- Is laser hair removal the same as electrolysis?
- What is the biggest difference between electrolysis and laser hair removal?
- Our Recommendation For The Best Electrolysis Machine At Home
- Our Recommendation For The Best Laser Hair Removal Machine
Let me take a wild guess: You have some unwanted hair that you want to go away now and forever, but you can’t decide whether you should opt for electrolysis vs laser hair removal.
I know you don’t have all day to figure out the difference between laser hair removal vs electrolysis, so I promise you, by the end of this short article you WILL understand the difference between Laser hair removal vs electrolysis and know which method is ideal for you!
Is laser hair removal the same as electrolysis?
What exactly is Electrolysis?
For electrolysis hair removal, a very fine needle or stylet is inserted into your hair follicle. Don’t worry, the needle does not pierce the skin, it is about the width of a hair shaft.
A small electric current runs through the needle to the root, killing the hair at the root. Once it is done, the hair still needs to be plucked out. For permanent hair removal, you will need anywhere from 6 to 10 sessions because not all the hair dies the first, second third etc. time around.
Your hair grows in stages:
2) Catagen Telogen.
(Photo source: Wikipedia)
Anagen is the growth phase, and in this phase, the hair is connected to the root. This is the only phase where hair can get longer, and it is also the longest phase.
Anagen is further divided into early anagen and late anagen stages.
Why is the Early Anagen Phase so important for electrolysis?
In early anagen, the hair has just sprouted and may be beneath the skin surface, but at this stage, it is easier to kill the hair follicle, because the hair is weaker.
In early anagen, the hair is connected to the dermal papilla or in other words the blood supply of the hair. In this phase, the hair follicle has an abundance of salt and water, two things necessary to conduct electricity and electrocute the follicle.
What is so different about the late anagen phase?
In late anagen, the hair is at its strongest, making it hard to kill. The hair at this point is usually visible and coarse, making it easy to see, but challenging to exterminate. Still, the entire anagen phase is the ideal time to electrocute the hair follicle.
Catagen is a short phase of a week or two, where the hair begins to detach from the blood supply, the dermal papilla. This is not a good time to kill the hair since the hair does not have a good connection to the dermal papilla and the salt and water that was in the follicle begin to dry up.
Telogen is the resting phase. The hair may be sitting in the follicle, but the follicle is simply a coffin for your now dead hair. The hair is not attached to a blood supply, and since the hair is not connected to the follicle, electricity would not pass to the follicle.
But there is more:
Since the follicle is all dried up the electricity from the electrolysis machine cannot be conducted to the hair follicle as well.
The follicle in telogen phase may not even have hair left in it, but don’t worry, it will begin the cycle all over and begin growing new hair again soon enough.
For successful electrolysis, the hair needs to be in the anagen phase, connected to the blood supply, surrounded with ample salt and water to pass the electrical current to the follicle and electrocute it!
And that’s not all!
It is important to understand that on the day of your appointment or in-home session, only about 20% of your hair is in the correct phase for proper electrolysis.
That is why so many sessions are necessary.
- If the follicle is successfully electrocuted, electrolysis is permanent
- Can remove ANY color hair
- Very time consuming, the electrolysis probe must be inserted into each individual hair follicle
- Can be painful, local anesthetic available
Ok, let’s continue this electrolysis vs laser hair removal standoff, now from the laser hair removal point of view…
What exactly is Laser hair removal?
The laser uses infrared radiation that produces pulses or strobes of IR light, searing the hair and ensuring its demise.
You may have heard that you need dark hair and a light shade of skin for a laser to work. The reason this is true has to do with melanin.
Melanin is the dark pigment that gives hair and skin color. The laser used for hair removal targets melanin; therefore, it targets dark colored hair best. Light colored hair does not have enough melanin to attract the laser to destroy the hair.
The reason laser hair removal is NOT recommended for folks with a medium to dark shade of skin is that instead of zapping the melanin in hair, it can zap melanin in the skin, burning the skin. Ouch!
The goal with laser hair removal is to damage the root at the dermal papilla to the extent that it will never grow back. This does not always happen for the same reason electrolysis does not kill every hair follicle in one session.
Not all hair is in the proper phase, and connected to the dermal papilla, making multiple session’s necessary.
The reason the laser uses pulses is to ensure only the hair and the cells right next to the hair are burnt. If the laser were left on for longer than a few Nano-seconds, the heat would spread and the skin would burn.
- Laser Hair removal is much faster because many hairs are treated at once
- Good for large areas of hair
- Does not work on blonde, white or gray hair
- Is not permanent, reduces hair re-growth, but eventually, most hair grows back.
- Both laser hair removal and Electrolysis involve some degree of pain, but a topical anesthetic can help
- Both laser hair removal and electrolysis require several sessions before hair stops growing (But with laser hair removal it will eventually grow back, given enough time)
Who is Laser hair removal ideal for?
In a word:
Those looking for convenience and speed (and who have dark hair and a light shade of skin).
Who is Electrolysis Ideal for?
Anyone looking for Permanent hair removal who is also willing to put in the hours and sessions needed.
What is the biggest difference between electrolysis and laser hair removal?
Laser uses an infrared laser and only works on dark hair. A laser is faster but not as permanent as electrolysis.
Electrolysis uses electricity, is the only truly permanent solution, can be used on ANY hair and skin type and takes longer to perform than laser hair removal.
Which is better, laser hair removal or electrolysis?
Electrolysis is better if you are concerned with the results being permanent.
Laser hair removal is better if you have dark hair, light skin, and you want results fast.
Our Recommendation For The Best Electrolysis Machine At Home
Our Recommendation For The Best Laser Hair Removal Machine
To Sum it all up
- Electrolysis if you have time and patience and want to guarantee permanent results.
- Laser hair removal if you have dark hair, light shade of skin, and want a fast yet semi-permanent mode of hair removal.
Now that you understand the benefits of electrolysis vs laser hair removal we are confident you will make the best choice. 🙂