Electrolysis vs. Laser Hair Removal
When deciding how to permanently remove unwanted hair, there are two main options to choose from: laser hair removal and electrolysis. The choice may be simple once you know all of the facts.
Laser hair removal treatment consists of directing concentrated laser light at a patch of hair to impair the follicles that produce it. The pigment in the hair, which gives it its color, attracts the laser first. The laser is absorbed by dark hair pigment, concentrating the heat energy to damage the follicle so hair can’t grow back, or grows back less thick than before. People with white, gray, or blonde hair aren’t good candidates for laser since light colored hair does not absorb this energy. Also, laser works most safely with light to medium skin tones. Hair passes through several growth phases in its follicle, and it is during only one of these phases that the follicle is sensitive to the laser heat. As an area of hair has follicles randomly distributed in all phases, some sensitive and some not, then a single laser treatment is effective only on a portion of these follicles. Hence, the recommendation is for several time-spaced treatments to block successfully the greatest percentage of follicles. A 99% reduction in hair regrowth is considered a successful laser outcome.
Like laser, electrolysis eliminates unwanted hair by destroying the follicle. Unlike laser, electrolysis kills hair one follicle at a time. A hand-held electric needle is inserted into each follicle which then zaps it with a mild electric current. The hair is then pulled out of the dead follicle with tweezers. Unlike laser, electrolysis can be done on any patient, no matter what color their hair or skin.
If you are a candidate for either one, then consider the size of the hair growth area you would like removed. Electrolysis is very slow and patients with heavy hair growth will spend a lot of time being treated, whereas you can treat a large area more quickly with laser. You might also want to consider your pain threshold as laser may feel like a rubber band snapping your skin and electrolysis more like getting a tattoo.