Electrolysis vs Laser Hair Removal: What’s the Difference?

Before we had a more advanced hair removal method, there were painful solutions like shaving and tweezing. No matter how hard you try, hair grows back quickly. But thanks to the advancement of technology, we now have faster and more efficient techniques like electrolysis and laser treatment.

So how do electrolysis and laser hair removal stack up against each other? Electrolysis works as a permanent hair removal option but requires more sessions. Laser treatment is long-term but not permanent, although it takes fewer sessions. It helps to know which treatment is more compatible with your goals. 

How Does Electrolysis Work?

Electrolysis is a form of hair removal that uses a thin wire to destroy the hair follicles beneath the skin. Unlike other options, permanent hair removal goes beyond the hair shaft. Here, an electrologist electrocutes the follicle and destroys the root. Since the follicle receives damage, the process results in permanent hair removal in the treated area. It works for all people, regardless of their skin color.

While the procedure seems like technological advancement, specialists first used it in the 20th century. The modern electrolysis equipment is called an epilator which shocks the hair follicle's root with a needle's help. During the process, the patient may feel a hot or prickly sensation. 

Electrolysis hair removal requires multiple sessions, and patients must talk to their doctor regularly. The number of sessions necessary for permanent removal will vary per person. Unlike laser treatments, the intervals only last for 1 to 2 weeks. However, sessions may continue for more than a year, depending on the area. 

After an electrolysis hair treatment, patients should avoid activities that irritate the affected areas. These include applying skincare, working out, and picking or scratching the treated body part. Harsh facial creams, especially antibiotic components, should also be avoided. 

Additionally, saunas and hot showers may irritate the skin for the first few days. For additional information, consult your physician or dermatologist if you experience harsh side effects.

The amount of time it takes for electrolysis to take hold varies per person. Larger areas with coarse hair usually require more sessions.

At the moment, electrolysis is the only FDA-approved procedure for permanent hair reduction. No matter the hair type, this procedure usually stops unwanted hair growth.

How Does Laser Hair Removal Work?

Laser hair removal is one of the most popular procedures—these work by applying a handheld laser on the skin. The laser produces a beam that passes through the hair follicles, delivering heat that attacks them under the skin. The damage restricts hair growth, preventing it from growing back for a long time. Laser treatment works best for people with a light skin tone and darker hair. 

Physicians will ask patients to wear goggles to conceal their eyes during the laser session. The laser beams may affect vision, so it is best to take the necessary precautions. Shaving is also necessary to make the treatment more effective. The physician may apply a local numbing agent to make the procedure more comfortable.

While the handheld laser releases the beam, the applicator may also remove a cooling agent. The skin receives protection, and it also reduces the risk of developing burns and other side effects. Treatments may only take a few minutes for a small area, like the chin or upper lip. But for larger areas like the back and the chest, they can last for over an hour. 

After the session, you may experience slight swelling and redness from the laser beam. These effects are typical and will resolve within a couple of days. You may apply a cold compress to the affected area to lessen the discomfort. In the case of any harsh reactions, contact a doctor. 

Fewer laser treatments are needed compared to electrolysis. Most people need around six sessions, with intervals of 4 weeks for areas like the face. In areas where hair grows slower, such as the back and chest, treatments occur every 6 to 8 weeks. After the treatment, new hair doesn't grow for a decade or more.

Electrolysis vs. Laser Hair Removal: Pros and Cons

These procedures have their pros and cons. Factors such as price, time, and long-term duration may affect your choice of procedure. It helps to match these with your budget, patience, and goals. If you have a darker skin tone, you also have to account for that. Your treatment must be convenient and provide good value for your money.


Pros Cons
Hair removal is permanent Each session can last for more than an hour
Works on every hair color It may cause skin discoloration
No ingrown hairs The process can feel painful
Each session costs less Overall cost is more than other treatments

One of the advantages of electrolysis is that it acts as a permanent solution to unwanted hair. While laser procedures' effects are long-term, they still allow regrowth after a few years. But with electrolysis, the hair follicle can no longer grow. The procedure also works on all hair colors, proving to be the only reliable solution to remove white, gray, and blonde hair for a long time. 

It's good to note that lasers work better on light skin and dark hair. This limitation makes it inaccessible for a large group of people who have unwanted hair growth. On the other hand, electrolysis works better for dark skin tones, which is more convenient and less risky. 

Since the existing hair doesn't grow back in electrolysis, the chances of ingrown hair are zero. That means less pain and discomfort after all sessions finish. Additionally, each session costs less than a single laser therapy session. 

Note that these procedures last a long time—a single session for back hair removal may last for an hour or two since the specialist has to electrocute every hair follicle in the area. The process could also feel more painful, with a warm and tingling sensation present throughout. When done wrong, electrolysis can damage the skin in the surrounding area. 

Lastly, while each treatment costs less than a laser procedure, you need more electrolysis sessions. The intervals are also closer to each other, which means you will pay more in the long run.

Laser Hair Removal Treatment

Pros Cons
Laser hair treatment is less painful Ineffective against some hair colors
Produces long-term effects Effects are not permanent
It comes with cooling treatments Sun exposure may damage the treated area
Lower long-term costs High cost per session

Laser treatments are less painful when compared to electrolysis. Modern-day lasers come with wavelengths that are more effective but less harsh on the skin, making the overall experience relatively comfortable. Plus, the cooling treatment with new lasers produces a soothing effect on the skin. It also lessens the likelihood of developing side effects.

In the long run, laser treatments also cost less—most people only need around six sessions for the regimen to finish. In addition, the effects of laser treatments are proven and tested, which is why it has become a popular cosmetic procedure. It's also used to treat excessive sweating, thanks to its effects. 

However, laser hair removal is ineffective against some hair colors, such as white and gray. While new technologies allow lasers to work on blonde and red hair, they'll need more sessions than usual. Note that treatment effects aren't permanent; coarse hair will eventually appear in the area after a couple of years. 

Patients must also take extra precautions after the first few weeks of treatment since direct exposure to the sun can damage the skin. The damage to the skin may also be long-term, so it is necessary to keep track of your exposure. Wearing sunblock is advised in the first few weeks. 

Lastly, the price of each session is relatively high. Unless you save up money for the entire series of treatments, it won't be easy to budget the costs of each treatment.

Get the Best Hair Removal Results with Beverly Hills Rejuvenation Center

Unwanted hair is one of the most pressing cosmetic problems for many people. Depending on your treatment choice, you may want a long-term solution to hair regrowth. After all, you deserve the best care and services. Beverly Hills Rejuvenation Center has top services like body contouring, chemical peels, and cosmetic injectables. We also have the best laser hair removal treatments to help you get rid of unwanted hair. 

Whether it's in the face or body, our team can handle your hair removal needs. Our laser hair removal treatments come in the form of intense pulsed light (IPL) therapy, which safely and effectively targets individual hair follicles. Our Beverly Hills Rejuvenation Center team can help you craft the right treatment plan, regardless of skin type.

Get rid of unwanted body and facial hair, and book a session with us today.

Beverly Hills Rejuvenation Center
Original Post Date: 
November 24, 2022
Date Last Updated: 
October 16, 2023
phone handset icon
(888) 962-5872