Cosmetic Surgery Tips

Is electrolysis the same as laser hair removal

If you’re considering electrolysis for hair removal, you may be wondering how it compares to laser hair removal. Both are considered permanent and effective methods of removing unwanted hair. However, electrolysis is different from laser hair removal in a number of ways: Laser hair removal uses heat to damage the follicle at its root, which causes the hair to fall out during the next period of growth. It works best on light-colored hairs and requires multiple treatments over time. Electrolysis involves inserting a fine needle into each hair follicle and applying an electric current that destroys it. This method can be used on all skin types, but is most effective on darker hairs.

While laser hair removal is faster than electrolysis, the length of time required for treatment varies depending on the area being treated and can range from a few seconds to several minutes per hair follicle. Electrolysis is slower but more permanent—after all, once you destroy one follicle with electrolysis, that follicle will never grow back!

You may find it hard to access the right information on the internet, so we are here to help you in the following article, providing the best and updated information on Is electrolysis the same as laser hair removal , electrolysis vs laser hair removal pcos. Read on to learn more. We at cosmeticsurgerytips have all the information that you need about electrolysis hair removal. Read on to learn more.

Is electrolysis the same as laser hair removal

Laser hair removal
Laser hair removal does not eliminate unwanted hair forever.

Laser hair removal uses a laser to damage hair follicles sufficiently to reduce hair growth.

It will permanently diminish hair growth, but does not eliminate unwanted hair forever — eventually, the hair will grow back.

What does the procedure involve?

Before the procedure, the technician performing the laser surgery will trim the hair that is being treated close to the skin.

The technician will then adjust the laser’s settings based on the color and thickness of the hair being removed, as well as the area being treated. Preparations will likely also take into account the color of the person’s skin.

The technician will then apply a cold gel to the skin to protect it. Some people may be given a topical anesthetic to minimize discomfort. Anyone having their hair removed with a laser will need to wear eye protection during the treatment.

Aftercare

After the procedure, it may be necessary to apply ice packs to alleviate discomfort. For severe pain, a doctor may recommend over-the-counter pain relievers or a steroid cream.

Most people will require up to 8 follow-up treatments to get the best results, which can be scheduled 4 to 6 weeks apart. Once hair growth has been sufficiently restrained, a person may require a once-or twice-yearly maintenance session.

Advantages of laser hair removal

Some of the benefits of laser hair removal include:

  • Precision: The lasers quickly target coarse, dark hairs.
  • Speed: Laser pulses take just milliseconds, and can treat several hairs at once, which means that small areas can be treated in just minutes.
  • Lighter growth and color: New hair growth tends to be less dense than before, and the new hair is often a few shades lighter than the original hair.
  • Efficacy: Many people see long-term results after 3 to 8 sessions.

Disadvantages of laser hair removal

Laser hair removal is not suitable for everyone, and there are some risks involved. Its main disadvantages include:

  • Not suitable for all coloring: The laser works best on people with light skin and dark hair because the laser targets dark colors.
  • Risk of adverse reactions: Some of the more undesirable side effects of laser hair removal can include discolored skin, swelling, skin redness, blisters, and scarring. However, some of these resolve within hours of the treatment.
  • Photosensitivity: Lasers can increase the skin’s sensitivity to sunlight (photosensitivity); so direct exposure to the sun must be avoided immediately after the procedure. People having laser treatment should avoid sunlight for 6 weeks before treatment to prevent discoloration of the tanned skin.
  • Dangers of numbing products: According to the FDATrusted Source, the use of skin-numbing products in laser hair removal has led to reports of serious and life-threatening side effects that occurred after individuals applied a numbing agent to large areas of the body.

People should use a fully trained, certified laser technician working under the direction of a board-certified healthcare provider to reduce the risk of severe and long-lasting side effects following laser hair removal.

Costs

Insurance companies consider laser hair removal to be a cosmetic procedure, and so they do not cover it.

