More and more people are opting for hair removal and turning to laser hair removal and electrolysis. But, what are the differences between these popular methods and which is the best option for you? Dermatology Associates of Atlanta gives a rundown of the pros and cons of each:
Laser hair removal involves the use of a hand-held laser device that emits light energy beams onto the treated area. The light beam targets dark coloring (of the hair) and works to impair the hair follicle, destroying growth, and causing the hair strands to fall out within the following two weeks. Because laser hair removal targets dark pigment, this method works best on people with light skin and dark hair. Hair that is too light may not be picked up on; and skin that is too dark may be negatively affected by the laser, and in some cases, result in scarring.
Laser hair removal treatments are relatively fast (about 20-30 minutes to treat the underarms). Because hair grows in three different cycles, 4 to 5 sessions will be needed to achieve optimal results. Patients will experience some mild pain during treatment – feeling like the snapping of a rubber band on the skin. However local anesthesia may be requested and the pain does not last longer after the procedure.
While laser hair removal is FDA approved for hair reduction, it is not approved for permanent removal. While most patients are very happy with their results, the results are not always 100 percent, especially with light or fine hair.
Electrolysis, on the other hand, is a method of removal using a needle, which is inserted into the hair follicle and sends a current of electricity into each individual follicle to destroy its growth. While this sounds painful, it is usually described as a mild discomforting pricking sensation when performed by a skilled electrologist. Unlike laser hair removal, electrolysis can be used on any color hair or skin type, even blond and gray hair. Because each individual follicle is treated during a session, electrolysis takes longer that laser hair removal and requires more overall sessions (anywhere from 15 to 30) to achieve maximum results.
Electrolysis is also the only FDA approved treatment for long lasting hair removal and can even be 100 percent effective on the light and fine hair that a laser misses.
While both methods of hair removal have their pros and cons, it is best to talk with a certified electrologist to decided which method is the best option for you and your skin/hair type. Jan Buckley, Dermatology Associates of Atlanta’s in-house electrologist, is certified in clinical electrology and is a graduate of the International Center for the Study of Electrology. Visit our website for more information or to set up a consultation.