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Laser Hair Removal Versus Electrolysis

THE DECISION DEPENDS ON THE AMOUNT + TYPE OF HAIR YOU WANT TO REMOVE

Article by City Lifestyle

Photography by Stock Images

Sometimes, unwanted hair acts like a weed in the garden. It sprouts up and spreads out through your garden. At such a point, you have to choose the right solutions if you want to restore your garden. The same applies to unwanted hair on your body—and this laser versus electrolysis guide should be perfect for your needs.

Hair growth is average. However, issues such as hormonal imbalance, age, and various other factors can lead to unwanted hair development. From tweezing to plucking, the range of hair removal techniques is immense. Unfortunately, these techniques are not permanent, and you should expect hair growth soon enough. 

If you are a few follicles of hair away from an embarrassing experience, consider electrolysis techniques. It’s a cosmetic procedure that works perfectly for removing small amounts of hair, and practitioners have used it for over a decade. However, if you have large amounts of unwanted hair and want the right result, consider a laser hair removal process. 

What is Laser Hair Removal?

It refers to a hair removal technique, which involves laser light pulses to help destroy hair follicles. While it’s mostly practiced in clinics, laser technology advancements mean that users can also perform it themselves. 

Although laser hair removal can help control hair development, it won’t lead to permanent hair removal. Plus, several removal procedures are required to ensure the best results, and you may also need cosmetic treatments. It’s a technique that is most effective for individuals who have dark hair or light skin. That said, it’s also effective for people of various kinds of skin color under the right conditions.

How Does Laser Hair Removal Work?

During the removal process, the laser produces a special light which the skin will absorb. Then, the light is converted to heat, which helps deliver localized damage to the hair follicles that exist on the skin. Such damage can help stop the development of additional hair.

The goal of this process should be to help remove unwanted hair from the skin. The popular treatment techniques will include the chin, bikini line, armpits, and more. Regions such as the eyelid are not recommended because the heat can easily compromise the eyes. 

In the past, laser hair removal used to be a challenge because of the contrast between the hair and skin color. However, improvements in laser technology have made it possible for individuals with dark skin to get treatment. Also, laser hair removal is not often effective for colors that won’t absorb light well, such as red, blond, white, and more. 

Advantages of Laser Hair Removal

The key benefits of this approach to hair removal include:

  • Precise – the lasers are specific at targeting all types of hair follicles.
  • Speed – the laser pulses are effective and require a few seconds to achieve the desired result.
  • Lighter growth and color – any new hair development will be less dense than the techniques used previously.
  • Efficient – most patients report improved results after 2-6 sessions.

Disadvantages

Not all patients can qualify for this removal process, and it's associated with a few risks. They include:

  • It is not suitable for some skin types – lasers are not ideal for users with dark skin, as the pulses target the dark parts of follicles.
  • Photosensitivity – in some cases, laser removals can compromise the skin’s pigment, leading to sensitivity to light.

What is Electrolysis? 

It involves a technique whereby the practitioner inserts a thin and solid metal probe into the hair follicles. The main issue with electrolysis is that it's slow, and you might have to go for many treatment procedures before you get the correct result. Plus, the treatment process relates to various hassles, including discomfort on the skin. The time required for the electrolysis removal might also be significant, as each follicle might require up to 20 seconds.

Thanks to its destructive benefits, electrolysis is a hair removal process approved by the Food and Drug Administration and the American Medical Association. Even if it’s a relatively slow and costly process, it's increasingly becoming a reliable process for hair removal in various body sections.

How Does Electrolysis Work?

The process involves skill, whereby the practitioner inserts the probe without compromising the structure of the skin. Once inserted, the probe delivers a regulated amount of electricity. Regulating the current of the electricity helps ensure localized damage for the best hair removal results. In some cases, the process might involve the galvanic or the blend method. The galvanic method consists of caustic acid, while thermolysis involves the use of heating techniques. 

Once the treatment is complete, expect issues such as red, swollen, or tender skin. However, the pain will decrease concerning the amount of time required for you to recover. Electrolysis is a permanent hair removal solution. It's commonly used to treat body parts such as the chin, hairline, eyebrows, and more. 

Before investing in an electrolysis service, ensure you check the benefits and challenges. Plus, it's also great to gain insight into the other alternatives that exist in the process so that you can make an informed decision. 

