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New York Electrolysis Association

Your Source for Permanent Hair Removal and Electrolysis Referrals

Choosing Laser Hair Removal Or Electrolysis Which Method is Best For You?

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You are probably trying to decide which method is best for you to permanently remove unwanted hair. The debates over the two options have been many. NYEA encourages you to compare the two so that you may have the additional information necessary in your decision-making process. NYEA also encourages you to research on your own and be an informed consumer. Your decision will then be made based on what is best for you and your particular circumstances. Some questions to consider:

  • Find out what each method does and how it is accomplished.
  • Have an understanding about how long it will take. As hair grows in cycles, both methods require multiple sessions over weeks or months.
  • Know how effective they are.
  • Educate yourself on the risks.
  • Compare the costs.
  • Compare results.
  • Be sure to get laser and/or electrolysis treatments from trained professionals.

Laser hair removal is a treatment that involves directing concentrated laser beams to your hair follicles.  The lasers are attracted to the pigment, or color, in your hair.    Since laser hair removal works by seeking out pigment, it cannot be used on individuals whose hair is not pigmented, such as those with blond, white, or gray hair.  Vellous hair, or peach fuzz, cannot be removed with laser hair removal. In addition, those with dark skin are generally not good candidates for laser hair removal. Electrolysis targets each follicle individually, thus insuring precise placement of the probe.  Once the current is applied, the hair is then removed with forceps.  Electrolysis can be performed on anyone, regardless of hair color.

Compare results.  Electrolysis is a permanent hair removal treatment. Laser hair removal, on the other hand, is not necessarily permanent.

Safe and effective treatment for ALL hairs – dark, blond white and red and ALL skin types, light and dark. The practitioner needs enough length of the hair to grasp with the forceps for treatment. Hair does not have to be long for treatment. Avoid waxing/tweezing/threading prior to treatment. If there is large volume, cutting or shaving is preferred as it does not affect activity below the skin Treatment for individuals with dark hair and light skin (not blond, gray or red hair or dark skin). Hairs are to be visible but shaved short the day of the procedure. Avoid waxing or tweezing the hair and electrolysis three weeks before treatment.
Application: Timing and Intensity, how much for how long (micro seconds) is selected based on specific hair type utilizing a very fine probe which is inserted into the follicle. The entire follicle unit is treated individually for effective destruction of specific hair within the follicle. There are various technique applications available with state-of-the art computerized technology Application: Treatment of desired area containing many hairs which may contain dark, light, white and red hairs. Results may be optimized for dark hairs in the area but not effective for blond, gray or red hairs. Protective Goggles must be worn to prevent exposure of your eyes to laser light
Practitioner: Skilled, Board Certified and/or licensed Electrologist (depending on state) who is mandated to attend continuing education events to retain credential/license. The consumer should always ask for the practitioner’s credentials and experience in the field Office should be clean and professional. Always ask about the practitioner’s infection control practices Practitioner: Since lasers are prescription medical devices they should be used only under the direction of a licensed practitioner (state specific) preferably an MD who is board certified in dermatology or similar specialty. If another licensed person (i.e. physician’s assistant/licensed nurse) performs the procedure, the MD should supervise and be available onsite during treatments. Consumer should thoroughly check the credentials of non medical personnel performing the treatments, if other than in a medical setting
Side effects: depending on skin type and sensitivity, some redness/swelling may occur (which will subside within an hour or two) possible hyperpigmentation/hypopigmentation (if over treated) is possible, scabbing may occur. Sunlight should be avoided during healing period and should be avoided on treatment area before and after procedure Avoid makeup application directly after treatment to avoid bacteria from entering the skin. Skin should be kept clean post treatment Side effects: may include swelling, redness and possible hyperpigmentation/hypopigmentation, scabbing, changes in hair patterns – possible stimulation of new growth in areas next to treated areas) Sunlight should be avoided during healing after procedure.
Sun exposure: treatment should be avoided with any sunburn in the area to be treated. Tanning should be avoided pre and post treatment. Sunscreen should always be worn whenever you are in the sun. Tanning booths should be avoided; the UV light damages the skin. Sun exposure: using sunless tanning products and tan from sun exposure will affect the start of treatment. Tan from sun exposure must be completely gone before starting treatments because tanning increases the risk of side effects mentioned above. Sunscreen must be worn whenever you are in the sun, avoid tanning booths, the UV light damages skin. Avoid sun exposure four to six weeks before treatment
What you will feel during treatment: There is a sensation associated with the electrolysis procedure, which one might interpret as a slight warming effect, but with today’s computer–assisted technology, client comfort has been maximized. Certain areas are more sensitive than others. Hair is then removed from follicle as part of the procedure. Topical anesthetics can be applied prior to treatment for those who may be oversensitive. What you will feel during treatment: Feels like a rubber band snapping against the skin. Topical local anesthetic may be applied before procedure to reduce discomfort. Procedure causes slight burning of stubble. One may notice a strong odor of singed hair during treatment, which is normal
Results: Permanent removal of hair over a period of time (hair growth cycle dependent), consistency of treatments Results: For suitable candidates, there may be reduction over a period of time (hair growth cycle dependent), consistency of treatments
Cost: not routinely covered by insurance Electrolysis is considered very cost effective when compared to other temporary hair removal methods. A schedule is set up at the consultation depending on the needs of each client which will determine the length and frequency of electrolysis treatments. Commitment and consistency of treatments are key elements for successful permanent hair removal Cost: not routinely covered by insurance Expect a series of treatments scheduled 6 to 8 weeks apart (approx) to achieve reduction. Consultation will determine frequency and cost Consistency is a key element for this process

Laser Hair Removal – Mayo Clinic staff www.mayoclinic.com
"Manufacturers may not claim that laser hair removal is either painless or permanent unless the FDA determines that there are sufficient data to demonstrate such results. Several manufacturers received FDA permission to claim ’permanent reduction, NOT "permanent removal" for their lasers. This means that although laser treatments with these devices will permanently reduce the total number of body hairs, they will not result in permanent removal of all hair."

"Electrolysis is considered a permanent hair removal method, since it destroys the hair follicle."
Laser Facts Center for Devices and Radiological Health Food and Drug Administration www.fda.gov

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