Laser Hair Removal Versus Electrolysis

If you are interested in permanently removing unwanted hair, you are probably trying to decide which method is best for you: laser hair removal or electrolysis. While the decision is entirely a personal one of preference, it is important to understand the pros and cons of each method in order to make the best decision for you.

Laser Hair Removal

Laser hair removal is a treatment that involves shooting concentrated laser beams to your hair follicles. The lasers are attracted to the pigment, or color, in your hair. When it meets with the pigment, it becomes hot and damages the root of your hair. Since laser hair removal works by seeking out pigment, it cannot be used on individuals whose hair is not pigmented, such as those with blond, white, or gray hair. Vellous hair, or peach fuzz, cannot be removed with laser hair removal. In addition, those with dark skin are generally not good candidates for laser hair removal treatments.


Electrolysis, on the other hand, probes each individual hair follicle. In this way, it goes to the root and shocks it with an electrical charge. After the root is shocked, the hair is removed with tweezers. Electrolysis can be performed on anyone, regardless of their hair color. It is, however, a very slow process and only a small section of hair can be treated at one time.

Comparing Results

Electrolysis is a permanent hair removal treatment. Laser hair removal, on the other hand, is not necessarily permanent. For many people, the treatment does result in permanent removal. Some areas, however, are more stubborn and will grow back even after several treatments. In these cases, the hair is generally much thinner and takes longer to grow back than before treatment. For example, someone who had to shave every day may only need to shave once every few months after completing laser hair removal treatment.

Comparing Treatment Time

Electrolysis is not effective for removing hair from large areas of the body. In addition, it can take hundreds of hours to remove the hair from an area of the body that only takes a few hours with laser hair removal. This is because electrolysis involves removing hairs one at a time, while laser hair removal can treat dozens of your hair follicles at the rate of a pulse every two seconds.

For most people, it takes four to six treatments to complete one area with laser hair removal. At the same time, every patient is different. Therefore, some require additional time to get the results they desire. Certain areas, such as the underarms and the bikini area, tend to be easier to treat and may not take as many treatments. The upper lip, on the other hand, is usually more stubborn and can take longer to achieve the desired results. In general, thicker hair takes longer to treat than thinner hair.

The reason for needing multiple treatments is because laser hair removal works by killing active hair. Therefore, dormant hair, or hair that is not currently growing, is not destroyed. Your body always has a certain percentage of hairs that are not growing. Since these hairs do not create large amounts of pigment in the follicle, the laser is not attracted to them. Therefore, you need multiple sessions in order to catch all of your hairs as they cycle through being active and dormant. To help catch all of your hairs, it is usually best to schedule treatments every six to eight weeks.

The decision between electrolysis and laser hair treatment is a personal one. Most doctors, however, will be upfront with you about which treatment is best for your personal situation. If you have light hair or peach fuzz, you will definitely need to use electrolysis to remove unwanted hair. In general, if you want to remove hair for a large area, it is most practical to pursue laser hair removal treatment. If the area is small, it is a matter of the amount of time and money you have to invest in hair removal.