Laser, Waxing and Electrolysis – Which One Is Best for Me?



Laser, Waxing and Electrolysis – Which One Is Best for Me?

Each kind of procedure for hair removal has its benefits and disadvantages. The key to knowing what method is best for you is to do research. To get you started, we’ve broken down the basics for you.

Laser, Waxing and Electrolysis

Laser Hair Removal

This particular hair removal technique utilizes laser technology to target unwanted hair at the follicle level. The goal is to damage the follicles enough so that hair growth is significantly slowed down. It will diminish your hair growth permanently, but it won’t eliminate unwanted hair forever, however it will grow back finer and lighter in colour than before. And while it does last longer than other hair removal methods, like shaving or waxing, you will need multiple follow-up treatments in order to see optimal results. You might also have to have regular maintenance treatments.

Laser hair removal is extremely versatile as it can be done on pretty much any part of the body, except for around your eyes. There is also almost no recovery time involved, so aside from a few simple aftercare instructions, you can get back to your everyday life after each procedure.

One significant downside to laser hair removal is that it only effectively works on individuals with light skin and dark hair. This hair removal treatment might not be an option for anyone with darker skin or blonde hair. The reason for this is because the laser is attracted to darker pigments. So, if your skin tone is darker, the laser won’t be able to discern the difference between your skin and the hair follicles.

This is why it is also extremely important to keep the area you are being treated out of the sun for the duration of the treatments. That means if you are getting your pubic area lasered, no sun tanning in a bikini during the summer for you. Treating skin that has been exposed to sunlight will likely result in lasting undesirable side effects, including sunburn.

Some of the side effects that could occur include irritation, redness, swelling, inflammation and pigment changes on the skin. Scarring and changes in skin texture are very rare. Mild side effects like redness and irritation typically go away within a few hours of the procedure. If these symptoms stay longer, or you notice more severe side effects, consult your doctor.

Laser hair removal is not for everyone. It is a fairly painful procedure where some people even need to take painkillers beforehand. Most people describe the sensation as feeling like having a rubber band snapped against your skin. It’s also considered an optional cosmetic procedure so it won’t be covered by insurance. The cost will vary depending on how many sessions you need, which will be discussed at your consultation.


Even though electrolysis is increasing in popularity at the moment, it still isn’t as common as laser hair removal. Both methods work to disrupt overall hair growth, but unlike laser hair removal, electrolysis is the only method recognized by the FDA as a permanent hair removal solution.

Electrolysis is a relatively painful procedure that requires each hair follicle to be treated in order to see optimal results. A needle is inserted into the skin and an electric current passes through the hair follicle, damaging it and preventing the growth of hair in the future. Any existing hairs will fall out. The best part is that once the hair is gone, you won’t need any more treatments!

One of the major benefits of electrolysis is that it is extremely versatile. Both in the sense that it can be used anywhere on the body, including the eyebrows, but it also works on all skin and hair types. Unlike laser hair removal, if you have light hair or dark skin, this hair removal method will likely work for you.

However, it does come with its disadvantages too. Some common side effects of the procedure may include redness and irritation, but this will likely lessen within a day or two. Rarer side effects include pain or swelling after the procedure. An infection from unsterile needles used during the procedure or scarring would be the most severe potential side effects.

Just like laser hair removal, electrolysis is considered a cosmetic procedure so it isn’t covered by insurance. The amount is will cost will be dependent on the size of the area that you are treating, as well as the number of follow-up treatments you require—which might add up as electrolysis must be spread out over a lot of sessions as often as every or every other week. Some doctors will even charge an hourly rate for the procedure, depending on which clinic you go to, but it will typically cost less with each session. The price will be determined in your initial consultation.

It is good to know before starting treatment, that it isn’t a good idea to combine laser hair removal and electrolysis. If you end up getting electrolysis done after completing a round of laser hair removal, you will actually interrupt the effects of the first procedure. It’s best to wait several months in between hair removal procedures. Consult with a doctor to find out more.

Ultimately, choosing between laser hair removal and electrolysis will come down to how fast you want to achieve short-term hair removal. Electrolysis requires significantly more sessions than laser hair removal. And for instantaneous short-term hair removal, there’s always the option to wax.


Waxing is a great option if you aren’t ready to make a more permanent commitment. After all, fashion trends come and go and removing your hair permanently is a big decision. Not to mention the cost if that is a concern for you. Waxing is definitely the cheapest option of the three.

If you’re worried about the side effects that come along with laser hair removal or if you have extremely sensitive skin, waxing might be the right choice for you. It is also extremely common for people to turn to waxing after they have already undergone laser hair removal or electrolysis and the results weren’t what they were looking for. Laser hair removal doesn’t work on all skin and hair types, which can lead to unsatisfying results for some people. If you have darker skin or blonde hair, waxing might be the best, most cost-efficient solution for you.

Waxing is also the better option if you are looking for immediate results. Unlike laser hair removal or electrolysis, this procedure won’t take months to complete. If you want unwanted hair to be gone, you can do so immediately. However, it does require that you let your hair grow out at least half an inch before getting it removed, otherwise, there won’t be anything for the wax to hold on to.

The way it works is that after the wax is applied, it is tugged in the opposite direction of the hair’s growth, effectively pulling it out at the root. You’re left with soft and less bothersome hairs than if you were to shave. You will also have much smoother skin for a longer period of time.

That being said, waxing is an extremely short-term solution. You will have to continuously go in for appointments, scheduling them approximately once a month.

The right hair removal strategy will be different from person to person. Doing your research on each method will give you the best understanding of what’s right for you. Our expert clinicians at McLean Clinic will gladly walk you through your options. For any questions you may have, contact us today!

July 30, 2019

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