Laser Hair Removal vs. Electrolysis – Which is Best?

Let`s discuss the difference between laser hair removal and electrolysis. Moreover,we go indetail, how each process works as well as the pros/cons of each.

Hair removal may not be a new concept, but throughout history, mankind has developed new and advanced methods to rid ourselves of unsightly hair. Laser hair removal and electrolysis are two of the newest and most popular hair removal methods available today. Both are technically advanced and offer their own sets of benefits and drawbacks.

How Does Laser Hair Removal Work?

Laser hair removal uses pulsating light beams to target and damage hair follicles. When the light from the laser reaches the follicle, it heats the melanin in the hair. The heat causes the melanin to burn and temporarily ceases hair growth. Some may see hair growth return after just a few weeks, while others will enjoy several hair-free months. With continuous treatments, the hair will take longer to grow back and will become finer each time.

Laser hair removal is one of the most common cosmetic procedures performed in the United States. It can be performed on the following areas:

  • Face
  • Arms
  • Legs
  • Underarm
  • Bikini Line

Although it does not deliver permanent results, it is quickly becoming one of the most popular hair removal methods.


How Does Electrolysis Work?

Electrolysis is a bit different than laser hair removal. It also happens to be the only method that is FDA approved for permanent hair removal. Electrolysis devices destroy the growth center of the hair using either heat or chemical energy. A tiny probe is inserted into the hair follicle and tweezers are then used to remove the hair.

Electrolysis can be used to safely remove hair from most areas of the body, including:

  • Eyebrows
  • Face
  • Thighs
  • Abdomen
  • Legs
  • Chest

There are three different types of electrolysis:

Thermolysis: This type of electrolysis is sometimes referred to as radio-frequency or high-frequency. It uses alternating currents to heat the follicle.

Galvanic: This is the original electrolysis method. It is applied using a direct current, which creates a chemical change that turns salt and water into lye surrounding the hair follicle.

Blend: As its name suggest, this method uses a combination of alternating and direct current to produce a chemical and heating action.

Much like laser hair removal, electrolysis also requires multiple treatments to see the best possible results.

Electrolysis vs. Laser Hair Removal – What’s the Difference?

Laser hair removal and electrolysis do have some similarities. Both are relatively painless procedures and both require multiple sessions to see optimal results. Both also carry similar risks and side effects. The most common are:

  • Inflammation
  • Redness
  • Scarring
  • Burning
  • Irritation

There are quite a few differences between hair removal electrolysis and laser hair removal as well. While both need to be performed by highly trained and qualified professionals, the results, cost and procedure methods are quite different.

Laser hair removal uses pulsating light to destroy the hair follicle, while electrolysis uses heat or chemical energy to destroy the hair’s growth center. Electrolysis can achieve permanent hair loss through multiple sessions, but these results are not 100% guaranteed. Nonetheless, you stand a much better chance of achieving permanent hair removal with electrolysis vs. laser hair removal, which must be maintained to keep hair growth at bay.

Another major difference between the two is the cost of the procedure. The average cost of a laser hair removal session is $235, whereas electrolysis costs approximately $45 per session.

The Pros and Cons of Each Procedure

As with any cosmetic procedure, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons before making a commitment. Let’s take a closer look at the benefits and drawbacks of laser hair removal and hair removal electrolysis.

Laser Hair Removal Pros

  • Quick. Every laser pulse takes only a fraction of a second to reach the hair follicle and can treat multiple hairs at once. To put things into perspective, the laser can treat a quarter-sized area every second.

    how does laser hair removal work

    Hair Removal laser.jpg (Photo credit: secretlondon123)

  • Reliable results. Although laser hair removal is not approved as a permanent hair removal solution, most people are able to achieve permanent results after just five sessions.
  • Accuracy. Lasers are able to pinpoint only the hair follicle and leave the surrounding skin undamaged.

Laser Hair Removal Cons

  • Cost. Treatments can be expensive.
  • Side effects are possible. This can range from itching and swelling to burning, blistering, infection and skin discoloration.
  • Not suitable for everyone. Laser hair removal is not a good solution for those with light hair, fine hair or dark skin.
  • Several treatments are needed to produce desired results.

The Pros of Electrolysis

  • Proven track record for success. Electrolysis has been proven to produce the best overall results when compared to other hair removal methods.
  • Can be used on many hair and skin types. Electrolysis does not target hair pigment. It attacks the follicle itself. This means that those with light or fine hair and/or dark skin may be able to benefit from this procedure.

The Cons of Electrolysis

  • Multiple treatments are needed to see desired results. Anywhere between 15 and 30 treatments will be needed.
  • Bent follicles can make the process difficult. From years of waxing, shaving and/or tweezing, hair follicles can be misshapen or bent. This makes it more difficult for the needle to enter the root and also makes it more difficult to destroy the follicle.
  • Expensive. An electrolysis treatment may cost less than a laser treatment, but will require many more sessions to achieve desired results. In the long run, electrolysis can wind up costing far more than laser hair removal.
  • Skin discoloration is possible if the procedure is performed improperly.

Electrolysis and laser hair removal are both common and popular hair removal methods that are generally safe. While neither can guarantee results, most people are able to achieve permanent hair reduction or permanent hair removal after multiple sessions.

The best way to determine which treatment is the best option is to take advantage of free consultations. Most facilities offer this as a way to educate potential clients on how the process works and to discuss pricing. During the consultation, you can find out whether or not you are a good candidate for the procedure. If laser hair removal is not a good option for you, electrolysis may be able to provide you with the results you are looking for.

2 Responses to “Laser Hair Removal vs. Electrolysis – Which is Best?”
  1. Molly

    Great writing Kelly (thumps up)..
    I think electrolysis is the best though it has some temporary side effects. Because it is effective on all skin and hair types, it is often the best alternative for those with lighter hair.

  2. Much better chance of achieving permanent with laser hair removal, which must be maintained to keep hair growth at bay.

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