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Electrolysis vs Laser Hair Removal

Updated on November 30, 2011

Electrolysis vs laser hair removal: Which is the right hair removal system for you?

Approximately 1.5 million Americans undergo cosmetic hair removal treatments. This is a huge industry. So, it is no surprise that many companies are offering home hair removal devices which claim to permenently remove hair. Several hair removal systems are discussed below. There are many styles and types at various price ranges.

This lens discusses the difference between Electrolysis vs laser hair removal. Many examples are shown below.

Conclusion: If you can afford it and have light skin and dark hair, consider a Home Laser Hair Removal Device. To find out which device is right for you, read Laser Hair Removal Reviews.

(Photo by Mark Sebastian)

Which Do YOU Feel Like: The Woman Above or the Woman Below? - Maybe It Is Time To Consider Hair Removal?

(Photo By Helder)

What Is The Difference Between Electrolysis vs Laser Hair Removal?

Electrolysis vs laser hair removal, which is right for you?

Electrolysis vs Laser Hair Remova: How Do They Work?

Lasers work by attacking melanin, the pigment with gives hair and skin its color. So lasers are better for people with dark hair and light skin. Laser works by passing intense light through the skin to hundreds of hair follicles at a time. The light burns the follicles and stops them from growing, sometimes permenently, but some follicles may recover and regrow.

On the other hand, electrolysis works by inserting a tiny probe into each individual follicle and zapping the follicle with electricity. So, it is like an small injection followed by a small shock. Each follicle is individually treated and killed. The process is effective, but painful.

How Quick Are They?

Compared to Electrolysis, laser treatments are very fast. With Electrolysis, every hair must be individually removed. To give you an idea, with laser you can usually complete a your bikini area in minutes, certainly under an hour. With Electrolysis, you will need hours for an effective treatment. Lets say that with electrolysis it may take approximately 30 seconds to treat each follicle. In one hour time you will have zapped only 120 follicles! With laser, in the same time, you will have zapped thousands of follicles.

How Many Treatments Are Required?

Electrolysis usually requires many more treatments than laser hair removal. Each folicle must be indifually killed.

How Painful Are They?

Most find electrolysis to be more painful. With electrolysis, you are sticking a small probe into the individual hair follicle and zapping it. It is sort of like having thousands of tiny injections. Laser hair removal is not very painful. Few people report problems with the pain. Laser is considered by most to be less painful than electrolyisis, waxing or tweezing and certainly less painful than electrolysis.

Who Can Use Them?

Laser Hair Removal works best on light skinned, dark haired people. The bigger the contrast in color between the skin and hair the better. Electrolysis should work on everyone.

Which Is Most Effectiveness:

In the short term, laser may be more effective. For example, in a one hour treatment, you will hit many more hairs with laser. But eventually many will grow back.

In the long term, over many treatments electrolysis is more effective. Eventually electrolysis will kill all of the follicles. But each person's experience is different. If your hair color is very, very light or your skin color is very dark, laser may not be effective for you at all.

A Clinical Trial compared the difference between laser and Electrolyisis. They used 3 or 4 treatments with both techniques and after six months they compared the pain, time and costs. The researchers concluded:

Laser hair removal is more expensive than electrolysis, but is 60 times faster and less painful than electrolysis; also fewer sessions are needed with the laser with better results

This is true. After only 3-4 treatments laser is better. However, had they compared the effect after 20 or 30 treatments, they probably would have found that eventually electrolysis was more effective. Because electrolysis takes so many treatments, the cost difference in the end may not be so much. But again, every individual will have different results.


If you have light skin and darker hair go for laser. If you have dark skin or very light hair consider electrolysis. If you are not sure, consult a professional.


Silk'n Home Laser Demonstration - How To Use a Home Laser System

This is an ad about Silkn. Read more about about Silk'n and Tria in these Laser Hair Removal Reviews.

Silk'n Home Laser Hair Removal System - Silk'n is a GREAT solution for many people

If you are fortunate enough to be a lighter skinned darker haired consider a home laser hair removal device. You may be shocked at the price tag. Laser hair removal is not cheap. But a home laser device will pay for itself very quickly, if you compare the cost to multiple visits to a hair removal pro.

Just read Laser Hair Removal Reviews. Most people are delighted. The few that are not maybe dark skinned or light haired people.

Also, be prepared that you will have to replace the bulbs frequently and that they cost $70 each. However, this is cheap compared to the costs and inconvenience of going to a pro.

If you are dark haired and light skin, you will probably be satisfied with Silk'n or Tria, If you are dark skinned or light haired, consider your options below.

Electrolysis Demonstration - This video demonstrates how time consuming and tedious electrolysis can be.

I can not find a video to demonstrate home electrolysis. But this video will give you an idea of how tedious and time consuming electrolysis can be. Each hair must be individually treated. To complete one small area, you need hours of electrolyisis. The results are long lasting, but the time involved is considerable.

Professional Licensing

Is Professional Electrolysis or Laser Treatment Licensed?

If you decide to go to a profesional for Laser or Electrolysis, by all means CHECK if they are licensed. It is usually not enough if their boss or employer is licensed. You should confirm if the person who is handling you is licensed. If they have a license to remove your hair, this has two benefits for you.

* You know that the professional has been properly trained to use the devices

* You can complain to the licensing board if you feel you received poor quality treatment.

Licensing requirements vary from state to state:


As a general rule cosmeticians and estiticians maybe licensed for electrolysis.

