Is electrolysis the best hair removal option for me?

Taking a professional treatment route is the permanent solution for hair free skin and now you’re here, you may be wondering whether electrolysis is right for you. There are three main hair removal methods to consider, either electrolysis, IPL (intense pulse light) or laser hair removal, yet if you are leaning more towards electrolysis, we have created this guide to help inform your decision. 

The cause of excessive hair growth can be hereditary, where your genes mean you are easily subjected to the growth of unwanted body hair on areas that would usually be less hairier. Similarly, medical conditions and hormone imbalances also trigger overactivity on behalf of hair growth hormones, enabling your hair to grow thicker and faster than usual. Women with PCOS (Polycystic ovary syndrome) or going through menopause can also be prone to increased hair growth. 

Electrolysis is an innovative cosmetic treatment that uses an ultra-fine electrical probe to target the individual hair follicles and destroy the hair growing environment, lastingly stunting regrowth. It is a popular permanent hair removal treatment for targeting any light, blonde, white and red hair and is suitable to use on the upper lip and facial areas. Due to the individualised treatment nature, it can be suitable to use on a range of skin types and tones with minimal side effects. 

Electrolysis vs IPL hair removal

Electrolysis and IPL both work to lastingly remove unwanted hair, however IPL and electrolysis take very different approaches to hair removal and employ opposing technologies.

IPL is a broad spectrum light treatment, meaning it administers multiple wavelengths of concentrated pulsed light to the desired area. It can be used as a way to remove unwanted hair and it is beneficial in treating whole areas of skin compared to electrolysis. 

IPL is often used as a rejuvenating, pigmentation correction treatment and as it works by targeting the skin’s melanin, it is not suitable for darker skin tones and ineffective in treating light hair due to its holistic, less focused approach. Electrolysis is suitable for use on both dark skin tones and light hair which is the biggest benefit of electrolysis. 

Electrolysis vs laser hair removal 

Laser hair removal can be an alternative to electrolysis depending on your hair type. As electrolysis targets individual hairs, laser hair removal can be a less time consuming option to treat large areas of unwanted dark hair with a typical session lasting around 15 minutes. One disadvantage of laser hair removal is that it is ineffective in treating light, fine hair. 

Laser hair removal works by combining both light and heat technology to target the pigment in the hair follicles, and it is most effective on dark pigmentated hair. The follicles absorb the laser’s light which is then converted to heat energy to destroy any hairs that are detected beneath it. Some disadvantages of laser hair removal is that it can produce side effects of burning and blistering depending on your skin’s sensitivity. If you have any pigmentation concerns, electrolysis is a more suitable option for you. 

Before undergoing any professional treatment, a thorough assessment of your skin and hair type will be conducted to modify the treatment to your skin needs and produce the best outcomes whilst avoiding any detrimental aftereffects. 

With electrolysis, laser hair removal and IPL, a course of interval treatments is recommended to target the hair in its most responsive hair growth stage. 

There are four stages of hair growth and it is fundamental to target the hair in the Anagen phase, which is when the hair is actively growing and receptive to any hair removal treatment. By targeting the hair in the Anagen stage, the efficacy of the treatment is assured and means that the hair growing state is permanently altered.  

hair growth cycles

Hair removal methods comparison

Use the table below to find out which hair removal method is right for you.
Treatment typeOverviewRecommended no. of sessionsCostTime to healHair and skin type suitabilityTreatment areasEffectiveness
ElectrolysisTargets individual fine, light hair and perfect for treating smaller areas of hair3 – 6 treatments for lighter, finer regrowth

6 – 30 for permanent removal
Single sessions from £39

Packages are cheaper
Minimal downtime, redness can occur, usually heals within 2 – 48 hoursLight, fair hair – blonde, light brown, white, grey

Very fair, white, beige, light brown and darker skin tones.

Freckle prone skin

Confirmation after consultation
All body parts but more suitable for the face and smaller areasCan achieve 80% hairlessness

No ingrown hairs or razor rash
Laser hair removalTargets larger areas of dark, coarse hair6 – 10 for significant hair reductionSingle sessions from £26

Packages are cheaper
Minimal healing time, 1 – 2 days

Redness, slight scabbing could occur
Dark hair

Suitable for most skin types apart from very dark skin tones as burns / blistering could occur
Almost every area of the body, apart from inside of ears, over the areola and nostrils90% reduction of unwanted hair

No ingrown hairs, stubble or rash
IPLBroad spectrum light treatment, large areas and best suited for light skin3 – 6 treatments for noticeable change

6 – 30 for more permanent results
Single sessions from £40 +

Packages are cheaper
1/2 days of healing time

Redness and irritation can occur
Works best on hair pigment considerably different to skin tone

Confirmation after test patch

Best for use on light – medium skin tones

Dark skin tones risk discolouration/ pigmentation
Most parts of the body and face

People breastfeeding or taking medication may be unsuitable
6 sessions give around 70% of hair reduction

Key takeaways

  • Electrolysis is most effective in treating lighter, fine hair and can be used on darker skin tones that LHR and IPL cannot 
  • A recommended course of 3 – 6 treatments (sometimes more) is necessary for up to 80% reduction in unwanted hair
  • Laser hair removal can be used to treat large, dense areas of hair that electrolysis is less recommended for 
  • IPL works to target broad areas and may be more effective for skin rejuvenation
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