At Celibre Medical Corporation, we field many inquiries from patients wondering about the differences between laser hair removal and electrolysis. If you too are wondering, this article can help answer your questions. Both laser hair removal and electrolysis can get rid of unwanted hair, however, the treatments differ significantly and some patients may be best suited for one and not the other. There are some who would benefit from both treatments for maximum hair removal results.
First, it’s important to ask yourself a few key questions to help determine which option may be a better fit.
• How sensitive are you to pain?
• Is the hair you are treating dark or light?
• How much time do you have to return for subsequent visits?
If you are not able to tolerate some level of discomfort, you are probably not a good candidate for electrolysis or laser hair removal. Electrolysis works by inserting a very small, metal probe into each individual hair follicle, delivering an electronic charge in order to destroy the root of the hair. Because of the number of hair follicles requiring to be destroyed, the procedure requires a significant amount of electrical charges. This is a slow process where the discomfort of each charge happens many hundreds of times at each visit.
Laser hair removal, on the other hand, is less invasive than electrolysis. Lasers utilize light which gets absorbed by the hair being treated. When the light is absorbed by the hair, it creates heat. This in turn, cuts off blood flow to the hair follicle and the hair does not return. Because the laser light affects a large number of hair follicles at the same time, the discomfort is felt over a much shorter period of time.
One drawback for laser hair removal is that it is less effective on light colored hair. This is due to the fact that light hair cannot absorb the light energy from the laser. As a result, it’s possible that laser hair removal for blond haired, fair skinned individuals (such as Scandinavian heritage) may not be effective. In addition, laser treatment of grey haired individuals will not be effective.
While electrolysis may be better for removal of lighter colored hair, the treatment sessions often require a significantly longer amount of time. For example, removal of unwanted hair on the upper lip may only require a few minutes with laser hair removal, however, with electrolysis, the procedure will require hours.
When comparing electrolysis and laser hair removal, it is important to consider the above questions. For example, if you don’t have a lot of time for a treatment session, then you are probably not a great candidate for electrolysis. This is because electrolysis treatment concentrates on individual hair follicles, which requires more time to complete than laser hair removal. On the other hand, if you have very blond hair, then you may be a better candidate for electrolysis.
Because both will have some discomfort, you may not be a candidate for either if you are extremely sensitive to pain. At our practice we have had only several patients (in thousands) opt out of a laser hair removal program because of discomfort.