The two popular methods of hair removal which lasts for longterm are electrolysis and laser hair removal. These days laser hair removal is more popular compared to electrolysis as per the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery. According to them, this year an increase of around 30% is observed in the number of laser hair removal procedures when compared to the year 2013. Electrolysis is also a very popular method for hair removal, but not as popular as laser therapy. Read on to know more about the general guidelines and benefits and risk associated with each procedure.
How is laser hair removal done?
This method makes use of mild radiation by means of high-heat lasers. By applying laser, the hair follicles at the desired part of the body are destroyed and this ensures significant slowing down of the hair growth. Keep in mind that even though laser hair removal always gives you better and long lasting results when compared to traditional methods like shaving, it is not a permanent solution. To achieve perfect results, you may have to receive multiple treatments.
Benefits of laser hair removal
The main benefit of laser hair removal is that it can be performed almost any part of your body except areas near your eye. It may be done just about anywhere on the face and body, except your eye area. This makes this procedure very useful. Not only that, this procedure requires almost no recovery period and you are free to do all activities normally after the procedure. Also, when hair regrows after a laser procedure it will always be thinner and finer and not as thick as it was before the procedure. If you have dark hair on fair skin, this is the best hair removal option for you.
Laser hair removal – Side effects and risks
Various side effects associated with laser hair removal are usually inflammation, irritation, swelling, blisters, redness and formation of light patches on the skin. Minor side effects such as redness and irritation will disappear in a few hours. Anything which lasts longer than that should be reported to your doctor. Scars and skin texture changes can be observed as very rare side effects. In order to avoid any such complications, always consult a board-certified dermatologist for your laser hair removal procedure.
Laser hair removal – Aftercare and follow-up
Usually, prior to the hair removal procedure, an analgesic ointment will be applied to the treatment area by your dermatologist so as to minimize the pain. If these do not help with your pain, consult with your doctor and take over-the-counter pain relievers. In cases of severe pain, doctors might also prescribe steroid creams.
You can apply a cold compress or ice to the affected area to relieve the swelling and redness after the treatment. Keep in mind that laser hair removal restricts hair growth and this necessitates the need for regular follow-up treatments so that the results are extended to a maximum period.
Also, make sure to reduce the time of direct exposure to the sun in the treatment area especially during excessive daylight hours because you are at a greater risk of sunburn after the procedure. Make sure to wear your sunscreen every day. It is also recommended to avoid direct sunlight for 6 weeks before your laser hair removal so as to prevent pigmentation disturbances on tanned skin.
As mentioned earlier, follow-up treatments are absolutely necessary at least every 6 weeks, up to 6 times. Follow-ups ensure that hair growth is minimized after the initial procedure. Not only that, but you will also need to consult your dermatologist once or twice a year to maintain the results achieved. It is recommended to shave the treated area once in a while between appointments.
Costs of laser hair removal procedure
As this procedure is an optional cosmetic procedure, don’t expect it to be covered under your medical insurance. So it is always better to discuss the financial implications of this procedure to your dermatologist. The total cost of the procedure will vary according to the number of sessions you need. You can also talk to your dermatologist about a payment plan. Even though slightly costlier, always opt for a licensed dermatologist for doing your hair removal.
How is electrolysis done?
This is another option you have for unwanted hair removal which disrupts hair growth. Electrolysis is carried out by inserting an epilator device into the required area of the skin. Here, shortwave radio frequencies are applied to hair follicles so as to stop fresh hair growth. This essentially damages the hair follicles and the hair existing in them fall out. Remember, as in the case of laser hair removal, electrolysis also needs more than one follow-up appointments with your doctor for achieving best results. But, unlike the laser procedure, electrolysis is considered as a permanent solution for unwanted hair removal by the U. S. Food and Drug Administration.
Benefits of Electrolysis
The most evident and important benefit of opting for electrolysis is that it is a permanent solution for unwanted hair removal. In addition to this, this procedure is highly versatile and can prevent hair growth for all hair and skin types. Not only that, it can be used anywhere you want hair to be removed, including your eyebrows.
Electrolysis – Side effects and risks
Usually, the side effects of doing electrolysis are minor such as skin irritation and redness. In most cases, these will disappear by themselves within a day or two. Very rarely swelling and pain is also observed in the treatment area. Some of the more serious side effects include scars and infection. To minimize such serious side effects always make sure to consult a board-certified dermatologist.
Electrolysis – Aftercare and follow-up
Often the results of doing electrolysis are advertised as being permanent. This is because in electrolysis hair follicles are destroyed which in theory, means that these follicles will not be able to produce new hairs. But, keep in mind that it is difficult to achieve this result with just one session especially for a large area like your back or areas where hair growth is comparatively thicker such as the pubic region. In such cases, follow-up sessions might be required on a weekly or bi-weekly manner to achieve desired results. But, unlike laser treatment, no maintenance treatment is required in electrolysis once the hair is completely destroyed.
Cost of Electrolysis
As in the case of laser hair removal, electrolysis is also not covered by insurance. Here, the cost of the procedure will depend upon the treatment area size and number of subsequent follow-ups required. Sometimes electrolysis is charged on an hourly basis and it is seen that the cost will reduce with each visit. But, compared to laser therapy, you might need more sessions to get rid of the hair completely. Also, make sure that only FDA regulated safe epilators are used for your electrolysis.
When compared to the traditional method of shaving off your body hair, both electrolysis and laser hair removal gives long-lasting results. But if you compare both, electrolysis seems to be a better solution as it gives permanent results and doesn’t require maintenance treatment. Not only that, the side effects involved are fewer too. But electrolysis requires more sessions and doing electrolysis successfully in large areas is a challenge.
Also, it is not a good idea to switch between hair removal procedures because doing so disrupts the effects of the already done procedure. Therefore, make sure you consider the advantages and disadvantages of both these procedures and have an in-depth discussion about your need for hair removal with your dermatologist before you decide which procedure is best for you.