Every human being is born with body hair. But depending on personal preferences, some individuals want to permanently remove hair from certain parts of their bodies. Although waxing, tweezing, and shaving can remove unwanted body hair- none of them bring a long-term solution.
Moreover, contrary to all the marketing claims, no hair removal treatment can permanently remove body hair in one go. However, a variety of long-term hair removal methods can make the dream of permanent hair-free skin a reality to some extent.
Laser hair removal and electrolysis target the hair follicles under the skin’s surface and prevent their growth.
According to studies, laser hair removal is the most popular option for hair removal currently. In contrast, electrolysis is endorsed by The US Food and Drug Administration for permanent hair removal.
Then what is the difference between both methods? Keep reading this article till the end to discover the advantages and disadvantages of each procedure. After all, it would help if you made the right choice of the method while getting rid of those unwanted hairs.
What Is Laser Hair Removal?
Laser hair removal removes unwanted hair using a concentrated beam of light called a laser. During laser hair removal, the laser emits a light absorbed by the melanin in the hair. Melanin is the pigment of our body hair. The light energy is then converted to heat energy, effectively damaging the tube-shaped hair follicles from their roots. And due to that damage, future hair growth is delayed.
Although laser hair removal can effectively delay hair growth for an extended period, it does not result in permanent hair removal. And therefore, several sessions of laser hair removal might be necessary to maintain the result gained. Laser hair removal is appropriate for people with light skin and dark hair, but it can be successfully done on all skin types.
What Is Electrolysis?
Electrolysis is when an electrical current is passed through a hair follicle to damage that follicle and prevent its growth. In this process, the dermatologists work with an epilator and insert it into the skin. They use shortwave radio frequencies to stop new hair from growing. Electrolysis prevents the growth of unwanted body hair, causing existing hairs to fall out. However, like laser hair removal, you will need multiple follow-up appointments for electrolysis for best results. Unlike laser hair removal, electrolysis is marked to be a permanent solution for hair removal by the US Food and Drug Administration.
The Benefits, Disadvantages, and Risks Associated With Laser Hair Removal and Electrolysis
Laser Hair Removal
The first step of getting the laser hair removal treatment is choosing a dermatologist or aesthetician certified to perform laser therapies. Before proceeding with the treatment, the doctor will likely review all the medical history and discuss the benefits and risks to determine if it is an appropriate treatment option for you.
To prepare your skin for laser hair removal, you need to keep yourself away from waxing or plucking hairs for at least 4 to 6 weeks. Waxing or plucking temporarily removes the hair follicles and the roots, and since the laser targets those follicles, it becomes difficult for the laser to work on your skin. However, shaving is acceptable as it cuts the hair leaving the hair follicles intact. That is why shaving is recommended to the patients before 24 hours of the treatment so that the laser can quickly locate the follicles.
Read more about What Are The Side Effects Of Laser Hair Removal?
Before the laser hair removal, the dermatologist or aesthetician cleans the area to be treated. Sometimes, they also apply a numbing gel to the targeted area. Numbing helps when a small area is being treated and if the skin is very sensitive. It might take up to 60 minutes for the numbing gel to work.
The patient is given a unique pair of goggles to protect the eyes from the laser. The laser equipment is adjusted according to the targeted area thickness, hair color, and many other factors. Lastly, the dermatologist applies a particular cooling device to protect the outer skin and minimize discomfort and side effects.
During the procedure, pulses of light are applied to the treatment area that may lead to slight discomfort, which can be described as a warm pinprick. However, the subsequent laser hair removal sessions cause less sensation compared to the first treatment. And the time it takes to complete a laser session depends upon that treatment area. After the procedure, the dermatologist applies anti-inflammatory cream or ice packs to subside the discomfort.
Patients might notice mild redness and warmth on the treated area after a few hours of the treatment. Those symptoms might feel like a mild sunburn and can be relieved by applying moisturizers and cold compresses. There is no downtime of laser hair removal treatment. Therefore you can wear makeup the very next day if laser hair removal treatment has been performed on your face.