Benefits

Electrolysis provides the following benefits:

  • Permanent – according to the FDA, electrolysis is a proven hair removal technique that offers permanent results.
  • Dynamic – electrolysis is more suitable for people with different skin types when compared to laser hair removal. It's also ideal for all parts of the body, even the eyebrows.
  • Fast recovery – since it involves the precise targeting of individual hair follicles, patients are likely to resume their activities once the process is complete. 

Drawbacks

  • Requires several sessions – if you plan on using it to treat large sections of the body, expect to go for several repeat sessions. Furthermore, removing the coarse hair around parts such as the bikini line might need many sessions. In some cases, patients may have to go for over 20 sessions.
  • Discomfort – the pain associated with the insertion of probes in the skin can cause pain. Your practitioner may prescribe some medication and OTC cosmetics you can use. 

Laser Hair Removal Versus Electrolysis Comparison

Electrolysis 

Electrolysis ranks high among some of the best hair removal techniques used for over one decade. Similar to most modern technologies, it's easy to use with additional treatment procedures. Plus, it's also efficient for permanently removing all the hair that exists in the body. However, it requires the help of a competent practitioner and the right results for the best results. Various also come into play in the effectiveness of this treatment technique. For instance, large amounts of hair may develop in multiple unwanted sections due to hormonal imbalances.

Laser Treatments

According to a recent study, hair removal through light sources and lasers is highly effective compared to most removal methods. Why? Because these procedures involve technologies that help to target hair follicles with high levels of precision. These include techniques such as waxing, electrolysis, shaving, and more. However, according to the study, the critical issue with this approach is that repetitive treatments might be required to achieve the best results. They are not permanent, which makes them ideal for small portions of hair. Hair removal with lasers and light sources is superior to conventional treatments such as shaving, waxing, and electrolysis.

Similarities

Both are Suitable for Any Part of the Body

Laser and electrolysis treatments are suitable for use all around the body. Whether it’s the nose, ears, or the feet, both approaches to hair removal work well. While anyone can get the procedure, electrolysis candidates have to consult a medical practitioner.

Both Require a Few Sessions

Did you know that hair grows in stages? Yes, hair grows in three stages, and the most crucial one is “anagen” growth. However, electrolysis might require more sessions than a laser hair removal process, especially if it’s a big body section. 

Safe and Government Approved

Both skin treatment techniques are safe and approved for use by the FDA. Done correctly, you won’t have to shave or tweeze again. Plus, laser and electrolysis are excellent for preventing ingrown hairs. 

The Side Effects of These Techniques

Laser Hair Removal

The critical issue with this approach is that it does not guarantee it will remove all of your hair. That said, some hair could be resistant to the treatment process and might regrow, usually due to hormonal imbalance. However, the new hair might be lighter and finer in texture. The common hair removal side effects can include: 

  • Swelling around the follicles
  • There are changes in the pigment, such as in places that have dark skin. The good thing is these changes will be temporary. 
  • People with light skin might experience redness issues.
  • Secondary issues such as crusting, scarring, and blistering more

Risks and Problems 

Patients that have dark skin require extra care. Why? Because their skin needs the right light balance to achieve the correct result.

Plus, patients that have gone for tanning procedures should avoid the process until the effects subside. The pigment resulting from the tanning process can compromise the effectiveness of the laser.

Your practitioner should help you identify any such complications.

Advancements in technology mean that people can perform laser removal at home using DIY techniques. However, these techniques are not often effective as those performed in professional settings. The research on this approach to hair removal is also not sufficient. 

Based on information from the FDA, these techniques do not classify as medical procedures but are cosmetic. Thus, they are not often taken for oversight from cosmetic regulatory bodies. If you prefer the DIY hair removal techniques, ensure you follow the instructions as required. 

Electrolysis

This approach is also associated with various health risks. During the treatment process, you may come across some pain due to the flow of current. Once the treatment process is complete, the skin may become red, swollen, and even unusually supple. The good thing is that these are only temporary side effects. Any pain that occurs from electrolysis procedures should subside in a few hours. The other secondary side effects include keloid scars and unusual changes in the skin of the patients.

