I have been performing laser and electrolysis hair removal in New York for seven years and just moved my practice to VS1 which in my opinion is one of the top Long Island hair salons. Most of the people who are interested in hair removal generally ask the same questions and Christina has been kind enough to give me the opportunity to answer some of them for you.
What’s the difference between laser and electrolysis?
There are a few big differences between the two:
First and foremost, electrolysis is permanent hair removal while laser is permanent hair reduction. At first laser was marketed as permanent but once it was proved that this is not the case, they changed the name.
Laser only works on people who have thick, black hair. It doesn’t work on people with blond, red, grey, brown or white hair. Electrolysis works on all hair colors and thicknesses.
When done on a regular basis, electrolysis is guaranteed to give results. Laser companies on the other hand guarantee to remove 30 to 70% of the hairs.
How does electrolysis work?
The technician inserts a tool called a probe that looks like a needle into your hair follicle until the tip of the probe touches the root of the hair. Then she hits the peddle with her foot and enough electricity hits the root to weaken and eventually kill the hair. Over time, you will see the hairs get thinner, sparser and finally disappear. The process is time consuming because each hair has to be treated individually, but since the results are guaranteed and permanent they’re well worth the time.
How does laser work?
It’s very important that you start by getting a test shot so that you don’t burn. This only takes a few minutes but may save you the embarrassment of walking around with dark marks on your skin for the rest of your life. Once you’re good to go, just sit back and relax while a technician will use the laser to zap the area. The laser’s job is to find the pigment of your hair through your skin and put it to sleep. During the process, your skin may feel warm, redden and possibly even swell up a little. It’s all perfectly normal and will go down in about an hour. The hairs that disappear will be gone for two years. After that time some of them will grow out again but they will be thinner and fewer. You will have to get one treatment per year to ensure that your results continue.
How do I prep for a laser treatment?
You must make sure that before the treatment you shave the area that is to be worked on and make sure to NOT apply any perfume, creams or oils on or near the area so that you don’t burn. You must go to your appointment with clean skin.
I did electrolysis years ago and the hair grew back. What’s going on?
It’s not the same hair that was treated all those years ago. Keep in mind that in one square inch of skin you have 1,000 hair follicles and not all of those follicles are active at the same time. Hormonal changes, medications and genes will cause you to grow hair in places that you would rather have smooth skin and so during pregnancy, menopause and puberty there’s a pretty good chance that you will grow some hairs. The good news is that you can always get rid of them.
I get ugly brown dots from electrolysis but want the permanent results. What can I do?
I use to get these scab marks as well and it was horrible. You can use a gold probe which is made for people with sensitive skin and apply ice to your skin to lessen your chances of a breakout. If you still get them then Neosporin will help you to heal faster.
How many treatments will I need to see results?
You generally need seven laser treatments (one every four to six weeks) to see results, but may need more if you have darker skin or sensitive skin. I don’t like to do more than nine treatments on anyone because after that if the hair hasn’t vanished, it’s not going to do so. I can’t tell you how many people call me and say that they had 12, 19 or 22 sessions. Do not do this, it’s a waste of money.
As for electrolysis, it’s impossible to tell because everyone is different.
Are IPL and laser the same thing?
No, IPL (intense Pulse Light) uses a noncoherent light and laser uses a single fixed frequency. The results are usually not as good and there’s a slightly higher chance of getting burned than with laser.
If I do laser on my bikini area or near my breasts can I have children later on?
Yes you can. There’s no proof at all that laser slows down reproduction organs or causes cancer for that matter. However, if you’re pregnant, it’s better to be safe than sorry so skip the treatments until after you have the baby.
So what are the dangers?
While it’s possible to burn someone’s skin with electrolysis, it’s a pretty difficult task. You would have to jack up the heat for a very long time on a very sensitive area.
It’s much easier to burn someone with a laser but this is why you should do a test shot- so that you can avoid this issue. There are two kinds of laser burns- light ones and dark ones. A dark burn should heal in six months or less, while the light ones will need to be treated with expensive medications and may never disappear.
Do they hurt?
Everyone is different with different pain tolerances. It’s pretty safe to say that the upper lip, bikini area and boney areas are the most painful areas to get work done. If it’s too much for you, you can always numb your skin with Emla so that you’re more comfortable.