Wearing sunscreen is mandatory after the procedure since the skin becomes very prone to tanning. And if possible, sunlight should be avoided for at least one month.
Read more about Is Laser Hair Removal Permanent?
Laser hair removal treatment can delay hair growth for months to years. But it is not a solution for permanent hair removal. However, compared to other hair removal methods like waxing and shaving, it offers a more permanent solution. To maintain the hair-free skin achieved from the first session, you usually need to go for subsequent laser hair removal sessions after 4 to 6 weeks. The frequency of the sessions is determined and recommended by the dermatologist. And the number of maintenance sessions per year can be lessened gradually.
In the first session, you can expect a 25% reduction in hair. However, in many cases, the patients said they did not see any hair growth on the treated skin for several months or even years. When the hair regrows, they tend to be less in density, more refined, and lighter in color.
The Side Effects
Laser hair removal treatment brings very mild side effects that last for not more than a week time. Those side effects include:
Read more about How Much Does Permanent Laser Hair Removal Cost in India?
There are other side effects, too, other than the possible side effects. But fortunately, those side effects are rare and can be avoided by choosing an experienced dermatologist or medical practitioner to perform the procedure. The rare side effects include:
· Cold sores
Though the skin might look a little red after the treatment, it returns to normal after a while. Some changes in the skin color, however, are permanent. That is why it is necessary to see a dermatologist or medical practitioner and avoid such situations. It is also essential to follow your dermatologist’s instructions before and after the treatment to reduce the risk of side effects.
The FDA approves electrolysis hair removal for permanent hair removal. However, many cases require multiple sessions to achieve the best possible results. Electrolysis, unlike any other hair removal method, guarantees that they will never see any unwanted hair for the rest of their lives once they get treated. Regardless of the causes of excessive hair growth, including metabolic, hormonal, and heredity conditions-electrolysis can permanently remove unwanted hair.
There are three types of electrolysis: thermolysis, galvanic, and blend.
· Thermolysis electrolysis: The thermolysis electrolysis method is performed by passing an alternating current through a needle that heats up and gets inserted into the roots of the hair. In this process, a fine wire probe transmits the radio waves to tissues near the probe. The molecules within the tissues vibrate and lead to a rapid increase in the temperature, and the follicles are effectively killed. The heated needle produces water bubbles to loosen the roots and kill the germinative cells of the hair roots to remove the hairs.
· Galvanic electrolysis: The galvanic method applies a direct current to the hair roots. The patient in this method holds and negative electrode while the dermatologists insert the positive electrode into the hair follicle. When the current is passed through the water and salt in the hair root, the hair gets dissociated into chlorine, sodium hydroxide ions, and hydrogen. The hairs are then removed permanently. In the galvanic method, the body salts are combined with the moisture of the body tissues to make a type of salt water solution. When the current is passed through the inserted needle, the highly concentrated salt water solution within the follicles causes decomposition of the hair-growing cells, to have an 80% of the hairs treated and killed.
· Blend electrolysis: In blend electrolysis, a combination of heat and current destroys the hair follicles. This method is slower than thermolysis but very effective in treating difficult areas. Therefore blend electrolysis is recommended for patients who want to treat coarse hair follicles like the beard.
In electrolysis hair removal treatment, the trained electrologist inserts a wire into the hair follicles under the skin’s surface and then passes the electric current to destroy the hair root. Since the hair follicles are damaged, the hair growth is prevented, causing the existing hair to fall out. Electrolysis has been a prevalent hair removal method for over 100 years.
Electrolysis can be done in most areas of the body, including:
· Lower legs
The device used in electrolysis hair removal is known as epilators, and they can effectively destroy the growth center of the hair with the help of an electric current. The electrologist in this method uses a thin needle that is finer than the hair. The needle is used to open the hair follicle before a small electric current is passed through it to destroy the hair growth cells.
