Electrolysis or Laser Facial Hair Removal?

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There are only two FDA-approved ways to get rid of face hair permanently. Your choices are either electrolysis or laser hair removal. Each method has its own strengths and limitations. Let's look at some of the pros and cons of both approaches.

Laser Hair Removal

Laser hair removal works by attacking the melanin (the dark pigmentation) found in your hair. For this reason, lasering does not work on blonde hairs. It's also the reason why people with darker skin should not use laser hair removal, because of the risk of burning your skin. There are certain wavelengths that can remove blonde hairs but they are not perfect and you are still at a much higher risk for disappointment or scarring.

Laser removal is a good choice for facial hair because it only requires a small area at a time to cover. This can help keep costs down. Each visit can be completed in about ten minutes, for up to six separate sessions. In the US, expect every laser facial hair removal session to cost up to $200.


Lasering can be painful, but not much worse than a rubber band snapping against your skin. Your practitioner may recommend taking a mild painkiller beforehand.

Laser hair removal is approved by the FDA for permanent hair reduction. You may see up to an 80% decrease in hair growth, although 100% removal is impossible..

Electrolysis

The best thing about electrolysis is that it's guaranteed to work for everybody. It doesn't have the same patient limitations as lasering. Even if you have light hair and dark skin, you can still undergo electrolysis!

Unfortunately, electrolysis can be quite painful. It works by inserting an electrified needle into your hair follicle, and zapping hairs one by one. It feels more like a sharp prick than the laser's snap.

Electrolysis also requires more sessions than laser hair removal, up to 30 visits in some cases. Each visit will cost about $60 in the US.

With electrolysis, it is almost 100% guaranteed to work. Facial hair responds particularly well to this type of treatment. Each hair that is removed is usually gone forever, unlike laser where re-growth can occur.


So which is better?

It seems that the lesser pain and reduced sessions of laser hair removal is the better choice. Unless, of course, you have dark skin and/or light hair, then electrolysis is your only permanent removal option.

But there is hope. Advances are being made every day for better lasers, more precise methods, training and wavelengths. So maybe one day laser hair removal will be available for everyone.

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