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Electrolysis vs. Laser Hair Removal: What's the Difference?

Traditional hair-removal techniques like shaving and waxing can be time-consuming with less- than-optimal results. The effects are often short term with the potential for annoying cuts, razor bumps, and ingrown hairs resulting from your efforts. 

Electrolysis and laser hair removal are two types of hair removal that can produce long-term results more efficiently than traditional options. Both procedures target hair follicles under the surface of your skin. While they work differently, both can deliver soft, smooth skin that frees you from the ongoing hassles of shaving and waxing.

You’ll get the best results from your hair-removal treatment when you consult experienced professionals. Dr. Robert Mirabile and Dr. Vivian Hsu of Best Impression Med Spa in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, offer both electrolysis and laser hair removal for patients seeking solutions to unwanted hair. 

The team at Best Impression Med Spa provides expert professional services in both techniques for results that deliver the appearance and convenience you desire from long-term hair removal.

Find out more about electrolysis and laser hair removal so you can consider which one may be right for your needs.

How electrolysis works

Electrolysis is an FDA-approved hair-removal technique that involves inserting a probe into individual hair follicles within the skin. The treatment uses an electrical or chemical source to cut off the blood supply to the follicle and destroy it. During the process, the existing hair falls out and regrowth is prevented.

The staff at Best Impression Med Spa uses the blend method for electrolysis, a treatment approach that combines galvanic electrolysis and thermolysis methods together. The process combines a heat and chemical reaction to destroy the follicle’s capacity to grow hair. The heat intensifies the strength of the chemical so it reaches every area of the hair follicle for a more complete result.

How laser hair removal works 

Laser hair removal delivers concentrated beams of light, which target and heat melanin in hair follicles. As the light energy is converted to heat, it weakens and damages the follicle to slow the process of hair growth.

While laser hair removal doesn’t promise to permanently destroy hair regrowth, it does drastically reduce it and can be effective to the point that you may be able to stop shaving the treated areas in the future. 

What are the differences?

Here’s a comparison of electrolysis and laser hair removal.

Comfort during treatment

Both electrolysis and laser hair removal involve some degree of discomfort, which may vary depending on the area being treated and your pain tolerance. Electrolysis is generally considered more painful, though many patients find the reward of permanent hair removal worth it. 

Patients who have laser hair removal often compare the sensation to the feeling of a rubber band snapping. The technique used at Best Impression Med Spa uses patented cooling technology to maintain your skin at a comfortable temperature level during the process. 

A numbing cream can be used to offset your discomfort during either procedure.

Treatment times

Electrolysis treats one follicle at a time. Laser hair removal delivers a series of rapid pulses that can attack multiple hair follicles simultaneously so it covers larger and denser treatment areas more efficiently.

For laser hair removal, you’ll need about 6-8 treatments, with six weeks between each session. However, you should be prepared to undergo more treatments since it’s not possible to determine how many treatments will be required or how long the effects will last, advises the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery.

Electrolysis typically requires more treatment sessions, usually administered every week or biweekly, because the procedure treats individual follicles.

Types of hair treated

The blended method of electrolysis used at Best Impression Medical Spa can be used for white, red, or dark hair. It is the only permanent option if you have either white or red hair.

Laser hair removal provides the best results if you have a contrast of fair skin and dark hair. However, it can be used on all skin tones as long as you have a contrast between your skin and hair color. It works best on dark brown or black hair. 

Results of treatment

Both techniques require little to no recovery time. You can resume your normal activities after each session, but you should avoid direct exposure to the sun immediately after treatment. 

Your skin may be red or sensitive for a few hours after either treatment, similar to the sensation of having a sunburn. You should avoid hot baths, lotions, or creams to give your skin time to return to normal. 

You shouldn’t have hair regrowth with electrolysis since the hair removal is permanent. While new hairs may grow after laser hair removal, the new hairs will be finer and lighter in color than before treatment.

Find out more about the ways electrolysis and laser hair removal differ and which treatment is right for you. Schedule an appointment online or call our office for a consultation today.

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