Laser vs IPL vs Electrolysis Hair Removal

Out of all the different available options for permanently removing your unwanted hair, the most common techniques are Laser, IPL, and Electrolysis. However, finding a hair removal treatment that is suitable for you can be painstaking.
Hair growth and body elements are unique to you. When selecting a hair removal treatment, it is important that you choose the one that works best for you; do not compare it to your friend’s choice and expect similar results.
For today, we are going to give you as much information as we can on laser, IPL and electrolysis hair removal treatments.
By the time you are finished reading this guide, you will be well-versed with the difference between the three techniques and you will know which technique is the most suitable for you.
Laser Hair Removal Treatment​
According to WebMD, this is among the most common cosmetic procedure in the US. It entails focusing a concentrated beam of light on the hair follicle. This concentrated beam produces heat that is absorbed by the hair follicle pigments.
Lasers can be a useful way to remove unwanted hair from legs, chin, arm, bikini lines, face, back, and other areas.

How does Laser Hair Removal treatment work?

During the laser treatment, a laser beam is focused on the hair. The melanin in the hair absorbs the light beam; this light has heat energy which damages the hair follicles that helps in hair growth. Due to this, future hair growth is delayed or inhibited.

Benefits of Laser Hair Removal

  • It has minimal side effects; those that do occur only last for a few days.
  • At home or in an institute, treatment times are super quick; although the time taken on the treatment will depend on the size of the area being treated and the type of the device used, results occur after a few weeks.
  • It is precise. Only the hair follicle is targeted so it has no effect on any other area.
  • Unlike some other hair removal techniques, you do not have to wait for hair to grow to get laser treatment since you do not need surface hair.
  • It is relatively painless and less uncomfortable as compared to other treatments since it is spread over different sessions.
  • If you choose to do laser treatment at home, the operation of the devices is very simple as long as you follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Laser hair removal will also help you get rid of painful and unsightly ingrown hairs and strawberry legs.

Preparing For Laser Hair Removal

  • Avoid deodorants.
  • Avoid any moisturizing substances.
  • A week before your appointment, stop using light sensitizing agents.
  • Stop any skin peeling procedures.
  • Before any session, make sure to wash and dry the area thoroughly.
  • Shave the area carefully two days prior to the procedure.
  • Avoid exposure to the sun and UV rays, if you can’t avoid sunlight, you should apply sunscreen to the areas you plan to treat.
  • Lasers are strong lights; you should use protective eyewear when carrying out this procedure.

Is Laser Hair Treatment Suitable For Everyone?

According to Wikipedia, Laser hair removal is suitable for everyone with colored hair. While dark hair and light skin is the best combination for the best treatment result, light blonde, strawberry blonde, and white hair do not respond well to laser treatment.

Is Laser Hair Removal safe?

The technology behind laser hair removal has been constantly improving over time.

Laser hair removal devices are completety safe for almost all skin types, in addition, most of them are FDA approved, which means they are proven to be both safe and effective.

Having been researched for over twenty years, no long proven long-term side effects and health risks have been associated with laser treatment.

However, if you’re planning to perform the procedure at-home, make sure that you have the right skin tone and hair color for laser hair removal; follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.

In case of adverse side effects and reactions, see a doctor.

Side Effects of Laser Hair Removal

The side effects of laser hair removal are generally temporary and minor, and disappear within a few days, the most common ones are:
  • Irritation and reddening of the skin may occur.
  • You may experience skin crusting on the areas affected by the laser treatment.
  • If some instances, scarring or scabbing may occur.
  • Laser hair removal increases the chance of infection. The treated area should be treated like a wound.
  • Burns and blisters may occur, especially if the manufacturer’s instructions are not followed
  • Permanent scars can occur if the treated area is not well taken care of.

Is Laser Hair Removal Permanent?

