Laser Hair Removal Vs. Electrolysis: What’s the Difference?

Nowadays, technology has advanced in the hair removal industry and there is what seems like a limitless number of treatments and methods available for you to achieve the smooth, hairless skin you desire, if that’s your preference. Of course, hair removal isn’t a must, but many people are fans of having hairless skin, and it’s always good to be aware of your options if this is the case for you. Both laser hair removal and electrolysis are slightly more complicated than the likes of waxing or shaving, so read on to find out all the details.

What is laser hair removal?

Before we begin to distinguish the differences between the two methods mentioned, it’s important that we first establish exactly what each of them are. Laser hair removal is something you are more likely to have heard of before, and it has become increasingly popular in recent years. Of course, it’s a method of hair removal, as we already know, but the process is a little more complicated than that.

In essence, laser hair removal is the use of a special type of laser which emits a light into the skin. This light is then absorbed by the melanin in the hair it’s pointed at (melanin is the pigment which gives our skin and hair its colour). From this light, heat is generated and damages the hair follicles that the hairs have grown from. As a result of this damage, hair growth in the area is either delayed or permanently halted.

When performed, the laser used to damage the hair follicles only works on the hairs which are actively growing at the time, and at any given time a percentage of hairs will be in the resting stage, meaning the treatment won’t work so effectively on them. For this reason, it’s usually recommended that multiple treatments of laser hair removal, spaced 4-8 weeks apart, take place as this allows every single hair to be targeted in its active phase at some point.

Once the initial laser hair removal treatments have been undertaken, hair will definitely not grow for the following months, and then the results can vary from person to person. While some people may find that the hair never grows back after even years, others may see some growth after s few months. Therefore, it’s recommended that you have a single follow-up treatment once a year (although this time may vary from person to person), to keep hair growth at bay.

What is electrolysis?

Now that we’re clear with the concept of laser hair removal, it’s time to take a look at the method of electrolysis, one which is slightly less common and recognised. Despite this, it’s still a good method of hair removal, and certainly worth researching. Similar to laser hair removal, electrolysis is a little less straightforward than your average shaving or waxing treatment, and is performed by a professional, and also yields more long-term results.

When electrolysis is performed on unwanted hairs on your face and body, a special probe is used to perform the procedure, and it’s a very high-tech option. The probe used is very fine, as it is inserted into the hair follicle, the small structures from which your hairs grow, and destroys their centre. This is done using either chemical or heat energy, and once the hair follicle has been treated, the hair itself is removed using a pair of tweezers.

In a very similar way to laser hair removal, electrolysis usually requires multiple appointments in order to achieve the desired result, and the number of these initial appointments varies depending on your own body. However, unlike laser hair removal, electrolysis appointments tend to take place once a week or once every other week until the desired result is achieved. However, once the hair has been removed, electrolysis will provide a permanent result, and hair will no longer grow in the area again. So far, electrolysis is the only approved method of hair removal which is completely permanent.

The process of electrolysis, while it may sound daunting, isn’t usually painful, and most people remain comfortable enough during the sessions. However, this isn’t to say that the process can’t hurt at all, and this all depends on your personal pain tolerance and threshold. If you are experiencing pain at any point during the treatment, the doctor should be able to provide some local anaesthetic to numb the area.

What’s the difference between laser hair removal and electrolysis?

Now that we’re clear on each of the processes regarding laser hair removal and electrolysis, it’s time to take a closer look at the differences between the two. It’s clear that, while they’re similar methods of high-tech, professional hair removal, they do have their differences, and it’s handy to know these when it comes to deciding between the two.

Electrolysis is permanent. Laser hair removal isn’t.

While there’s no doubt that laser hair removal can be much more effective than more temporary methods of hair removal, it’s important to acknowledge that it’s not completely permanent. As mentioned, you’ll need follow-up appointments after that initial treatment, but it is still much less maintenance than other options. However, electrolysis is permanent, which can be more convenient.

Electrolysis is more risky

While there aren’t any life-threatening risks to either treatment, there is a chance for electrolysis to become painful, unlike laser hair removal. In addition, due to the use of needles in electrolysis, there is a chance of scarring of infection which isn’t present when it comes to laser hair removal.

Laser usually requires less sessions

Depending on the area of the body being treated, laser can require much less sessions than electrolysis, as laser usually takes no more than eight sessions to complete, compared to up to thirty required by electrolysis.

Final thoughts

Now that we’ve discovered what each of the options entail, and how they both work, you are much more educated on the options available to you for long-term, hassle-free hair removal. It’ important to consult professionals before either treatment and get advice specific to you and your body for the best results.

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