When comparing laser hair removal vs. electrolysis, laser hair removal can be used in removing hair on the people with light skin and dark hair. Also, laser hair removal procedure does not yield a great result on people with light hair because it targets the dark color while electrolysis as a hair removal procedure can be used on anyone irrespective of their skin or hair color because electrolysis will attack the hair follicles and not only the hair pigment.
Laser Hair Removal: How Does it Work?
The laser pulses high concentrated laser light with a specific wavelength on the targeted area where they want to get rid of hair. The laser light heats up the hair follicles and the hair pigment absorb this light, which causes the root of the follicle to get damaged and debilitated. The treated area is then rubbed with cool compresses, or anti-inflammatory treatments, to help diminish discomfort.
What does the procedure involve?
Before the procedure, the technician performing the laser surgery will trim the hair that is being treated close to the skin.
The technician will then adjust the laser’s settings based on the color and thickness of the hair being removed, and color of the skin.
Cold gel will be applied. Some people may be given a topical anesthetic to minimize discomfort. Anyone having their hair removed with a laser will need to wear eye protection during the treatment.
After the procedure, it may be necessary to apply ice packs to alleviate discomfort. For severe pain, a doctor may recommend over-the-counter pain relievers or a steroid cream.
Most people will require up to 8 follow-up treatments to get the best results, which can be scheduled 4 to 6 weeks apart. Once hair growth has been sufficiently restrained, a person may require a once-or twice-yearly maintenance session.
Advantages of Laser Hair Removal
Some of the benefits of laser hair removal include:
- Precision: The lasers quickly target coarse, dark hairs.
- Speed: Laser pulses take just milliseconds, and can treat several hairs at once, which means that small areas can be treated in just minutes.
- Lighter growth and color: New hair growth tends to be less dense than before, and the new hair is often a few shades lighter than the original hair.
- Efficacy: Many people see long-term results after 3 to 8 sessions.
No recovery time: people can resume their daily activities
Disadvantages of Laser Hair Removal
Laser hair removal is not suitable for everyone, and there are some risks involved. Its main disadvantages include:
- Not for all skin and hair coloring: The laser works best on people with light skin and dark hair because the laser targets dark colors.
- Adverse reactions: Can include discolored skin, swelling, skin redness, blisters, and scarring. However, some of these resolve within hours of the treatment.
- Photosensitivity – Lasers can increase the skin’s sensitivity to sunlight. so direct exposure to the sun must be avoided immediately after the procedure. People having laser treatment should avoid sunlight for 6 weeks before treatment to prevent discoloration of the tanned skin.
People should use a fully trained, certified laser technician working under the direction of a board-certified healthcare provider to reduce the risk of severe and long-lasting side effects following laser hair removal.
Side Effects of Laser Hair Removal
Side effects of laser hair removal may include:
- Pigmentation changes
What to Expect After Laser Hair Removal
Cold compression or over the counter pain relievers may be prescribed by your medical practitioner if the discomfort is intolerable.
You’ll also want to minimize your sun exposure after each laser hair removal. Increased sun sensitivity from the procedure puts you at risk of sunburn. Make sure you wear sunscreen every day.
Follow-up appointments are essential to this type of treatment. This helps to stop hair growth after the initial laser hair removal session. You’ll also need to see your laser hair removal medical practitioner for a maintenance appointment
Electrolysis: How Does it Work?
Electrolysis involves passing an electrical current through a hair follicle, which damages the follicle and prevents new hair growth.
What does the procedure involve?
The procedure involves the technician placing an ultra-thin needle into the targeted hair follicle. An electric current passes through the probe, killing the hair root.
The skin may feel irritated and appear slightly red, these symptoms tend to resolve within a few hours. Cold compression or a healing antiseptic for swelling may be applied to the treated area to repair skin and fight bacteria.
For permanent hair removal, a person will need several treatments. This is because the skin has multiple follicles for each hair, so dormant follicles may begin to grow hair between sessions. Follow-up sessions treat these newly active follicles.
Advantages of Electrolysis
- Permanent: Electrolysis is the only FDA-approved method of permanent hair removal.
- Versatility Electrolysis is effective for people with any skin type, skin color, hair type, and hair color. Electrolysis is suitable for any area of the body
- No recovery time: People can resume their daily activities immediately after the procedure.
Disadvantages of Electrolysis
Although there are many benefits to electrolysis, there are some risks and drawbacks to consider:
Several sessions: If larger areas are being treated with electrolysis, such as the legs or back, it can take several long sessions to achieve permanent results. Also, removing coarse hair, such as from around the bikini line, requires more sessions. Some people may require up to 30 treatments.
Discomfort: People undergoing electrolysis hair removal may experience some pain and discomfort
Potential for adverse effects: These include scarring in rare cases or infection from unsterilized needles.
Side Effects of Electrolysis
Minor side effects are common, but they tend to go away within a day.
- Skin Irritation
- Scarring – severe side effects
- Infection from needle – severe side effect
What to Expect After Electrolysis
These results aren’t achieved in just one session. This is especially the case if you’re having the procedure done on a large area like your back, or on an area of thicker hair growth like the pubic region.
Follow-up sessions may require every week or bi-weekly to achieve optimal results. Depending on the size of the area you are treating, it may require multiple sessions to achieve the optimal results.
Which is Best?
Laser therapy and electrolysis both produce longer-lasting effects compared to shaving. But electrolysis seems to work the best.
Your choice may depend on how quickly you want to achieve short-term hair removal. Also, doing one procedure and then the other isn’t a good idea. For example, getting electrolysis done after laser hair removal disrupts the effects of the first procedure.
Do your homework ahead of time and talk to your medical practitioner about the best option. If you decide to switch hair removal procedures, you may need to wait several months before beginning.