Costs vary according to the area of the body being treated and the number of sessions required but can cost $200 to $400 per visit. Prices also vary depending on the geographic location of the laser treatment center.

It is also necessary to factor in the price of the yearly maintenance procedures when calculating the total cost of this treatment.

At-home therapies or salon treatments, although significantly cheaper, carry more significant risks.

What is electrolysis?

electrolysis
Electrolysis can permanently remove hair follicles.

Electrolysis involves passing an electrical current through a hair follicle, which damages the follicle and prevents new hair growth.

Electrolysis is the only method of permanent hair removal available. To ensure efficacy and safety, a licensed, board-certified dermatologist or electrologist should carry out the procedure.

What does the procedure involve?

Before the procedure, a person will typically have a consultation with an electrologist to discuss their health and medical history.

The procedure itself involves the technician placing an ultra-thin needle into the targeted hair follicle. An electric current passes through the probe, killing the hair root.

Aftercare

Very little aftercare is necessary. Although the skin may feel irritated and appear slightly red, these symptoms tend to resolve within a few hours.

For permanent hair removal, a person will need several treatments. This is because the skin has multiple follicles for each hair, so dormant follicles may begin to grow hair between sessions. Follow-up sessions treat these newly active follicles.

The majority of people will require follow-up sessions every week or every other week for several weeks to eliminate hair on the target area.

Advantages of electrolysis

Electrolysis has the following advantages:

  • Permanent: Electrolysis is the only FDA-approved method of permanent hair removal.
  • Versatility: According to the American Electrology Association, electrolysis is effective for people with any skin type, skin color, hair type, and hair color. Electrolysis is suitable for any area of the body — including the eyebrows.
  • No recovery time: People can resume their daily activities immediately after the procedure.
  • Maintenance-free: There is no need to schedule an annual electrolysis session — once the hair has been removed no more treatments are necessary.
  • No harsh chemicals: Unlike with laser hair removal or hair bleaching, electrolysis does not require the use of chemicals on the skin.

Disadvantages of electrolysis

Although there are many benefits to electrolysis, there are some risks and drawbacks to consider:

  • Several sessions: If larger areas are being treated with electrolysis, such as the legs or back, it can take several long sessions to achieve permanent results. Also, removing coarse hair, such as from around the bikini line, requires more sessions. Some people may require up to 30 treatments.
  • Discomfort: People undergoing electrolysis hair removal may experience some pain and discomfort. It may help to take a pain reliever before treatment and to apply ice following the session.
  • Potential for adverse effects: These include scarring in rare cases or infection from unsterilized needles. These risks highlight the importance of only using a board-certified dermatologist.

Costs

Most insurance will not cover electrolysis hair removal. However, depending on the area and the type of hair being treated, it can work out less expensive than laser hair removal.

For example, a 30-minute session targeting a small area can cost as little as $45.

People should keep in mind that they might require more sessions than they would with laser treatment.

What hair removal treatment is best?

Both laser hair removal and electrolysis treatments provide a long-term solution to unwanted hair growth.

All things considered, despite being a slower method of hair removal, electrolysis is more versatile, and permanently removes hair. It also typically causes fewer adverse reactions.

Those considering long-term hair removal treatments should speak with a skincare specialist about the best options for their needs.

Electrolysis vs laser hair removal pcos

Women with PCOS have to deal with a range of distressing symptoms including excessive facial and body hair (hirsutism) throughout their lives. Hirsutism is usually treated with anti-androgen medications and oral contraceptives. Long-lasting hair removal methods, such as electrolysis and laser therapy, have shown promising results when combined with hormonal treatments. But, do they work for everyone?

Permanent Hair Removal for Hirsutism 

Hirsutism is a common clinical condition affecting women of all ages.1 It is characterized by excessive hair growth appearing in a male-type pattern.2 Affected women, especially young women, may experience a large psychological burden and an impact on their social life.3 Most women seek treatment mainly for cosmetic reasons, because excess facial hair outside of cultural norms can be very embarrassing.

