The ability of laser hair removal and electrolysis to permanently remove unwanted hair is often misleading. For some, both treatments are necessary while others may benefit from one or the other.
If laser is used on the face, chin or lip area of women where all the hair is not actively growing it could cause more hair to begin growing. Laser targets color and is much less effective on light and fine hair. Women with dark skin are also difficult to treat as the laser cannot distinguish between the color of the hair and the color of the skin. Laser works best on light skin with dark hair and areas where all the hair is actively growing such as under arms, on the legs and in the bikini area.
Why can’t I treat an area with laser where just a few hairs are visible?
Vellus, is the superficial, hard to see hair that covers most of our body. Vellus hair is considered inactive. Areas that we shave, wax or tweeze regularly are terminal hair and are considered active.
It is necessary to shave the area completely before a Laser treatment. The tiny inactive vellus hairs will be shaved and treated along with the thicker hairs during a Laser treatment. The fine hairs will grow back and over time will become active.
After several treatments, vellus hairs that do not respond to laser will become longer and darker. These vellus hairs are still not being affected by the laser but becoming much more noticeable. Treating these areas with Laser can cause more unwanted hair than you started with.
Electrolysis will target the thick dark terminal hairs without touching the tiny, almost invisible, vellus hairs. Only the individual, unwanted hairs are treated and guaranteed to be permanently removed without causing any additional growth. Electrolysis is also suggested for use after completed laser treatments for any unwanted hairs that grow back over time.
The cost of laser verses electrolysis is around the same. Laser is much quicker and requires fewer treatments. Electrolysis treatments cost less but may take several months of weekly appointments. Electrolysis is the preferred treatment for targeted hair removal and should be offered for permanent results. If a laser center does not offer electrolysis and suggests laser where all the hair is not active, you may experience an undesirable outcome. Offering both treatments guarantees a successful outcome.
Linda Nicolo is the owner of Pretty Face Medi Spa (prettyfacemedispa.com) in Montrose, NY. Linda is an RN and has been performing both laser and electrolysis for many years. You can reach her at (914) 788-9790.