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  • Laser Hair Removal vs. Electrolysis … The Winner Is?

    Would you prefer needles to permanently remove unwanted hair orsmall gentle pulses of light?Would you rather remove one hair at a time or whole patches of hair? These are two of the major differentiating factors between electrolysis or laser hair removal. Hmm … which one to choose?

    The clear winner for most clients? Medical laser hair removal treatments.

    Why? Let’s first look at the primary difference in these treatments, both which can be very effective to get rid of unsightly hair forever.

    Electrolysis Versus Laser Hair Removal Technology

    Laser Hair Removal

    Although the technologies are similar, the approaches are very different.

    According to the American Electrolysis Association, electrolysis works by inserting a tiny needle into the hair follicle alongside the hair shaft. Then a very small amount of a current is used to destroy the hair growth cells. The existing hair falls out, and the process is repeated hair by hair. You generally have to return for 10 – 25visits to see permanent results.

    Electrolysis works on electrical or chemical energy whereas laser hair removal works on heat and light – tiny pulses of light that destroy the hair follicle. According to The American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, a minute light beam courses through the patient’s skin and is absorbed by hair follicles that are growing, and then destroys them.  To prevent future growth, the hair bulb is essentially damaged. You generally need 6 – 8 treatments to see permanent results.

    Both methods for hair removal are noninvasive, permanent and are used effectively for both men and women. Because both procedures are medical, they should be performed with a certified esthetician or licensed electrologist to ensure the machines being used are at the proper settings.

    The Advantages Versus Disadvantages of Each Treatment

    Electrolysis has been in existence longer than laser (135 years versus 20 years) and used to be the only permanent hair removal process. However, it almost seems like a passé technology as laser hair removal is both newer and more advanced:

    Laser Hair Removal

    The advantages of laser technology are:

    •Our clients report that laser is less painful. The pulses of light last only for a millisecond and feel like a simple poke with a pencil. The needles used in electrolysis can really pinch and hurt.

    •Laser hair removal is quicker. Because an electrolysis treatment works on one hair at a time, even a small area can take quite awhile to treat. Depending on the size of the area (a chin versus a chest) being treated, a laser treatment only takes between 10 minutes to one hour.

    •Laser takes less treatments. With electrolysis, you can plan on 10 – 25 visits. Roughly 1-3 weeks after each laser treatment, clients typically notice 10-20% less hair regrowth. After approximately 6 – 8 hair removal treatments, you’ll only have to come in for touchups.

    •Laser is more effective. According to a recent survey conducted by Celibre Medical Corporation, 97% of women who removed unwanted hair using lasers say they are satisfied with the outcome, whereas only 70% using electrolysis were pleased.

    The one advantage of electrolysis is it can be used for any color of hair – even white, gray and blonde – where laser has proven to be less effective.

    For a further explanation of electrolysis versus laser hair removal, visit Dr. Neal Schultz on You Tube.

    What Are The Risks?

    Both treatments have similar risks. With laser hair removal, they are somewhat minimal – redness, soreness , swelling and scarring. With electrolysis, some of the side effects may include swelling, inflammation, pain, edema or scarring.

    Why Laser Hair Removal?

    According to the Laser Hair Journal, laser hair removal is big business — a $244M industry. Why? Because it’s safe, it’s affordable and there’s no down time. You can have a treatment over your lunch hour! And it’s far less painful and more effective than any other option – from electrolysis to any of the portable at home lasers you see on the TV today.

    In today’s busy workplace, who has time to take weeks off to recover from a cosmetic procedures? No one!  You can look forward to the removal of unsightly hair and feel a real boost to your self-confidence by opting for laser hair removal! Check out our picture gallery to see how YOU can look before and after!

    About the Author

    Mia Liefso is a professional medical skin therapist and the owner of Bradford Skin Clinic & Med Spa in Bradford, Ontario.  She has certifications in IPL, laser and ultrasound technologies, as well as body contouring and medical facial peels. Her professional interests include difficult skin conditions—premature aging, skin care for the elderly, endocrinology, and helping people love the skin they’re in. Her diverse personal interests include history, animals, roller derby, fast cars and gourmet cooking.

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