Why does PCOS cause Hirsutism?

Hirsutism is not a disorder, but a symptom of an underlying medical condition. The majority of women with hirsutism may have PCOS.4 If you have been diagnosed with PCOS, your ovaries are producing excessive amounts of androgens, such as testosterone (which is also called hyperandrogenism). However, testosterone per se is not directly responsible for the formation of unwanted hair growth but rather its more powerful byproduct called dihydrotestosterone (DHT).5

Can Hirsutism Be Cured Permanently?

Hirsutism can be treated by addressing the root cause of the condition. However, not all causes of hirsutism are reversible. Some women with unwanted facial or body hair have no identifiable cause (idiopathic): their androgen levels are normal; their menstrual cycles are normal; their ovaries appear normal on ultrasound.Fortunately, most women with unexplained hirsutism have mild symptoms, which can be treated with a variety of hair removal techniques. 

With regards to PCOS, one type of treatment may not be enough. Medications, on their own, may not make the hair go away completely, but will stop it from getting worse. Mechanical hair removal methods like waxing, laser epilation, and electrolysis will further enhance the effects of hormone therapy. 

How does Electrolysis work?

Electrolysis is a common hair removal technique that uses electrical pulses to target the root of the hair in order to permanently destroy each hair follicle and prevent regrowth. This method works best when treating small areas, although larger areas such as the legs or back may be treated with multiple sessions over time.7

There are two types of electrolysis based on the electrical current used: high-frequency (thermolysis), direct (galvanic), or a combination of the two (blend). Galvanic is the oldest and most widely used method of the two because of its high success rate and safety profile.

Effectiveness 

Electrolysis is the only permanent hair removal method approved by the FDA8, but its success depends on the skill of the operator. Regulation of the process varies from state to state.9 In contrast with laser techniques, electrolysis is expensive and more time consuming because it treats each individual hair. 

Electrolysis can be performed in all types of hair, but studies show that it is most effective on hair in the active or growing phase (anagen)10,11, as this stage is where the newly formed hair starts to grow. Hairs treated in the resting phase (telogen) tend to regrow. You may be advised to shave 1-3 days prior to treatment.

Side Effects

Post-treatment side effects, which include redness around the treated area, pain, and swelling, are generally temporary. Scarring, depigmentation of skin, burns, and keloid formation in susceptible patients are possible. Make sure to check in with a healthcare professional about side effects you’re concerned about.

How Does Laser Hair Removal Work?

Laser-assisted hair removal is a generally safe and effective technique for women who desire a long-term reduction of hair growth. It works by focusing a beam of light to induce selective damage to hair follicles. This technique produces a gradual but permanent reduction of hair regrowth and can be used in larger areas of the body. 

It works best on light skin and black coarse hair.12 This is because light hair with very little to no dark pigments do not absorb sufficient light photons emitted by the laser, so it’s impossible to completely destroy them.  

Effectiveness

While electrolysis has been approved as a “permanent hair removal” method, laser epilation is classified as a “permanent hair reduction” technique. Providers should inform their patients that it will require 8-12 sessions plus maintenance treatment every 6-12 months to provide satisfactory hair removal. 

With laser treatment, finer and lighter hair often remain after treatment. In many patients, the treatment may be ongoing. Still, laser treatment has surpassed electrolysis because it’s effective, fast, and relatively less painful. 

Side Effects

The most common side effects of laser epilation are swelling and redness, which typically resolve within 24 hours. The procedure itself can be slightly painful but an anesthetic cream can be applied in advance. Hypopigmentation and hyperpigmentation may also occur depending on your skin color. If you’re concerned about any side effects of the laser treatment, make sure to check in with a healthcare professional.

Conclusion

Specialized hair removal techniques have high success rates but they must be combined with treatment of excess androgens. Both electrolysis and laser hair removal work for women with PCOS, but it’s important to manage your expectations. While some patients reported a growth delay of 2-6 months after just one treatment, most will need multiple sessions to achieve permanent hair reduction.

