Laser Hair Removal Vs. Electrolysis - Which To Choose?
Over the years technology has created various forms of hair removal from shaving, depilatory creams, and waxing, to laser and electrolysis. Each has a varying level of hair removal, from just the surface to a more permanent solution. Many of our patients ask about the differences between laser and electrolysis and which would be best for their hair removal needs.
To start, a true explanation of the term "permanent hair removal" is needed. Actually, both laser and electrolysis would be better described as hair reduction. Why? Because, we have many hair follicles throughout any given area of our bodies and the follicles are all in different growth cycles. In order for any hair removal treatment to be effective, the hair must be in the active growth cycle. Both electrolysis and laser treatments will permanently destroy the production of hair from the active follicle; but, we will always make some small amount of new hairs within our lifetime. This hair growth is usually associated with hormone levels in our bodies and our genes or heritage. Therefore, maintenance treatments will be required after the initial series of any hair removal technique. How often this is necessary depends on the area being treated, but is often performed once or twice a year.
Electrolysis is the passing of a very thin needle through the skin into the hair follicle. An electrical current is then passed through this needle, rendering the hair follicle inactive and no longer able to produce a hair. This process can be painful and very tedious. Although, it is a good alternative to laser for gray or white coarse hairs. Risks associated with this treatment may include tenderness and redness for several days after the treatment, pain during the treatment and pitted scarring from excessive current in the skin. This process is not the best option for large areas, such as the bikini line, legs, or back. Treatments are less expensive than laser although are performed more often, about 1 - 2 weeks apart.
With laser treatments, a specific wavelength of light, which has been found to target hair follicles, is passed through the skin to the base of the hair, rendering it inactive. There are varying forms of lasers on the market and some target only certain skin types while others will treat all skin types. Also, some lasers will target hair follicles, but also lighten the skin's pigmentation. Therefore, some people prefer not to be treated during the summer. Treatments are much less painful than electrolysis, but some discomfort is to be expected and minor redness can be noted immediately afterwards. Other risks with laser include skin discoloration for darker skin types and possible scarring. Also, there are no lasers currently available that effectively treat blonde, white or gray hairs; therefore, electrolysis is a better treatment option if this is your main concern. Laser hair removal is the best option for dark hair to any area of the body, especially large areas such as the back, legs, face, underarms and bikini. Laser hair removal treatments tend to be shorter than electrolysis treatments and are spaced further apart, typically 4 - 10 weeks, depending on the area being treated. An average of 6 - 8 treatments are recommended to notice a 60% - 80% reduction in the amount of hair growth.
Whether you opt for electrolysis or laser, safety and efficacy should be your #1 concerns. For the best results make sure you ask these questions of your provider:
- What is your knowledge about this laser?
- What is your education, current qualifications, training and certifications for the use of this laser?
- What are the risks the laser may pose by interacting with certain medications or skin pigmentation?
- How extensive is your knowledge about treatment settings, risks and expectations that come along with each individual treatment?
Finally, look around, how is the appearance of the technician and the location? Above all, talk to your skin care specialist to see what form of hair reduction is right for you.If you are interested in plastic surgery visit www.rpsplasticsurgery.com for more information. Some of our most popular procedures include breast augmentation, breast reduction, breast lift, liposuction, tummy tuck, rhinoplasty and face lift surgery.