Hair removal forms a major part of every woman’s adult life. Even though painful, waxing and epilators provide an option that a lot of women choose over shaving and hair removal creams. This is mainly for longevity, but a lot of women consider waxing a lot safer for the skin, as compared to the other methods. But let’s be honest, going through the pain of waxing, just to get rid of excess body hair seems a bit too much. This is why, more and more women these days are opting for a more permanent solution to this problem in the form of either electrolysis or laser hair removal. Even though these terms sound scary, they are fairly permanent solutions to get rid of unwanted facial and body hair. And the best part? They’re both completely safe.
While we are sure you may have heard of these terms, it is important to find out in detail what they really mean, what the difference is between the two, and who should get which procedure done. These permanent hair removal methods are particularly helpful for those of you, who like us, are bored of keeping the monthly waxing appointment or just can’t deal with the hassle of shaving every week.
To help you make an informed decision and clear as many doubts as possible, we spoke to Dr. Niketa Sonavane from Ambrosia Aesthetics to tell you the exact difference between electrolysis and laser hair removal techniques. Keep scrolling…
- What is electrolysis?
- How long does the process last?
- What's aftercare like with electrolysis?
- What is laser hair removal?
- How long does the procedure last?
- What are the side effects?
- Which one is better?
What is electrolysis?
Electrolysis is a type of permanent hair removal solution that is done by a certified dermatologist. This hair removal method involves the use of a probe into each hair follicle, in order to send an electric shock through it. This electric shock permanently damages the follicle to prevent any further growth from it. Basically, the idea behind it is like an epilator, but just more permanent. The procedure does not involve the use of any numbing cream or other toxic chemicals, it is considered to be a clean process, meaning that it usually doesn’t cause any sort of permanent health damage.
Who is it more suitable for?
According to research, electrolysis is a great permanent hair removal method for almost anyone. Irrespective of whether you have fair skin or dark, have got thick hair or thin, or the colour of your hair, this method would work just great for you. Not only this, but electrolysis also works really well on any area of your body, including your face and private areas too.
How long does the process last?
Electrolysis requires multiple sessions to permanently get rid of unwanted hair, and this is why it could require multiple sessions. Our skin has several follicles for each hair, and sometimes these sessions activate dormant hair follicles in between sessions, thereby requiring multiple sessions for each area. In order to get rid of hair completely, you’d need an appointment every week or so, for several weeks until it’s fully done. Even though you require more sessions, the best part about electrolysis is that once you’re done with an area, it’s final and you’d never again require any maintenance.
How painful is it?
No permanent hair removal solution is really painless, but most people can easily bear it. Most patients only experience a bit of discomfort or stinging sensation and nothing more. But this can easily be controlled by popping an over-the-counter painkiller.
What's aftercare like with electrolysis?
Electrolysis, in most cases, requires very little aftercare. There is a likelihood that you will notice slight inflammation, but this is nothing to worry, as this is temporary and should disappear within a few hours. You can always soothe the inflammation by applying a calming oil or moisturiser.
Is there any down time?
Another great thing about electrolysis is that it requires very little to no healing time. There’s a chance that your skin may temporarily look a bit red and inflamed, but that always goes away in a few hours.
What is laser hair removal?
This is probably one of the most popular methods of permanent hair removal out there. This process aims to damage the hair follicle with the help of energy radiated by high heat lasers that send mild radiations to damage the hair follicle and slow down hair growth. Unlike electrolysis, laser hair removal merely reduces hair growth and doesn’t remove it completely. Depending on your hair growth cycle and hair type, you will still need maintenance sessions once or twice a year.
Who is it suitable for?
Even though laser hair removal is suitable for all skin and hair types, it works the best on people with fair skin and dark hair. You will notice a reduction in the thickness and density of your hair, but lasers may not deliver a 100% elimination of hair growth.
How long does the procedure last?
In most cases, laser hair removal takes about six to eight sessions for the entire body. But this also depends on your hair growth. if you have thinner, lighter hair, you will require more sessions to completely slow down the hair growth and reduce the thickness.
Is it painful?
Even though laser hair removal procedures are painful and cause some discomfort, it largely depends on the area where you’re undergoing treatment, as well as your hair type. Thicker, coarser hair follicles absorb a lot of laser energy, therefore it can be more painful. But the dermatologist is likely to apply some numbing cream to the area to help you with pain.
What are the side effects?
When it comes to laser hair removal, side effects like inflammation, blisters, swelling, skin irritation and redness are pretty common. In some rare cases, patients also complain about pigmentation and scarring. But most of these side effects are temporary and go away within a couple of hours.
Which one is better?
Now that we know the main difference between electrolysis and laser hair removal, it is time to find out which treatment is actually better. Here’s what you should keep in mind:
- Electrolysis is a more permanent hair removal solution and you will never again need any follow ups, while laser hair removal, on the other hand, reduces your hair growth and you will still need to go in once or twice a year for maintenance.
- Electrolysis works on all skin types and colours, while laser hair removal shows better results on people with lighter skin and darker hair.
- In terms of pain, electrolysis causes a lot more pain, since it damages each follicle. It also requires more sessions as compared to laser hair removal.
Simply put, these are both great treatment options to prevent regular shaving and waxing, but electrolysis is considered to be a better and more long-term solution. The problem with electrolysis is that it is a slow method and can take several sessions to complete, especially if you want to treat larger areas. Which option to choose depends on your budget, the area you want to treat and obviously your individual skin type and concerns. Therefore, it is always better to consult your dermatologist for the best hair removal method for you.