Note that hair can still grow even when many old hair follicles have been destroyed. Because hair grows in three different stages and your hair is not all in the same stage at the same time, destroying all follicles in a few sessions is unlikely. But when used in combination with other treatment options and tailored to the person, many will achieve satisfactory results.

Electrolysis hair removal

Photo of electrolysis used for hair removal

Electrolysis is a method of removing individual hairs from the face or body. Today’s medical electrolysis devices destroy the growth center of the hair with chemical or heat energy. After a very fine probe is inserted into the hair follicle, the hair is removed with tweezers.

Most areas of the body can be treated with electrolysis, including the eyebrows, face, abdomen, thighs, breasts, and legs. There are generally no permanent side effects, but sometimes a temporary, slight reddening of the skin may occur.

What Causes Unwanted Hair Growth?

Hair growth is the result of heredity and hormone levels. Also, some drugs, temporary methods of hair removal, and illnesses can stimulate hair growth. Electrolysis may be an option when hair growth is in an area of the body where it may not be desired such as on a woman’s upper lip, chin, or bikini line.

How Many Electrolysis Treatments Will I Need?

Many factors influence hair growth, so you will need to return for several electrolysis visits. The total number of sessions needed to remove hair permanently from a particular area will vary from person to person. Most clients return once a week or every other week as needed. But the unwanted hair will be gone forever once the series of treatments is complete. Each treatment lasts between 15 minutes and one hour.

Myths About Electrolysis

Myth: Electrolysis is very painful. For most people, today’s methods don’t cause a lot of pain, but it can hurt. If you find it too uncomfortable, your doctor may be able to give you an anesthetic cream.

Myth: The electric tweezer method is permanent. The FDA and the American Medical Association recognize only electrolysis as a permanent method of removing hair. Some states prohibit those using or selling the electric tweezer from claiming it provides permanent hair removal.

Myth: Temporary methods of hair removal can be better. Chemical depilatories (liquids or creams) are often used to remove body hair. These products contain irritating chemicals and can be time-consuming and messy. Likewise, bleaches contain harsh chemicals and do little to disguise dark hair. They may also discolor skin. Waxing is another temporary method of hair removal and is usually done in salons. A hot wax is applied to the skin and removed once it has dried over the hair. The hair is stripped off when the wax is removed. Waxing can be painful and costly. Home waxing kits are available, but they can be messy and difficult to use. There are electrolysis devices available for home use, but they are often unsafe for use by anyone who is not trained in electrolysis.

How Do I Choose an Electrologist?

Electrologists are people who have special training to perform electrolysis. If you are considering electrolysis, it is important that you do your research before committing to sessions. The wrong decision can mean extra sessions and cost along with unnecessary discomfort and scarring.

  • Know the professional’s qualifications. Many states require electrologists to be licensed or certified within the state to practice. If you live in one of those states, be sure the practitioner’s certificate is current and on display. For states that do not regulate electrolysis, look for electrologists who have certification from an accredited electrology school.
  • Ask around. One of the best ways to find good services is to ask friends and family as well as your doctor for recommendations. If you know anybody who has undergone electrolysis, ask for their input.
  • Get a consultation. Many places will give you a free consultation. During the consultation, be sure all of your questions are answered. Some things you may want to ask about include: how the procedure will feel; how many visits you will likely need; how much each visit costs; how long each session lasts; how long the practitioner has been in business; and the number of clients they have treated.
  • Make sure the electrologist uses the right technique. The practitioner should use needle electrolysis, which is the only permanent form of hair removal. Some places may advertise electrolysis but use electronic tweezers or photoepilators instead. These are not permanent hair removal procedures.
  • Use common sense. When you go to your consultation, look around. Does the place look clean? Do the workers look clean? Do they use disposable gloves or needles? Ask to meet the person who will be performing the electrolysis. Do they strike you as professional? If you are not comfortable with somebody, look for someone else to do the procedure. Personal comfort is essential to knowing you have made the right choice.

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