According to the Simmons National Consumer Survey (NHCS), about 26.3 million (mostly) women and (some) men in the United States used bleaching, waxing, and depilatories to remove unwanted facial and body hair in 2022. These types of hair removal must be repeated often, can be painful, and expose your skin to unwanted and potentially harmful chemicals.
That’s just one reason why more and more women turn toward permanent and semi-permanent solutions for unwanted hair, such as electrolysis and laser hair removal. More than 750,000 laser hair removals were performed in the US in 2020, and 85% of those procedures were done on women.
If you’re looking for long-lasting to permanent hair removal on your face or body, you have two effective, safe, and satisfying options: You can choose electrolysis or laser hair removal. But what’s the difference between the two? How do you know which is the best method for your aesthetic goals?
At Best Impression Med Spa, our expert nurses and aestheticians help you choose from the abundance of options that can serve your aesthetic needs. At our offices in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, we offer both electrolysis and laser hair removal.
What are the primary differences between electrolysis and laser hair removal? How do you know which one is better for you or if you’d benefit from both types of treatments? Read on to find out.
How electrolysis and laser hair removal work
Both electrolysis and laser hair removal require a series of treatments before you achieve your aesthetic goals. Hairs grow in cycles, and you must attack them in the earliest stages to disrupt the follicle and evaporate the hair. Of course, your hairs are at different stages in their life cycle, so you can’t treat all the hairs at once. Both remove hairs from your:
- Upper lip
- Bikini area
Electrolysis removes hairs by destroying individual hair follicles. Your aesthetician inserts a very fine probe into each follicle, one at a time. The probe transmits heat into the follicle that destroys its structure, rendering it unable to grow or hold a hair. Once the follicle is destroyed, we then pluck out the hair with tweezers.
We use a combination of galvanic and thermolysis currents, in a “Blend Method” that creates both heat and chemical reactions to destroy a follicle’s capacity to produce hair. We also use a computer-controlled air pump to desensitize the skin with a stream of air.
You can book your series of treatments every week or two. Each session usually takes about 15 minutes, depending on how large the area is that we treat.
Laser hair removal
For laser hair removal, we don’t insert a probe into your follicles. Instead, the laser energy is calibrated to target the pigment in the root of your hairs. We treat larger areas of the time, using heat to disrupt the follicle so that it can’t function.
The hair is destroyed and vaporized by the laser energy. You may even smell burning hairs during your treatment. The hairs fall out on their own over the next couple of weeks.
With lasers, about 10-25% of unwanted hair is removed during each treatment.
You may need up to six treatments. You should leave at least a month between sessions to let your skin heal and to allow us evaluate your results.Once you’ve reached your goal, your silky, hair-free skin lasts for months to years before you need a touch-up.
Laser hair removal works best on dark hairs
Because laser hair removal targets hair pigment, it works best on brown and black hairs. In addition, there should be at least a slight contrast between your skin color and your hair color.
When your skin and hairs are a similar shade, you must ensure that your aesthetician uses the highest quality and most cutting-edge lasers. These lasers are better able to make minute distinctions between skin and hair color.
Electrolysis can target red and light hairs, too
Electrolysis isn’t affected by either the pigment of skin or the pigment of the hair. It’s a purely mechanical procedure in which a probe transmits heat to your follicle. Therefore, it can target hairs that would be missed by lasers, such as:
- Blond hair
- White hair
- Gray hair
- Red hair
It doesn’t matter what skin shade you have, either. Electrolysis is the only option, in fact, if you have pale skin and red, white, or blond hair.
You may need a “blend” of the two
If you have a mixture of hair colors, you might benefit from a blending of both lasers and electrolysis. We might recommend using lasers on your dark hairs, then individually treating light hairs with electrolysis.
To find out whether electrolysis, laser hair removal, or both will help you rid yourself of unwanted hair once and for all, contact us by phone or via our online form today.