When it comes to hair removal, shaving and waxing are the most common methods. However, while those methods are accessible and inexpensive, they do not provide a long-term solution.
Currently, the demand for effective hair removal procedures is increasing as more people are trying to find long-lasting solutions. Some findings estimate that the global laser hair removal industry will grow by 20.6% yearly by 2028. The second most common long-term solution is electrolysis. While it is not as popular as laser hair removal, it offers several benefits that you should consider while finding a suitable treatment.
But first, are electrolysis and laser hair removal methods safe? How effective are they? Which one should you choose, and how long will your results last? Keep reading to learn more about laser hair removal vs. electrolysis!
What Are Your Options?
Finding the most effective hair removal procedure can be frustrating. It primarily depends on how your hair, body, and skin respond to the treatment. Not all methods will work for your body, hair type, etc.
For starters, laser hair removal and electrolysis target hair follicles, tunnel-shaped organs found underneath the skin’s surface. They are essential for regulating hair growth. Individual hair grows from the bottom of the hair follicle when a root gets formed. By targeting the hair follicles, both electrolysis and laser removal can prevent unwanted hair growth.
Furthermore, both procedures are significantly more effective than shaving, waxing, hair removal creams, plucking, etc. However, you will need to schedule an appointment for both methods and undergo several follow-up procedures that disrupt hair growth over time.
Laser Hair Removal: What Is It and What to Expect
This popular hair removal method uses lasers to deliver light to hair follicles across a specific skin area. According to the PFMA Journal, the purpose here is to damage the stem cells found in the dermal papilla at the follicle’s base.
A Laser Hair Removal device uses highly concentrated beams to target the melanin within the hair follicles. Then, the light turns into heat. This damages or destroys the follicle. The goal of the treatment is to disable the hair follicle and thereby prevent regrowth.
How It Works
Before the initial procedure, the Medical Esthetician will configure the laser settings based on the patient’s hair’s colour, thickness, and skin colour.
As the process begins, the technician will utilize a specific pulse duration and light wavelength to target the follicles while minimizing any risks on the surrounding skin tissue. Afterward, some patients could experience light skin discomfort, which they can alleviate by applying ice packs. In case of severe pain, the specialist could recommend steroid creams or pain relievers.
Additionally, most patients will need to schedule follow-up treatments every 4–6 weeks. Depending on the skin area and the patient’s clinical features, it will take approximately 4–8 sessions to see the best results.
Laser Hair Removal Advantages
Across the board, laser hair removal treatments are quick, versatile, and effective. You can try this procedure for most bodily areas, including the face. Most patients can resume their everyday activities after treatment. Below are the key benefits of this hair removal method:
- Accuracy and speed — Laser hair removal is a fast procedure. The method is also precise, covering a small area of hair in mere minutes.
- Lighter regrowth — After the initial procedure, patients can experience minor regrowth and lighter hair colour, saving a lot of time thanks to semi-permanent results.
- Quick, long-term results — For long-term effects, you will need 4–6 treatments to reduce regrowth by around 80%.
Some of the main downsides of laser hair removal are:
- It may not be suitable for all skin colours — This method works best for people with dark hair and light skin.
- Reaction risks — The most common side-effects are redness, discomfort, and swelling. Other undesirable reactions are skin discoloration, blisters, and scars. Most will go away a few hours after the procedure.
- Photosensitivity — It’s advisable to avoid direct sunlight after the treatment.
Electrolysis: What It Is and What to Expect
This method of hair removal focuses on individual hair rather than a whole area. Still, both laser hair removal and electrolysis target the hair follicles.
Electrolysis is a permanent hair removal treatment, and it could be used on various areas of your body. That includes the legs, eyebrows, breasts/chest, and the bikini region.
How It Works
During an electrolysis session, a specialist inserts a very thin, sterile, and disposable electrolysis needle into a hair follicle. The needle’s diameter is similar to the diameter of the hair. During treatment, the machine releases a small amount of energy into the follicle. The process permanently removes hair by damaging the follicles. It also inhibits hair growth.
Additionally, there are three distinct types of electrolysis removal. That includes thermolysis (using localized heat to dissolve the follicles), galvanic (a direct electric current that is passed down a needle into the hair follicle creates a chemical reaction that dissolves the hair bulb) and a blend of the two.
Just like with laser treatments, this method also requires follow-up appointments. Electrolysis requires around 8–12 sessions since the number of treatments depends on several variables. That includes the patient’s skin and hair features.
The main benefits of electrolysis hair removal are:
- Lasting effects — Electrolysis is the only method that produces permanent results.
- It’s versatile — This method works for any hair colour or skin type and any area size.
- Reduced recovery time — Patients can return to normal activities immediately after the treatment.
- No check-ups required — Once the treatments are completed and the hair follicles are destroyed, no further check-ups or treatments are needed.
- Chemical-free — This method does not apply chemicals directly to the skin.
Electrolysis can produce some minor side-effects and other disadvantages:
- Skin irritation and redness — Irritation and discomfort are usual side-effects. They can go away within a few hours or a day.
- Severe side-effects — A skilled professional should perform the procedures to avoid scaring or infections through unsterile needles.
- Multiple sessions — Longer and multiple sessions are needed to treat more extensive areas with coarse hair (e.g., the pubic region). Someone may need around 30 treatments for the best results.
Which Method Is Best for You?
Both laser treatments and electrolysis create long-term effects that are much more effective compared to waxing or shaving.
Still, electrolysis is more versatile as it can be used on any skin or hair type. It creates permanent results with fewer side effects. Conversely, laser removal is quicker and shows the best outcome for people with light skin and dark hair. Thus, your choice will depend on your hair and skin type, as well as how quickly you intend to see the results.
However, you must not try both procedures at the same time as this could harm their effectiveness. Ultimately, you should schedule a consultation and examination with a trained Medical Esthetician to determine the best method for you. Good luck!