Laser hair removal is considered permanent since the laser permanently destroys the hair; however, it is preferable to refer to the procedure as a long-term hair removal since, under the influence of certain factors, the hair may regrow, but in most cases it is finer and thinner than it was before the treatment.
It is advisable to do a maintenance treatment every year to sustain the result.

Laser Hair Removal At Home

Undergoing the laser hair removal procedure at home has a number of benefits. It is cheaper, convenient, and easy to carry out and offers privacy.
If you have decided to perform the procedure at-home, make sure that you have suitable hair color and skin pigment combination. Also, check if your skin is laser tolerant to avoid adverse side effects.
Lastly, only buy laser devices from trusted brands.
If you want to find out more about at-home laser hair removal and see our reviews of the top laser hair removal products for home use, click here.

IPL Hair Removal Treatment

IPL Hair Removal Treatment
IPL stands for Intense Pulse Light. It is almost similar to laser treatment; the only difference is the light source. Laser uses monochromatic light source while IPL uses broadband pulse light.
IPL also targets the hair follicle to achieve its results.

How Does IPL Hair Removal Work?

The intense pulsed light works as a wave as opposed to laser which uses a single beam. A series of pulses emit the waves which target the hair follicle.
These waves are absorbed by the follicle as heat. This, in turn, destroys the follicle thus inhibiting future growth of hair. The process is carried out over a number of sessions.

Benefits of IPL Hair Removal

Here are some Benefits of IPL Hair Removal:
  • IPL treatment is safe with minimal side effects.
  • IPL hair removal is a very effective technique since it allows a significant hair reduction of about 80%. As the sessions progress, the hair will become lighter and thinner, and over time, it will grow back slower until it disappears.
  • Due to the use of broad-spectrum light, it is not invasive.
  • IPL has less risk and takes less amount of time to carry out.
  • At home or in an institute, sessions are super quick since the treated areas vary from 2 to 7 cm2, depending on the type of the device used.
  • IPL treatment only targets the follicles hence have no effect on your surrounding body tissues.
  • IPL treatment is a painless procedure; at worst you will only feel a slight burning sensation and stinging.
  • The treatment does not require anesthesia.
  • It is a safe option to use at home and the operation of the devices is very simple as long as the manufacturer’s instructions are carefully followed.

Preparing for IPL

  • Avoid skin tanning for six weeks. If you must tan, use water-resistant and broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30.
  • Do not wax or pluck your skin six weeks prior to the treatment.
  • Do not take blood-thinning medicine before an appointment.
  • Take a shower before IPL treatment.
  • Shave the area to be treated two days before the procedure.
  • Avoid exposure to the sun and UV rays, if you can’t avoid sunlight, you should apply sunscreen to the areas you plan to treat.

Is IPL Hair Removal Suitable For Everyone?

Not all IPL are safe for you, especially if you have dark skin or fair hair. This is due to the technology behind lasers and light-based hair removal treatments that relies on the contrast between the skin tone and the hair color.
If the skin is too dark, there is a risk that the light gets absorbed by melanin in the skin, which can cause permanent scarring, skin burns, and blistering.

Is IPL Hair Removal Safe?

IPL hair removal has undergone various tests for a number of years. In addition, it is FDA approved.
There is a universal scale, Fitzpatrick scale, which used to determine the most suitable device for your skin tone.

Side Effects of IPL Hair Removal

Some side effects of IPL hair removal include:
  • Darker skin tone color tends to get burns and blistering
  • On the same note, if you are of darker skin tone permanent scarring may occur.
  • You may experience brief skin swelling.
  • You can also have reddening of the skin
  • Your skin may be sensitive for a few hours after an IPL procedure.
  • You might have temporary crusting.

Is IPL Hair Removal Permanent?

Contrary to what is often claimed, IPL is not permanent. However, IPL treatment reduces the total amount of hair in the treated area permanently.
It is recommended to do maintenance treatments once a year to sustain the results.

