Laser vs Electrolysis: Is One Superior for Permanent Hair Removal?

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Do you find yourself waging weekly battles with unwanted hair?


Both men and women have concerns about unwanted hair that they struggle with, although their concerns will differ. Women generally dislike all body hair, but men vary in their needs – some are primarily concerned with ingrown hair, or ear and nose hair, others are conscious of excessive hair growth on back and/or chest, or beard removal. Bodybuilders need to have smooth, hair-free skin to show the contours of their muscles.

Unwanted hair can be caused by many factors: heredity; hormonal or glandular imbalance; reaction to certain medications; pregnancy; stress or adrenal stimulation; and it's also a natural consequence of aging. Stress can also be a contributing factor to hair growth; any situation that stimulates the adrenal glands can trigger hormonal reaction that causes fine, soft body hair to grow in as coarse and noticeable dark hairs. This is unfortunately a permanent consequence and will not be reversed when the stress disappears.

Tweezing, shaving, waxing...when you add up all the hours of your life that are spent on this, does it start to make you think it's time to consider alternatives? Why continue to repeat hair removal with non-permanent methods?

Permanent hair reduction is accomplished with either laser or electrolysis hair removal treatments, or in some cases a necessary combination of the two. Is one method superior to the other when it comes to hair removal? Not really – each have their place in the process and in the areas where they excel they do so better than the other. So at Champion Laser in many cases we do, in fact, use both systems for best results.

Lasers are used wherever possible because they allow removal of hair in the fastest, most efficient way. But I say 'most efficient' cautiously here, because what is most efficient is what is most effective, and for some issues it may be more effective to use electrolysis.

Lasers act on melanin pigment colour in hair, so if there is no discernable pigment then electrolysis is the ONLY option for hair removal. White hair can only be permanently removed with electrolysis, and very fine hairs also cannot be treated effectively with lasers. Women might, for example, want to deal with light-coloured hairs on their face, and in that case a laser may be used for most of the work, but there may be very fine hairs on the upper lip, cheeks, or elsewhere on the face,  that require precise attention applied directly to the root of the follicle to permanently kill growth. In effect, while fine hair is noticeable, laser is generally ineffective to treat these, so electrolysis hair removal is the best solution.

You should be aware that multiple treatments are necessary to permanently remove hair in any area because hair grows in continuous cycles; it goes through stages of growth that start at active, progress to a regressive stage of atrophy and then a stage where hair falls out. In order to achieve permanent reduction, the hair follicle should be treated by laser or electrolysis during the active stage of hair growth, when the target parameters necessary for permanent hair destruction are present. Since only about 15-25% of hairs are in this active growing stage at the same time, repeated sessions are necessary to synchronize with your active (anagen) growth cycle.

If you want a general guideline, 5-8 laser hair removal treatments are standard, but this varies with each person based on hair and skin types and individual characteristics. People with dark or black skin will generally require more laser treatments than people with fair skin because the wavelength of the laser has to be adjusted to keep the laser from acting on the pigment in the skin. 6-10 laser treatments might be a more realistic expectation for these people. Hair color is also a critical factor, darker hair, of course, being easiest to treat.

Guidelines are not as easy to come up with for electrolysis hair removal.  However, at least starting out, you can expect a treatment every 4 weeks for facial hair.

Champion Laser requires that each client meet with us for a laser hair removal consultation and test patch before beginning treatment. There is no charge for this consultation and no obligation.

20 Sep, 2011

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