During the electrolysis procedure, the patient might feel temporarily hot or a pinch-like sensation on the skin. This is a very safe procedure and involves very slight risks of infection, but infection can cause only if your dermatologist uses unsterile needles. The procedure does not cause discomfort, but some patients said they felt slightly tingling. You can resume your normal activities immediately after your electrolysis ration.
The electrolysis method removes the individual hair follicle from the face and body. Nowadays, medical electrolysis devices can successfully destroy the growth center of the hair with heat and chemical energy. Since many factors influence hair growth, you might need several electrolysis visits to remove hair permanently from a particular area of your body. Some patients might need to return once a week or on alternative weeks, but once the series of treatments is completed, the unwanted hair will be gone forever.
The result of electrolysis hair removal is as smooth as the skin you will not stop touching. The advantage of electrolysis treatment is that the results are permanent. According to the American Electrolgy Association, people with any skin type, hair type, hair color, and skin color can undergo electrolysis.
Once you get rid of unwanted body hair through electrolysis, there is no need to schedule an annual electrolysis session. Therefore, electrolysis is a maintenance-free treatment method.
The Side Effects
Alongside the many benefits of electrolysis, there are some side effects or risks involved that you need to consider.
If you are treating larger areas such as your legs or back, it can take several electrolysis sessions to achieve permanent results. Removing coarse hair may require up to 30 treatments. People undergoing electrolysis hair removal sometimes experience pain and discomfort. However, the dermatologists suggest taking pain relievers before treatment and applying ice following the session.
Some potential adverse effects of electrolysis include scarring and, in rare cases, infections from unsterilized needles. But these risks can be avoided by choosing a board-certified dermatologist.
What Are The Cost Of Both Treatments?
There is no standard cost for laser hair removal or electrolysis in any city. And the dermatologists have all the rights to set up the cost based on different factors, including your hair growth, skin type, etc. Though laser hair removal and electrolysis treatments are pretty expensive than conventional hair removal treatments, including shaving, waxing, or tweezing, the results achieved through laser hair removal and electrolysis are more permanent and, therefore, cost-effective in the long run.
Here we will tell you about the cost of laser hair removal and electrolysis in different parts of your body.
|Targeted area||Laser hair removal cost (per session)||Electrolysis cost (per session)|
What Treatment Is Best For You?
Laser hair removal and electrolysis produce long-lasting results compared to waxing, sugaring, shaving, or tweezing. But electrolysis brings more long-term results than laser hair removal. The achieved results from electrolysis are more permanent, and the procedure carries fewer side effects and risks. Moreover, you don’t need to opt for numerous maintenance sessions like laser hair removal.
The only downside of electrolysis is that in many cases, it takes too many sessions as electrolysis can’t cover large areas at once, like laser hair removal. But the choice depends on how quickly you want to achieve results and whether you’re hair removal goal is long-term or short-term.
Many people might think that getting one session of each can be beneficial. But that is ultimately a bad idea. Once you are getting electrolysis done, opting for laser hair removal will disrupt the effect of the first procedure. It is essential to do your homework before going for any treatment. We always suggest talking to a dermatologist to determine your best option. If you want to switch hair removal procedures, you might be suggested to wait several months before starting.
Since many electrolysis devices are available on the market; many people ask whether they can use those devices at home or not. But it is always best to get the treatment done by a trained electrologist. The electrologists use high-quality equipment and offer customized treatment plans that suit your needs. On the other hand, laser hair removal can never be done at home; therefore, talking to a professional is the only way out. No matter what procedure you choose, know the professional’s qualification, ask your friends and family for recommendations, and ask questions during the consultation before booking your first appointment. Also, ensure that the electrologist, dermatologist, or aesthetician uses the proper technique in your chosen procedure. While going for a consultation, look around and check if the clinic maintains hygiene and if you are comfortable at the place. Remember, personal comfort is essential to making the right choice.