tones.
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 once the session begins, your nurse will test the laser on you to prepare you for the sensation. The actual session involves a series of laser pulses that results in a slight pricking sensation. But don’t worry; the discomfort isn’t too bad. The best way to describe it is to 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, however, it is of utmost importance that you avoid direct sun exposure. We highly recommend that you continue to wear sunblock with a high SPF for several weeks after treatment.
Laser hair removal really stacks up against electrolysis. But in case you still need to compare for yourself, we’re broken down a list of laser hair removal’s pros and cons.
Laser Hair Removal Pros
- One of the biggest advantages of laser hair removal is the speed of the treatment in comparison to 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 permanent hair reduction.
- The method is effective for removing hair from large areas such as backs or legs.
- Hair regrowth is reduced up to 80% after a series of six to eight 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.
- Since the laser targets melanin (the pigment that gives skin and hair color), people with white, gray, red or blonde hair may not be good candidates.
- 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 overall, 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. Want to learn more about laser hair removal? Click ahead to connect with a LaserAway Treatment Specialist.
We’ve committed over a decade to helping people of all skin types discover their best skin ever, with over 3 million treatments performed and new locations opening every month! We use state-of-the-art technology for maximum results, our clinics are supervised by board-certified, industry-leading dermatologists, and our treatments are implemented by registered nurses, nurse practitioners or physician associates who undergo one of the most comprehensive training programs in the business. Our mission is to make our clients feel beautiful by providing the best and most effective aesthetic treatments in the nation in a friendly, relaxed environment.
Ready to invest in yourself? Schedule a free consultation today by filling out a request form or calling the LaserAway staff at (855) 233-9134. Our nurses look forward to making sure your service and skin are as smooth as possible!