You can usually verify if your professional's license is valid by contacting the state licensing authority or department of consumer affairs. For example, in California you verfiy your professionals's licence via the department of consumer affairs.

Laser Hair Removal

Usually only Physicians or by someone directly supervised by a physician are licensed for laser hair removal.

As an example, this is from the California Medical Board.

Physicians may use lasers or intense pulse light devices. In addition, physician assistants and registered nurses (not licensed vocational nurses) may perform these treatments under a physician's supervision. Unlicensed medical assistants, licensed vocational nurses, cosmetologists, electrologists, or estheticians may not legally perform these treatments under any circumstance, nor may registered nurses or physician assistants perform them independently, without supervision.

Unfortunately, in some states there is no licensing requirement at all.

What Does Your Cosmetologist, Electrologist or Esthetician Say About Laser?

Your Professional may have a reason not recommend Laser Hair Removal

Remember in MOST STATES cosmetologists, electrologists, and estheticians are NOT licensed to do laser hair removal. In most states ONLY physicians can use lasers. Therefore, do not be surprised if your cosmetologists, electrologists, or estheticians advises you against laser and advises you to do electrolysis instead.

If your cosmetologist, electrologist, or esthetician is offering Laser Hair Removal check to see if they are licensed to perform laser hair removal in your state.

Have you had experience with electrolysis or laser hair removal? - Let everyone know your thoughts about laser or electrolysis

Have you done laser or Electrolysis? Let us know your experiences!

What factors made you decided?

What did you think about the experience?

Would you do it again?

What would you do differently?

Have you tried a home hair removal system?

Have You Experienced Electrolysis or Laser?

Electrolysis vs Laser Hair Removal

This is a summary of the article above on the difference between Electrolysis vs Laser Hair Removal

Time: Laser is faster than Electrolysis.

Number of treatments: Laser requires fewer treatments

Pain: Laser is less painful than electrolysis

Cost: One hour of electrolysis is cheaper. BUT electrolysis requires more visits, in the long run there may be little difference.

Effectiveness: After a few treatments, laser is more effective. After many, many treatments, electrolysis will be more effective.

Who can use them: Everyone can benefit from electrolysis. Only dark haired, light skinned people can benefit laser.


The Difference BetweeenElectrolysis vs Laser Hair Removal in a Video - Which is better for you? Electrolysis vs Laser Hair Removal

If you want another summary of the difference between Electrolysis vs Laser Hair Removal, try this short video from expert village

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What Do You Think About Hair Removal? - Have you experienced Electrolysis or Laser? What is your opinion?

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    • EuroSquid LM profile imageAUTHOR

      EuroSquid LM 

      5 years ago

      @advancemedicalsystems: For a large area like the legs, you are probably right. However, for a small area or an area on the face, like hair over the lip for example, electrolysis is probably better. This should be discussed with a hair removal expert.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I think laser hair removal is better than electrolysis

    • Michelllle profile image


      5 years ago

      I learned tons. thanks.

    • EuroSquid LM profile imageAUTHOR

      EuroSquid LM 

      5 years ago

      @anonymous: Possibly electrolysis is better than laser. But the advantage to laser is that it is faster. While electrolysis is a hair by hair approach, while laser can cover a major area very quickly. At least the choice is now available.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Laser isn't permanent for many people and should NEVER be used on a woman's face because it can stimulate hair growth. Ironic, huh?

      Both electrolysis and laser can be dicey propositions if you don't do your research. Laser often fails and if we're being completely honest laser proponents can only claim it gives REDUCTION, not a permanent removal like electrolysis.

      There are many electrologists who do body work but you will have to take the time to find them. Laser is best suited for men's backs and chests to achieve a reduction before moving to electrolysis to complete the work. Underarms, bikini lines, faces (for the reason stated in the first sentence) are all best served by a good electrologist. A permanent clearing of an area like bikini and underarm can be had in about 7-10 hours with an electrologist. I've seen people going for years to clear areas with laser and it still grows back once they stop treatments.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Nice lens! I think that the comparison between the two techniques will help people make an informed decision. There is a lot of info out there to digest.

    • EuroSquid LM profile imageAUTHOR

      EuroSquid LM 

      6 years ago

      @VspaBotanicals: Thanks!

    • VspaBotanicals profile image


      6 years ago

      I'm still debating. This lens is great!

    • EuroSquid LM profile imageAUTHOR

      EuroSquid LM 

      6 years ago

      @Jennifer Einstein: No, I do not know. But I doubt that anything changed in the past ten years.

    • Jennifer Einstein profile image

      Jennifer Einstein 

      6 years ago from New York City

      The study you've listed is over ten years old. Do you know if there have been more recent trials?

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Both are really very good techniques only difference is that laser is used for dense coarse hairs and electrolysis is used for smooth hairs.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Electrolysis is really good for smooth hairs such as our face hairs but coarse dense hairs it not work.

    • profile image

      jseven lm 

      7 years ago

      Nice lens. I've done a few months of electrolysis on my chin and upper lip, but only once a month and it wasn't frequent enough to do the job. I want to go back because the hair is light and I'm concerned that laser won't get it. I did hear that lasers now can find the light hair with a solution they put on it. I need to do something for sure!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      You have a great Lens my friend, keep shining!

    • WebIsFun profile image


      7 years ago

      Thanks for the informative page -- never tried either.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I think these are the 2 high tech ways for hair removal - however it would be better to know the "pros and cons" before undergoing it in details.


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