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The Perfect Combination - Electrolysis, Laser & IPL

Hair removal is a multi million pound industry and hair removal treatments are always top of the agenda in salons and clinics.  Not content with temporary methods, consumers demand lasting and effective results….. results that electrolysis can promise AND deliver!

Electrolysis remains the only legally recognised method of permanent hair removal.


However there are newer methods of hair removal technology.  Some good, some not so good….Evaluation of a hot-wire hair removal device compared to razor shaving.…..  Probably the most successful and well know of these is Laser and Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) technologies.  


Both technologies Electrolysis and Laser/IPL can and are used together for the benefit of the client although not simultaneously and at least one month is recommended between treatments in the same area.    


Electrolysis complements Laser and/or IPL treatments and together they make the perfect combination offering speed of treatment with the added benefit of permanency.  If you offer Laser and/or IPL then capitalise on and extend your existing client base by offering electrolysis to complete the treatment.  Electrolysis with its versatility of being able to treat every hair type and colour as well as every skin type and colour ensures that no client will ever need to be turned away.  This will open up your portfolio to encompass a whole new client base, improve client satisfaction and widen your target audience.

How does electrolysis compare with Laser and IPL?

Electrolysis remains the only method allowed by the ASA / Beauty Industry's Governing Bodies to claim that it offers permanent removal. It is also defined in the BMA’s ‘Complete Family Health Encyclopaedia’ as ‘the only means of permanent removal’.

The advent of Laser and IPL alongside social convention, pressure and expectations have resulted in more varied treatment areas being presented to the electrolysist resulting in an industry upturn.  Laser and IPL with their capability of treating large areas has resulted in electrolysis now being utilised to complete these treatments when Laser or IPL cannot ‘finish the job’.

Often white hairs remain after Laser or IPL and electrolysists can successfully remove these where Laser and IPL cannot.  Any Laser or IPL operator who is trained as an electrolysist has the advantage: their knowledge base regarding the skin and hair is often greater and they have the benefit of being able to use each method, for the benefit of the client, either individually or combined.

The Pros and Cons of each method

  • Electrolysis offers Permanent Hair Removal
  • IPL/Laser – are hair management systems, not legally permitted to offer Permanent Hair Removal.  Can claim permanent hair ‘reduction’
  • Electrolysis invented in 1875 – proven – safe
  • Laser/IPL much newer technology
  • Electrolysis the perfect choice for small areas
  • IPL/Laser the choice for large areas but electrolysis often required to ‘complete the job’
  • Electrolysis suitable for small areas that IPL/Laser cannot go for example eyebrows
  • Laser/IPL cannot work on eyebrows due to the light and goggle requirement
  • Part of the beauty of an Electrolysis treatment is that it can pick out random dark hairs, if required, leaving blonde fine hairs and a natural  ‘downy hair’ look
  • Laser will ‘remove’ all hair growth in a given area
  • Electrolysis treats all hair colour types
  • IPL/Laser only successfully treats dark hair and can strip the melanin from the hair thus not removing the hair but only succeeding in lightening it thereby making it impossible to treat any other way… than with electrolysis
  • Electrolysis (offering 3 modalities) is suitable for all skin colours
  • Laser/IPL is not suitable for all skin colours Clement Beaumond Director of Dectro International stated that laser ‘destroys melanocytes and therefore pigmentation problems are not uncommon in laser epilation patients’
  • Electrolysis is more affordable to offer as a treatment and more affordable for the client
  • Laser/IPL machines costs are considerable as is the treatment costs and therefore  this has to be passed onto the client
  • With Electrolysis the thickness or thinness of the hair is unimportant and both are treated equally effectively
  • With Laser the thickness of the hair is important – thin fine hair, however black does not retain the heat
  • Laser travels down the hair shaft and therefore ‘refraction’ (the way laser ‘bounces’ off surfaces), affects its efficiency
  • Electrolysis, with its pin point accuracy and ability of the current to be targeted at the base of the hair, increases efficiency
  • With Electrolysis each individual hair can be easily pinpointed and 100% treated
  • Laser cannot penetrate through another hair so if a hair is ‘behind’ another in relation to the angle of the beam it is not treated.  A research study on Laser Epilation versus Electrolysis conducted by Dr Charles J Doillon of the Laval University New Jersey demonstrated a laser beams inadequacy.  It was efficient on one side of a hair but not able to reach through to the other side of that hair and a hair positioned lying ‘behind’ another underneath the skin received no treatment
  • Electrolysis is not without a level of discomfort but with today’s modern sophisticated machinery and with the versatility of the different modalities it has certainly become a much more comfortable treatment
  • IPL/Laser is not without discomfort despite media hype to suggest otherwise: ‘Charmed actress Alyssa Milano is bracing herself for more laser hair removal in 2006 because she admits the treatment is the most painful experience she has ever had…...She says, “I’d rather get my whole body tattooed daily than do laser……I’ve had two sessions, and I can honestly say that it is the most painful experience ever.”’ Salon Ireland, Nov 2006
  • With Electrolysis there is no risk of scarring or pigmentation when performed correctly and the correct modality chosen
  • With Laser/IPL there is generally recognised that there is an element of risk inherent in the technology.   The risk of scarring or pigmentation is minimised when performed correctly by fully trained and knowledgeable staff on suitable skin and hair type AND when using the appropriate Laser machine
  • Electrolysis operators are trained Beauty Therapists, or medical practitioners who have passed the module for electrolysis. There are therefore generally fully trained and highly skilled individuals
  • There are no requirements for training to operate a Laser/IPL machine.  That individual may not even be a therapist and have no in depth knowledge of the skin nor an understanding of hair growth and its causes and related disorders
  • Electrolysis requires licensing by local bylaw and environmental health registration
  • Currently IPL/Laser requires no Health Care Commission legislation before being allowed to operate sadly resulting in untrained and ill formed operators