How to Choose Between Laser Hair Removal & Electrolysis

Laser Hair RemovalWomen are faced with a myriad of different options when dealing with unwanted hair growth and how to eliminate it.

In particular, there is a lot of confusion when it comes to understanding the differences between laser hair removal and electrolysis hair removal.


The laser beams a highly concentrated light through the skin with the goal of targeting the hair root.
Keep the following points in mind:

1. PIGMENT – The best chances for success with laser hair removal are achieved on light skin with very dark, thick hairs since the laser works by targeting pigment.  Laser is NOT recommended for individuals with dark skin since it cannot differentiate between the hair color and the skin tone, so the danger of burning exists.  Also, it is NOT recommended for women with light skin and light hairs since there is no pigment for the laser to target.

2. DENSITY – The greater the amount of dark hairs in a given area, the better the potential for reduced hair growth (i.e., armpit, bikini area, etc.).  Refer to the above information on pigment to determine if you are a candidate.

3. SKIN THICKNESS – Thin skin tissue is required for the laser light to penetrate deep enough into the skin to reach the hair root and destroy it.  Many women with light skin and dark hairs have good results on the bikini area since there is dense hair growth and the skin is thin.

Electrolysis is performed using a thin wire that is gently inserted down the shaft of the hair follicle in order to concentrate heat on the hair root.
Keep the following points in mind:

1. PIGMENT – Electrolysis can be performed with great results on any skin color, any skin type and any hair color.

2. DENSITY – Not a requirement for the success of electrolysis treatments.

3. SKIN THICKNESS – Thin or thick skin can be treated with equal success.

If you have fair skin with dark dense hair growth, this would make you a good candidate for successful laser hair removal treatment.  Best results are in the bikini area.  Depending on the amount and distribution of hairs, there may also be some improvement on arms, legs and armpits.  Keep in mind that laser becomes less and less effective as the hairs thin out.  When this becomes the case, it would be advisable to complete the job with electrolysis.

Women should NEVER do laser on the face.  It is especially dangerous when performed near the eye area and it may possibly harm the teeth and gums when it penetrates the thin skin of the lip.  Additionally, women are finding MORE hair growth on their faces after having had laser hair removal.  This phenomenon is known as “hypertrichosis” and is caused by an increased blood supply to the hair root due to the heat of the laser.

Laser hair removal
is a relatively young technology so it is too soon to know the long-term consequences of repeated treatments.  The word LASER is an acronym with the “R” standing for “radiation.”  I wonder how many times can a single area be exposed to the light of the laser without causing damage to the cells.  Additionally, it should never be done near the eye area.  It has been reported that side effects include “damage to the iris, inflammation of the eye and irreversible cataract.”  That said, I believe that the legs and arms may be the safest areas to have laser treatment.  I would be cautious, however, when considering work on the armpit and bikini area due to the existence of lymph nodes in those areas.  When choosing laser hair removal, ask a lot of questions so that you can be an educated consumer.

Electrolysis has been around for over a 100 years.  It has withstood the test of time for safety.  Furthermore, it is the only method of hair removal that has been approved as “permanent” by the FDA.  When choosing electrolysis, remember that your selection of a competent, experienced electrologist is paramount to your permanent hair removal results.

Lori Weintraub is a Licensed Esthetician as well as a Master Electrologist with over 30 years of experience in the field of hair removal.  To learn more about Electrolysis by Lori, please visit Lori offers Skype consultations for women with PCOS and hormonal hair growth.  Email her at and mention “Online Consult.”

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25 thoughts on “How to Choose Between Laser Hair Removal & Electrolysis

  1. Who knew there were so many things to consider? Thanks for sharing this information – safety definitely needs to be part of the equation when making choices for beauty.

  2. Wow, this was very informative and clear. I had no idea they were so different, and this would be so helpful for women considering their options and needing the safety and effectiveness info.

  3. I would venture to say that most women don’t know that laser hair removal is radiation. Yikes! That is SCARY! Thank you for educating us.

  4. Wow! Lori, this post taught me a lot. I had no idea there was so many things to consider. Thanks for breaking it down. As a novice, I would have thought “laser” as it’s more “high-tech/advanced”. You are always such a great source for inspiration. Now please tell me what to use on crow’s feet!

    1. Thank you so much for your kind comments, Julia! If you’re really serious about addressing those crow’s feet, I sell a scientifically advanced eye serum that contains vitamins, antioxidants and peptides. One of the key ingredients is a topical alternative to Botox. It works to relax the muscles that cause crow’s feet. My “Products” menu is the next project on my ever growing list!

  5. what valuable information to have, lori. i’m a big baby, so i haven’t tried either! (and i didn’t know what the “R” in laser stood for either.)

    1. Knowing that you’re a self-admitted baby, I would suggest bleaching if you have any bothersome hair growth on your face. 🙂

  6. Lori, I was just discussing this topic on the weekend…wow, there is a lot of mis-information out there. Thanks for the informative stroll around the options. We had it all wrong…as fair skinned red heads over here 🙂

  7. I’ve tried them all!! Overall I’m really not too hairy but NO one enjoys unwanted hair!! May there be a less painful way one day 😉

  8. Always good to know, I had no idea that electrolysis has been around for that long. But it’s funny, you don’t seem to hear about it as much. From reading this though, it certainly sounds like the safer option.

    1. Laser manufacturers have huge pockets when it comes to advertising and promoting their machines for companies that lease them. Whereas most electrologists are small solo practitioners.

  9. Very informative! I was not aware of the things to consider when facing hair-removal. It is something I had never really looked much into, but the information really opened my eyes. Thank you!

  10. Wow. I 100% did not know that laser is radiation. It makes me shudder. I have had so many treatments. And of course I still have unwanted hair. Ugh. Too bad I didn’t come across this information sooner.

  11. Hello Lori. This is great information. Where are you located? I have embarrassing and unwanted hair on my breasts and on my stomach. What if this is a symptom of PCOS? If the hormone imbalance is still present how will it permanently remove hair of I get electrolysis done? Is electrolysis safe for the breast area? I have thin skin there.

    1. Hi, Stephanie – My office is located in the New York area of Queens and Long Island. The breast area can be treated safely and you will see improvement with electrolysis treatment even if you have a hormonal imbalance. If you are out of the area, a Skype, FaceTime or phone consultation can be scheduled. This will enable me to discuss your hair growth issues as well as to ask you questions that will help me to advise and guide you with recommendations. There is a small fee required to book the consultation. Please email me at for more information. 🙂 Lori

  12. I was surprised when you said that electrolysis is the only method for removing hair that’s earned the “permanent” designation from the FDA. I’ve been wanting to get an alternative hair removal treatment on my underarms before summer so I don’t have to spend the time shaving them every morning when I shower. Thanks for helping me understand some of the benefits that electrolysis treatment would provide!

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