Electrolysis vs. Laser Hair Removal: Which Should You Go For?
Published Oct 05, 2020
When it comes to getting rid of unwanted hair, the choices are plenty. There’s shaving, tweezing, or waxing. But if you want to remain hair-free for a long time, you have two choices: electrolysis and laser hair removal.
Electrolysis works by inserting a tiny needle into your hair follicles. The needles then release a mild electric current enough to destroy the follicles and prevent further hair growth.
Laser hair removal, on the other hand, uses laser light (obviously!) to get rid of excess hair. Using a handheld device, a pulse of light is applied to your skin. The radiation from this light then travels through your skin and into your hair follicles, destroying it. When your follicles are destroyed, it can no longer grow new hair.
So which works better, electrolysis or laser hair removal? It depends. Each has its own benefits and disadvantages. To help you choose the right one for you, here’s a quick comparison.
Both methods don’t normally have downtimes. You may experience some redness and swelling after a laser hair removal session. But it normally subsides after an hour or two.
Some people who had electrolysis also reported tiny scabs in their faces. But it’s not that noticeable and usually falls off after a few days.
Both electrolysis and laser hair removal also have minimal aftercare requirements.
If you’ve just gone through a laser hair removal, it’s important to limit your sun exposure for several weeks. It’s also recommended to wear loose clothing for at least two days and avoid hot tubs, swimming pools, and steam rooms. Your hair follicles will also be sensitive at this time and sweat can irritate it. So physical activities should be limited.
Avoiding any activities that may cause you to sweat a lot is also recommended if you just had electrolysis. You also have to apply an antibacterial cream to the treated areas.
Other than the above, you can carry on with your activities as usual.
Minor side effects are common for both electrolysis and laser hair removal. As mentioned, you may experience redness and swelling but they usually go away on their own. With electrolysis, you may also feel a slight pinch every time the needle touches your skin.
In very rare cases, laser hair removal may also cause blisters and inflammation. While using unsanitized needles during electrolysis may cause scars. This is why you should only trust board-certified professionals, whether its laser hair removal or electrolysis.
How Long It Lasts
Laser hair removal slows down hair growth and thins out the hair over a period of time. While electrolysis stops hair growth completely. As such, the results are much more permanent.
As long as they’re administered by a licensed professional, both methods are safe. They’re both FDA-approved and are generally regarded to have no harmful effects on long-term health.
Though both methods are effective at removing unwanted hair, laser hair removal seems to work best on people with lighter skin and dark hair. While electrolysis works on all skin types and colors.
To be fully effective, both methods require multiple sessions. But laser lights can cover a large area of the skin at a time. So laser hair removal sessions typically only last a few minutes each.
While the needles in electrolysis can only target one hair follicle at a time. So the sessions can drag on for a few hours depending on the area getting treated.
If you want to get rid of excess hair in your eye area, you cannot do so with laser hair removal. That’s because the harsh laser light is harmful to your eyes. But if you’re looking to remove excess hair elsewhere, both methods will do just fine.
Since they are considered optional cosmetic procedures, both electrolysis and laser hair removal is not covered by insurance. How much you’ll pay depends on the number of required sessions and the area being treated. It also varies depending on your location and the dermatologist treating you. Since electrolysis is time-consuming, some dermatologists charge an hourly fee. But in general, you can expect to pay anywhere from $30 to $200 per session.
About The Author
Terrence Tan Ting is an industrial engineer by profession but a full time writer by passion. He loves to write about a wide range of topics from many different industries thanks to his undying curiosity.