When it comes to hair removal, there are two treatments that are often thrown together as if they are super similar: electrolysis and laser hair removal. But these treatments work differently, have different durations of treatment, and are better for different areas of the body. So here’s everything you need to know about electrolysis vs laser hair removal–plus our verdict for the best one overall.
What is electrolysis?
Electrolysis is the process of using targeted electrical pulses on each hair follicle. Over time, the electrical pulses permanently damage the hair follicle.
Pros of Electrolysis
Electrolysis is able to be very precise, so it’s optimal for removing hair on the face. Results are permanent and it works on all hair colors, including lighter blond or red hair.
Cons of Electrolysis
Electrolysis takes a lot of sessions–anywhere from 12 to 30, spaced out once a month! It’s a major time commitment, because individual sessions typically take longer than laser hair removal, too. It’s also more painful than laser hair removal. It takes a long time to achieve results, sometimes a year or more. All in all, the process is really tedious.
What is laser hair removal?
Laser hair removal uses specific light wavelengths to target the melanin (pigment) in hair follicles. The laser damages the hair follicle, and with repeated laser treatments, the hair follicle gets so damaged that it will stop producing hair.
Pros of laser hair removal
The treatment course of laser hair removal can also take several months, but you’ll need fewer sessions in total–typically six to eight sessions in all. You’ll also see results much sooner than with electrolysis. Many people notice a reduction in hair after just one or two sessions. Laser hair removal is also not as painful. It still twinges, but it’s manageable.
Cons of laser hair removal
While laser hair removal gets rid of most hair, you may have a very minor amount of regrowth over time. It used to be that laser hair removal wasn’t recommended for those with darker skin tones, because laser hair removal works by targeting the melanin in a hair follicle, and it could lead to irregular pigmentation for people with darker skin. But now there are lasers that work to remove hair on darker skin tones, such as YAG lasers. And laser hair removal doesn’t work as well on blond or gray hairs, though long pulse lasers are still somewhat effective. .
Electrolysis vs Laser Hair Removal: The Verdict
Overall, we prefer laser hair removal because of its faster treatment duration, quicker results, overall effectiveness, and more tolerable treatment experience. But for certain areas on the face–like the upper lip or sideburns–electrolysis can work better in some situations. Our choice for hair removal on the body and face for most people is definitely laser.