Risks and Problems 

The other challenges associated with electrolysis might include:

  • Time-Consuming – unlike laser hair removal, electrolysis involves a meticulous approach, requiring lots of time to achieve the best results. While the removal sessions are sometimes short, clients often have to go back for repeat procedures. It could take between a few weeks and several months before the process destroys all the unwanted hair. Such an issue can, in turn, lead to increased costs.
  • Physical Issues – even though electrolysis does not involve burning lights or chemicals, it can have several adverse complications. For instance, a significant number of people experience pain during the hair removal process. The solution to such a problem would be the application of numbing cream.
  • Not Suitable for Pacemakers – before you undergo an electrolysis procedure, your practitioner may have to ask you a few questions. If you know you have a pacemaker, this process is “NOT” suitable for your health. The electricity produced during the removal process can have adverse side effects on the pacemaker functions. Also, people that suffer from rosacea must avoid electrolysis procedures. 
  • Not Suitable for Some Patients – while electrolysis might be good at removing unwanted hair, it's not often suitable for people with dark skin. Why? It's because the removal process can easily compromise the color of the skin. The sections of the skin treated using electrolysis might become lighter than other sections in the body. 

Pain Associated with Hair Removal

You might have asked, “how painful is a laser hair versus electrolysis process?” These are the most common permanent hair removal techniques, and they work by targeting skin follicles. Laser hair removal is becoming increasingly popular globally because it's efficient and precise. Electrolysis is the older of these techniques but is only suitable for removing a few follicles of hair. 

Since electrolysis involves using a special probe, which goes through the skin, it's often associated with lots of pain. Plus, patients may have to go for several treatment procedures before achieving the right results. 

Fortunately, for most patients, there have been many notable developments in anesthesia medications that had occurred. The availability of such medical resources means that patients can undergo over 1 to 2 hours of treatment, which was not possible before. 

Remember that the perception of pain goes far more than sensation on your skin. It also includes emotional aspects, which are vital in the transfer of pain sensations in the body. Technically speaking, pain can be seen as “notice” of a compromise in body functions until the information gets to the brain. There, it's where we can notice that the signal is an indicator of pain. Being able to control issues such as anxiety and fear can serve as excellent pain relief mechanisms.

The skin contains sensitive nerves, which can respond to damage that results from heat or chemical substances. Electrolysis is a technique that involves heat or chemicals, which can damage tissue. Nerves transmit this information as pain to the brain. Thus, pain is inevitable when undergoing an electrolysis process. 

What Are the Solutions for this Pain? 

The techniques for addressing the pain fall under two main sections. These include:

  • Physical Compounds – these include drugs and medications that help control pain by compromising nerve impulses. The common ones include local anesthesia and numbing cream, which are applied locally to the affected areas. 
  • Psychological Methods – these can include hypnotherapy techniques, which help the client control the pain. Plus, factors such as the medical facility and its set up can also be psychological techniques. Practitioners should aim at making medical environments calm and serene. Remember that controlling fear and anxiety are crucial factors in pain relief during such procedures. 

How Much Will You Need to Spend

There are many factors when it comes to considering laser hair versus electrolysis removal costs. Laser removal is usually more affordable than electrolysis. Expect to spend between $200–$400 for large sections of the body. However, a short session to remove small hair patches can average between $50–$150. Depending on the type of your skin, hormonal imbalances, and more, you may require several treatments for the best result.

Also, the good thing about electrolysis techniques is that it requires a small amount of aftercare. The skin might become irritated and suffer from increased redness. However, these are symptoms that won’t require additional care, such as cosmetics, because they subside in a few hours. Your practitioner may prescribe various cosmetic creams, medications, and some ice to help control the pain. 

Various other factors, such as the preparation required and aftercare procedures, are also important. These additional medical procedures are likely to attract additional costs, which you have to consider. 

Are you tired of waxing, tweezing, or shaving your hair? Getting rid of a single follicle of hair each day can prove to be a challenge. If you are tired of dealing with low hair growth, consider a permanent removal technique. The options, in this case, will either be laser hair removal or electrolysis. 

However, which one is effective, and what are the risks? Laser removal is the most effective and also has a small number of side effects. Electrolysis might also be effective, but it’s a painstaking process that might end up leaving holes in your pocket.

Ask the Experts in Kansas City About Hair Removal

Sunflower Dermatology + Medical Day Spa is located in the Northland of Kansas City with a comfortable, sunny atmosphere.

If you feel nervous about the hair removal process and want to ask a few more questions about both laser hair removal and electrolysis, the experts here will be more than happy to assist you.

No question is a dumb question when it comes to your health and how you feel about your appearance. Get the answers—and results—that you want without any regrets at Sunflower Dermatology.

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