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Electrolysis v Laser/IPL

trev 3 min read

It’s very on-trend to be hair-free right now, but how are you going to go about removing the fuzz.

Laser and IPL are very popular choices, but do they really compare to permanency of electrolysis? These are the pros and cons of the treatment methods.

  • 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 treat, such as 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. 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.
  • 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
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