Food and Drug Administration

Is electrolysis similar to laser hair removal?

Electrolysis is not laser hair removal. One difference is that electrolysis has been approved by the FDA for “permanent hair removal,” whereas laser hair removal has been approved by the FDA for “permanent hair reduction.” This is not to say that laser hair removal does not work for some clients, only that it does not work for all clients. Another difference is that laser does not work well when there is no pigment in the hair to absorb the laser heat energy, or when there is similar coloring to both the skin and the hair, so that both absorb the laser energy equally. Thus, laser does not work well for grey hair, blonde hair, or for dark hair on dark skin. Since laser hair removal involves shaving the area and treating with the laser, it is difficult to know if it works on an individual until several treatments and hundreds of dollars later. A third difference is that laser hair removal gives unpredictable results for some areas such as the face, whereas electrolysis works well on all areas of the face or body. Finally, although uncommon, side effects of laser hair removal can be more significant than electrolysis, including redness, blistering, skin discoloration, swelling, and scarring. All things being considered, no one would object to a client using laser to reduce the hairs on a large area of the body such as the legs, before having electrolysis to permanently remove the remaining stubborn hairs.


What is electrolysis?

Electrolysis is non Рlaser permanent hair removal. Electrolysis has been in use for over 100 years, and is the only FDA approved method for PERMANENT hair removal. It is effective for all hair types, skin types, and areas of the face or body. Although slower than shaving, waxing, threading, or laser hair removal, electrolysis is permanent, safe, and involves minimal discomfort.

An electrologist permanently removes unwanted hair by inserting a very fine sterile metal probe into the hair follicle, applying electricity to produce heat or induce lye formation, and thereby destroying the germ cells at the root of the hair. Since one cannot see inside the hair follicle, down to the root of the hair, the process is very dependent on the skill of the electrologist, and his/ her ability to judge the angle of hair growth, the depth and thickness of the hair, as well as the amount of electricity needed in terms of heat or lye formation in order to destroy the hair germ cells. Thus, a good electrologist, like a good hair stylist, requires much skill and talent. A good electrologist will help you look your best by permanently removing all your unwanted hairs.