The Permanent Touch

Electrolysis? Laser?

Electrolysis?  Laser?

Did you know that both laser and electrolysis remove hair permanently, and that they have some quite important differences you should know about?  How much hair are you targeting, and what colour is it? Electrolysis treats one hair at a time, approximately 200-800 hairs per hour.  example. Laser can treat thousands. Because electrolysis is less costly per hour than laser, the rule is, if you have only a few hairs to treat (e.g. less than 100), it would make more sense to go with electrolysis.  For large areas or large amounts of hair, laser treatments are the most cost effective as well as much faster. What colour is your hair?  Electrolysis can kill hair of any colour.  Laser can only target pigment, and so it works better on darker hair.  Red is targeted very poorly.  Although our Elos technology can successfully medium brown, and somewhat red tinged, we may augment treatments with electrolysis.  If you have a combination of hair colours, we would recommend using laser in combination with electrolysis.

Are you concerned about the sensation? Most individuals find both treatments tolerable, especially when analgesics are used.  The sensation of laser and electrolysis differ, but there is not a consensus on which is preferable. The coarser, darker and denser the hair growth, the more intense the sensation. And as you suspected, some areas have more nerve endings than others.

Electrolysis involves the insertion of a probe into the hair follicle while laser can penetrate the epidermis non-invasively.  Post-treatment effects with these methods also differ.  Facial skin responses to electrolysis usually consist of reddening and slight swelling which normally dissipates within minutes or hours. In some cases, a rashy look or a few whiteheads may appear for a short time and little reddish brown eschars which may last for several days may form. These may be concealed with makeup.  Darker skins are more prone to these.

Electrolysis can treat hairs in very hard to get at places like ears and nose.  It can be selective and therefore do precision sculpting as in eyebrows.

Laser may produce immediate edema and redness but no delayed skin reaction. An exception to this is when type 5 skin is being treated in which case hyper-pigmentation may result.  This too is temporary although may take weeks to resolve. Laser treatments will not result in ingrown  hairs. In fact, this is an effective way to eliminate them.

What is your skin colour? Electrolysis is colour-blind. We selectively treat the follicle, whereas laser, being attracted to pigment will want to heat the skin as well if it is darkly pigmented. Dark hairs on light skin will respond optimally.  Efficiency will decrease with an increase in skin pigment beyond Type 4.  Our ELOS (electrical optical synergy) technology has an advantage over other laser technologies in this area.  Because it has Radio Frequency combined with laser, the need for optical energy is reduced, and it is therefore safer for dark skins. If your natural skin colour is medium or darker, a consultation and test is necessary.  If your skin is too dark for laser, electrolysis may be your choice.

The treatment protocols are different. During electrolysis, each hair, along with it’s root is removed. You can come in for your treatment with short or long hair, it is up to you. If you’ve been waxing or plucking, you don’t have to let it all grow out and it doesn’t matter what length it is as long as it’s long enough to grasp with a tweezer.  In order to do a laser treatment, we prefer that you haven’t waxed more recently than 2 months. and we usually prefer that it’s clean shaven (with some exceptions).  Roots are released or ‘shed’ for up to 2 weeks after the treatment,  and shaving is recommended during this time.   Next is a long period of hairlessness, 4-8 weeks,much longer than with any other hair removal method.  Treatment scheduling differs somewhat. Electrolysis treatments can be scheduled as needed, every 1-6 weeks depending on the rate of growth and personal preferences. Laser treatments, because they’re more costly are done more infrequently in an effort to maximize the number of hairs present. This is usually every 6-8 weeks.  With adequate regularity in treatments, both laser and electrolysis may achieve 75% permanent reduction in 6 months. At this point treatments may become less frequent.

The question of permanence will not be confusing as long as you remember this. Yes we remove hair permanently, but hair growth patterns aren’t always complete when you’re starting. In fact often hair removal is initiated when stimulated hair is first observed.  New growth patterns develop over time. After puberty most body areas are complete, and if you treat these it is rare to see any hair return. Hair growth of the female face and male back in particular is not always complete and growth spurts continue into old age as hormones change. How can you know if this will happen to you? Genetics is a clue as to whether your growth patterns are complete. Also the density of your fine, as yet unstimulated hair is a clue. A male back that already is completely stimulated from the shoulders to the small of the back is not likely to experience significantly more hair growth. A female face is more difficult to predict, but it’s really irrelevant because pursuing permanence will always result in years of minimal maintenance. Personal consultations are the best way to find the answers you’re looking for, and they are free!