Electrolysis vs. Laser Hair Removal
“Laser hair removal” practitioners often compare their treatment to electrolysis. But the FDA no longer allows laser hair removal to advertise its services as permanent removal, only as permanent reduction. And laser hasn’t been evaluated for long-term safety. But don’t take our word for it.
The FDA website on laser facts is one place where you can start your research…
Why does electrolysis work better than laser?
Laser destroys hair follicles using heat, but the heat must reach the base of the hair follicle, which lies beneath the skin. Yet the heat produced by laser hits the whole surface of your skin (which is the reason you have increased chances of side effects such as burning). When the heat reaching the follicle is sufficient, it can delay the growth of or destroy the follicle. But not enough heat always reaches the follicle, which is why the F.D.A. only allows laser to market as hair reduction, not laser hair removal.
Dark Skin & Light Hair The lighter your hair color or the darker your skin color, the less effective laser becomes. Since the heat produced by laser travels better through the dark hair pigment rather than skin, the success of laser treatment depends on the amount of pigment in your hair compared to your skin. Therefore, people with light (blond, white, grey) or “peach fuzz” (vellus) hair or those with tan or dark skin are hard or impossible to treat with laser. Indeed, one of the dangers of laser occurs when technicians crank up the laser power to try to treat people with dark skin or light hair – that is when most laser burns occur.
Electrolysis is different. It brings the heat directly to the source and only destroys the cells that need to be eliminated, leaving the skin intact. And since it does not rely on the amount of pigment in the hair or skin, it can treat all hair and skin colors equally well.
Browse our FAQ questions to learn more.