Waxing, shaving, creams, sugaring, epilation — a walk down the hair removal aisle at your local drugstore can be pretty overwhelming. While there are plenty of at-home hair removal options you can try, they all have one thing in common: the hair will come back. To maintain smooth, hair-free skin, you’ll have to keep purchasing products and spending time applying them.
While most methods of hair removal are temporary, lasting just a week or two at best, there are a couple of options that can provide long-lasting or permanent hair removal: electrolysis and laser hair removal. Usually, you’ll need to see a medical provider for these effective treatments.
So what’s the story on these two permanent hair removal options, and is one more effective than the other?
Electrolysis is an older method of permanent hair removal. It was first performed over 100 years ago. As you might be able to guess from the name, electrolysis at one time involved using electricity to remove hair and damage the hair follicles, preventing future regrowth. Modern methods use radiofrequency energy.
During treatment, a tiny needle is placed in the hair follicle and a bolt of energy is sent into the follicle. The heat from the energy zaps the follicle and destroys it. The remaining strand of hair is removed with a pair of tweezers.
Once the follicle is destroyed during electrolysis, it’s gone for good and the hair typically won’t grow back. Since hair grows in different phases, not every follicle in a treatment area is likely to be active at the same time. For that reason, most people need to schedule multiple treatment sessions, spaced several weeks apart, to get as many follicles as possible during the active phase of growth.
What’s Laser Hair Removal?
Like electrolysis, laser hair removal also uses energy to destroy hair follicles and prevent future growth. A significant difference between the two is that laser hair removal uses lasers to damage the follicles instead of electricity. Since the hair is usually shaved before treatment, there’s no need to pluck the strands out one by one afterward.
During a laser treatment for hair removal, a handheld device is passed over the treatment area. Actively growing hair follicles absorb the energy, which is sufficient enough to cause damage and to disrupt growth.
Like electrolysis, multiple treatment sessions are typically needed for laser hair removal, to remove hairs at various phases in the growing cycle.
Is One Better Than the Other?
Although electrolysis has been around for longer, these days, you’re more likely to find people seeking out laser hair removal as a long-lasting or permanent solution to unwanted hair growth. Laser hair removal has several benefits over electrolysis.
For one thing, it’s typically a lot less painful. Although you might feel a bit of a snapping sensation as the laser passes over your skin, most people find that the discomfort is minimal during the treatment. Since electrolysis typically involves tweezing or plucking out the treated hairs, it can cause a considerable amount of discomfort. The electrical current or energy source used can also cause some discomfort during treatment.
Another advantage of laser hair removal over electrolysis is that you can have larger areas treated all at once. You’re likely to need more treatment sessions if you decide on electrolysis over lasers.
Both treatments can have side effects. One side effect of both electrolysis and laser hair removal is skin discoloration, particularly in people with darker complexions. However, the risk for pigmentation changes is rare and can be reduced by working with a board-certified medical provider.
Mirror Mirror Beauty Boutique in Houston, Texas offers laser hair removal using an advanced laser system. The laser can get rid of unwanted hair on the upper lip, chin, legs and other areas of the body. All laser treatments are performed under the supervision of Dr. Paul Vitenas, a board-certified plastic surgeon. To learn more about permanent hair removal, call 281-810-9083 to schedule a consultation at Mirror Mirror Beauty Boutique today.