Choosing to go completely hairless is simply a matter of preference. But for many men and women, removing unwanted hair can make them feel more comfortable and confident, especially when it’s time to hit the beach.
There may be many hair removal options available at home or in salons and spas, but people tend to opt for more long-term solutions like Brazilian hair removal procedures such as electrolysis and laser hair removal.
So what’s the difference between electrolysis and laser hair removal when getting a Brazilian? Though both target the hair follicles to prevent hair growth, the main difference is that electrolysis uses shortwave radio frequencies, while laser hair removal uses radiation through high-heat lasers.
Both electrolysis and laser hair removal can be used to provide a Brazilian-style hair removal. This means treating the hairs growing on your bikini area, front pubic bone, labia (for women), the buttocks, and around the anal area. Although they both offer long-term solutions by targeting your hair follicles, their differences lie in how they work on your skin.
Laser hair removal works by damaging your hair follicles and slowing down hair growth. A laser technician will first apply numbing cream to reduce the discomfort. Then, a laser machine will emit mild radiation to weaken your hair follicles in the form of high-heat lasers. This procedure makes your follicles become too damaged to grow hair.
Electrolysis, on the other hand, damages your hair follicle through shortwave radio frequencies.A thin needle will be inserted into your targeted hair follicle to directly kill the hair root.
You may need around 5 to 12 laser treatments spaced 4 to 6 weeks apart before achieving the results you want. How many treatments you’ll need will depend on factors like the size of the areas treated, the thickness of your hair, and factors like skin color and hair color that can affect the effectiveness of the procedure.
Laser hair removal isn’t permanent, and after completing multiple treatments, you’ll need at least one maintenance session every two years to prevent your hair follicles from redeveloping. Meanwhile, the number of electrolysis treatments needed can vary from patient to patient, depending on the treatment area, hair thickness, and the number of follicles present in the area. In some cases, women can expect up to 30 treatments before achieving the results they want. These treatments are done once a week or every other week, and can last from 15 minutes up to an hour. However, unlike laser hair removal, there are no maintenance sessions required.
The cost of laser hair removal can range from $300 to $550 per session. Given that you’ll need around 5 to 12 sessions to complete treatment, expect to spend as little as $1,500 up to $6,600, plus the cost of maintenance sessions once every two years.
One electrolysis session, on the other hand, can range from $30 to $200. This can depend on factors like where you get treatment, and where you’re located.
Since both laser hair removal and electrolysis are cosmetic procedures, they’re not covered by insurance.
Both laser hair removal and electrolysis come with their own side effects and risks.
Laser hair removal uses heat, which can cause blisters, irritation, dry skin, and redness. Side effects like redness and irritation, however, only last a few hours. Dry skin, on the other hand, may result in crusting of the skin. If not moisturized or treated carefully, this can result in skin infection. The area can also feel tender, which can be uncomfortable or even painful, especially since the treatment area is more sensitive than other areas. Over the course of your treatments, you may also notice your pubic hair falling out.
Electrolysis, on the other hand, can cause side effects like skin irritation and redness. However, the effects are more irritating than painful and can go away within the same day of your treatment. There is also the risk of scarring from needles if not handled properly, so it’s best to get your treatment done in a reputable clinic by highly-qualified staff.
|Electrolysis||Laser Hair Removal|
|Permanent hair removal. Electrolysis is the only FDA-approved procedure that can permanently remove body hair. After your treatments, you won’t need maintenance treatments to prevent your follicles from regrowing hair. |
No risk of hyperpigmentation. Electrolysis only treats the hair follicle. This makes it a good choice for all hair and skin types since these don’t affect its effectiveness.
More cost-effective solution. Electrolysis sessions cost slightly less than laser hair removal. While laser hair removal requires less treatments, it’s not a permanent solution and will require maintenance. In the long-run, permanent hair removal without maintenance may be more cost-effective for your time and money.
|Precision and speed. Lasers work through pubic hairs, which are naturally coarse, so they can quickly target your follicles. They can also cover multiple hair follicles in a second, which means less time required to complete a session. |
Less treatments needed. Brazilian laser hair removal takes between 5 to 12 treatments, which means fewer trips to a spa or aesthetic center.
Non-invasive. Lasers use light and heat energy to target hair follicles. This makes it a better option for patients who might be uncomfortable with the use of electricity and needles that electrolysis requires.
|More treatments required. Although in the long run, electrolysis can be worth it, you’ll need to take time off at least once a week or every other week to get electrolysis treatment done. Given that you’ll need as much as 30 treatments, you’re looking at least 7 months’ worth of treatment before getting permanent results. |
Involves needles. A very thin needle will be inserted into your follicle to send an electric current to the roots. This might not be the best option for those who want a less invasive procedure.
Takes longer. Your technician will have to treat each hair follicle individually, which can take time and cause discomfort, especially if they’re treating intimate areas like your pubic region.
|Higher risk for patients with darker skin. Lasers have a low risk of discoloration for patients with light skin because lasers are absorbed by dark colors. This means spas and aesthetic centers with older laser equipment may cause hyperpigmentation on patients with a darker skin tone. |
Less effective for patients with light-colored hair. The melanin (pigment) of the hair is what absorbs the laser and converts it into heat energy. It’s best for patients with dark hair, while those with lighter hair colors absorb lasers less effectively, thus requiring more intense lasers or more treatments to achieve your desired results.
Not permanent. Laser hair removal is a long-term solution, but it isn’t permanent. To maintain the effects of your treatment, you’ll need touch-up sessions every two years.
Both are viable hair reduction options. If you don’t want to spend every other week waxing or shaving and then dealing with the side effects like ingrown hair, razor bumps, and bristle, then these two hair removal method types are the beauty investments you need. It ultimately comes down to preference and what your long-term goals are.
If you want long - lasting results, then electrolysis is the better solution. Once you get past the number of treatments, you never have to worry about hair growing back again.
But if you’re not fully committed to a permanent solution and want results that are just as good but take less time, then laser hair removal is the preferable alternative. If you don’t mind reminding yourself to get maintenance treatments, then this is the better solution. Should you decide to stop maintenance treatments and let hair grow back, the hair that does come back should appear thinner and less dense.
Both electrolysis and laser hair removal are good options if you want hair removal solutions that last longer than regular shaving or plucking. Both have their own advantages, so there’s no right or wrong choice. What matters is which solution makes you feel more comfortable and which is the more practical choice for you upon receiving the treatment and seeing lasting results from it later on.
Ethos Spa Skin & Laser Center prides itself on its state-of-the-art equipment and carefully executed techniques to ensure safe and effective laser hair removal treatments. Aside from hair removal, we offer other treatments and services for your beauty needs and goals. Our highly-trained and highly-skilled staff will gladly help you get the results that you want. Remove unwanted hair and get a cleaner and smoother look for longer by booking an appointment with us today.