What’s the Difference Between Laser Hair Removal and Electrolysis?

As summer approaches and we all look forward to spending more time outdoors, we don’t look forward to spending more time shaving. That’s why long-term hair removal methods, specifically laser hair removal and electrolysis, are so popular for men and women alike. While most people have heard of both of these treatments, few people actually know the difference between the two and how to determine which one fits their needs. Fortunately, the experienced team at our specialized Hair Removal Center is here to break it down.

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How They Work

Both electrolysis and laser hair removal use high-powered energy to limit or stop each hair follicle from producing hair in the future. The difference is in how they deliver that energy to the follicle. During electrolysis, an experienced certified clinical electrologist places a tiny probe into each follicle, and the energy travels through the probe into the follicle. Laser hair removal, on the other hand, actually uses the hair itself instead of the probe. The light from the laser is attracted to the dark pigment in the hair, so the energy pulls into the hair and travels down it to reach the follicle.


One of the biggest factors in favor of electrolysis is that it’s more versatile. Laser hair removal is only effective on dark hairs. It’s also most effective on patients with light skin along with dark hair, although our team at Dermatology Associates of Atlanta’s Hair Removal Center has the expertise and the technology to treat patients with most skin types as we’ve been performing the treatment for over 25 years.


Both laser hair removal and electrolysis have been used for decades as highly effective ways to keep unwanted hair away for long periods of time. For thorough laser hair removal, most people complete a series of about three to eight treatments initially, then maintain their results with a fresh treatment once or twice per year. Electrolysis often takes more initial treatments to get thorough results, but the results typically last forever without the need for maintenance treatments.

Time Commitment

One of the most attractive aspects of long-term hair removal is that it reduces or eliminates the time you need to spend shaving, so it’s natural to be curious how long these long-term treatments take as well. Laser hair removal treatments are faster because the laser can treat about an area the size of a quarter with each pulse, and each pulse takes just fractions of a second. A small area like the underarms or the beard can be treated in just a few minutes. Electrolysis is more time-consuming because the placement of the probe needs to be precise and because each hair follicle is treated individually.


Before any medical procedure, most patients want to know if it will hurt. For both laser hair removal and electrolysis, the discomfort is typically minimal, although each patient’s body reacts differently and the sensation will vary from patient to patient.

There are a lot of factors to weigh when you’re deciding between laser hair removal and electrolysis. But it’s important to note that you should only accept either procedure from a qualified and experienced medical professional like a certified clinical electrologist or a board-certified dermatologist. If you’re ready to find out whether laser hair removal or electrolysis is the right fit for you, schedule a consultation appointment at Dermatology Associates of Atlanta. For more helpful information about hair removal and other skin care treatments, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.