Carrying Out IPL Treatment At Home

IPL hair removal devices for home use are available on the market, they are easy and simple to use and the procedure is straight forward. Care should be taken when buying a suitable device for you.
IPL will have maximum results if you select the one that suits your skin tone. For home IPL procedures, those with dark hair and light skin are more likely to get the desired results.
If you want to find out more about at-home IPL hair removal and see our reviews of the top IPL hair removal products for home use, click here.

Electrolysis​ Hair Removal Treatment

Electrolysis is the removal of individual hair from the treatment area. Medical electrolysis devices destroy hair growth centers using heat energy or chemicals.
Electrolysis hair removal can be carried out on most parts of the body. The side effects are also not severe and tend to be temporary.
The downside of using electrolysis hair removal is that it is a time consuming and slow process, since every single hair is treated individually, getting large areas done can take a very long time, as a result, the procedure can be quite expensive.
Moreover, the process is a bit painful compared to laser or IPL hair removal.

How Does Electrolysis Work?

A very fine needle-like metal probe is used to apply an electric current to single hair follicle. This destroys the hair root permanently inhibiting any future growth.
The three types of electrolysis hair removal are galvanic, blend, and thermolysis.

Benefits of Electrolysis Hair Removal

Below are some of the Benefits of electrolysis Hair Removal:
  • Unwanted hairs are permanently removed.
  • It works for a wider range of skin color and hair types.
  • It has no permanent side effects.
  • It has a proven track record.
  • It is effective for people with medically induced hair growth.
  • It is the only permanent hair removal treatment approved by the FDA.

Is Electrolysis Hair Removal Suitable for Everyone?

Electrolysis has no special consideration or limitation in terms of skin color or hair type. It targets a specific area which is the hair root. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about its suitability; the only requirement is a hair root.
In addition, it is carried out by professionals. In the limited situations where it will not be suitable, you will be notified.

Is Electrolysis Safe?

Yes, electrolysis hair removal is safe. The side effects that occur are few and far between. Electrolysis is only carried out by licensed professionals; for this reason, the chances of you having any accidents are highly unlikely.
However, adverse side effects mostly occur when you go to unlicensed centers, or have the procedure carried out by someone who is not trained.

Side Effects of Electrolysis Hair Removal

There are no long-lasting side effects of electrolysis hair removal, some of them include:
  • Inflammation of the skin.
  • Slight skin irritation.
  • Swelling
  • Small scabs, though it is very rare.
  • Can lead to skin dryness.
  • Can lead to temporary acne, especially if you have sensitive skin.
  • Small red dots.

Is Electrolysis A Permanent Hair Removal Option?

Yes. Electrolysis is the only permanent hair removal procedure approved by the FDA. It destroys individual hair roots permanently.
For this reason, the chances of future hair growth are almost nil. It is only recommended for the removal of hair you would want to be gone forever.

Can Electrolysis Hair Removal Be Done At Home?

There are a few thermolysis machines in the market though experts do not seem to agree on the results.
If you decide to use the electrolysis procedure at-home, be patient. The process takes time to learn and master. It works on individual hair so it may take you a very long time.
You should also familiarize yourself with different hair growth stages for the best results.
Having said that, it is recommended you go for professional electrolysis for guaranteed results.

Conclusion: Laser vs IPL vs Electrolysis Hair Removal

Having looked at Laser vs. IPL vs. Electrolysis hair removal treatments, you should now be in a better position to make an informed decision.
As far as we are concerned, the ideal hair removal options in terms of cost, convenience and availability would be the IPL and Laser options, both methods are equally effective and cause a significant reduction in hair growth, but minor side effects are more likely to occur with laser; in addition, the two options are great for DIY home use.

If you want to get rid of unwanted hair permanently, the best option would be electrolysis, but we recommend undergoing the procedure just on small areas.

Judy Rose

Hi, it’s Judy!

I’m a passionate skincare specialist and writer. I have more than 7 years of experience as a beauty, fashion, and lifestyle writer and editor, and I’m extremely passionate about what I do.