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Laser, IPL, Electrolysis, or Wax: How to Choose?

By Viktoria
July 18, 2023
7 minutes

Are you looking for the best method for hair removal according to your skin tone and hair type? Is waxing suitable enough for you or should you try Laser? Well, all this confusion gets you nowhere.

So, in this article, we will discuss the benefits and side effects of these two. We will also make a comparison of IPL, and electrolysis relative to laser and waxing. In this way, you can make your decision quickly and easily.

Laser Hair Removal, its Advantages, and Disadvantages

Laser hair removal reduces hair growth by targeting the hair follicles and damaging them completely. It is a very popular hair removal method. Let’s see what benefits it can provide you.

Advantages

  • Long-Lasting: In laser hair removal, your hair follicles are targeted in different growth phases in multiple sessions. This makes sure that they are damaged thoroughly thus stopping hair growth for months and even up to years.

  • Prevents In-grown hair: Unlike most hair removal methods, laser hair removal prevents ingrown hair making sure that you do not suffer from many side effects after the procedure.

  • Works on every skin type: Laser hair removal works best on light skin but with the advancement, there are lasers available now which can treat darker skin types too.

  • Precise: Lasers are absorbed by pigments in your hair follicles. It means it only removes hair while leaving the surrounding skin unharmed.

Disadvantages

  • Painful: Lasers are not completely pain-free. They might hurt especially while treating sensitive areas like underarms or bikini areas.

  • Costly: Laser hair removal costs about $100-$1600 per treatment session. To know in detail, click How Much Does Laser Hair Removal Cost?

  • Hectic: Going for sessions again and again, getting through the pain is already hectic. Additionally, it also requires lots of precautions before, during, and after the treatment. For example, you can’t go in the sun, and you can’t apply makeup with chemicals so this all might irritate you as it takes time in completing the treatment.

What is IPL, Its Advantages, and Disadvantages

IPL hair removal uses impulse pulsating light to target your hair follicles thus decreasing hair regrowth and smooth skin for a long time. There are at-home IPL devices available and you can go to clinics for treatment as well. Let’s see how is it good for you.

Advantages

  • Pain-free: IPL hair removal uses a gentle and broader beam of light as compared to laser. So, it is minimally painful. Also, some at-home IPL devices use cooling technology to make sure you don’t even feel the minimum pain.

  • Convenient: IPL hair removal is more convenient than laser. It is the least painful, with minimum side effects so you can take it easy.

  • No-ingrown hair: Similar to laser hair removal, IPL also eradicates the hair from its roots minimizing the risk of ingrown hair.

  • Safe: IPL hair removal is a clinically-prove safe method. Moreover, the IPL hair removal devices that you can use at your home are also FDA-approved.

Disadvantages

  • Not for all skin and hair types: IPL works by targeting the melanin pigment in your hair follicles. So, it is effective only if you have darker hair with lighter skin. Those with blonde/grey hair cannot benefit from IPL.

  • Expensive: Just like laser hair removal, IPL treatment at clinics also requires sessions per session of $50-$500. So, altogether you might find it expensive. At-home IPL hair removal devices usually cost less. To buy one for you, check out the 10 Best IPL Hair Removal Machines.

Electrolysis, Its Advantages, and Disadvantages

Electrolysis is an ancient method first used to get rid of ingrown hair on eyelashes. Now, it is applicable to all parts of your body. This method uses an electric current that flows down to the root of hair follicles damaging the roots.

Advantages

  • Permanent: Electrolysis is the only permanent method that is approved by FDA. The electric current flowing through metallic wire damage the roots entirely. This causes hair to fall out and no more hair grows any further.

  • Treats Ingrown Hair: Electrolysis started from the treatment of ingrown hair or eyelashes. This means it can not only remove the normal unwanted hair but also gets rid of ingrown hair.

  • Ideal for All Skin Types: Electrolysis works independently of your skin or hair pigments. So, anyone can undergo this hair removal treatment.

Disadvantages

  • Painful: Electrolysis uses a current which burns out the hair follicles. This burning causes a sensation of extreme pain and discomfort. Inserting a needle, using tweezers makes it even more inconvenient.

  • Time-taking: In electrolysis, the practitioner inserts needles one by one in each hair follicle and there are hundreds of hair on your body. Imagine how much time it is going to take for treating even the small areas.

  • Requires Skilled Practitioner: Electrolysis is already painful and if a person inserts the wrong needle, it is going to hurt even more. So, you cannot just go anywhere without any research for your treatment.

Waxing, its Advantages, and Disadvantages

Waxing is a hair removal method we all know about. You take a wax, apply it to your body, and remove it using wax strips. There are hot waxes as well as cold waxes easily available in the market.

Advantages

Quick: If we talk about time, waxing is very quick. You don’t have to wait much and do not even require to take any specific measurements. Just 5-10 minutes of your time can give you a glass of skin.

Easy: You don’t need to be highly skilled in waxing. Just follow the instructions written on the wax jar and you are done with perfect hair removal. A tip is to remove the wax in the opposite direction of hair growth to get the best results.

Inexpensive: Waxing doesn’t cost much. You can get a full body wax for up to $200 dollars from salons while at-home waxing costs about $15-$75 that can last for more than a month.

Disadvantages

Painful: Wax pulls your hair instead of removing them gently. So, it is going to be a painful experience for you.

Ingrown hair: When you wax without the right technique, your hair strands might fold back into your skin leading to ingrown hair. This further causes pain, itchiness, and redness.

Short-term: Waxin only removes the hair while roots and hair follicles remain undamaged. So, your new hair grows in a short time which means you need to wax at least 1-2 times a month.

Laser, IPL, Electrolysis, or Wax: How to Choose

After having an overview of all the hair removal procedures, you must have made your decision. In this session, we will compare some aspects to make sure that your decision is right.

1. Cost

IPL hair removal can cost up to $500 while laser costs up to $1600 per session and they both last for a long time. On the other hand, Electrolysis can cost up to $200 per session but as it requires more sessions so you can expect a total of up to $10,000 for larger areas upon completing the treatment.

Waxing is inexpensive but in the long run, it can also cost up to $10,000 or more for your whole life. So, IPL hair removal is the least expensive one with more benefits and long-lasting results.

2. Treatment Area

Your decision can vary depending upon the area you are getting treated. For example, electrolysis is suitable for small areas like the chin and eyebrows as it is time. Waxing is the quickest for removing your leg hair but it can be more painful for the underarms and bikini area.

So, you can go for IPL hair removal for treating the sensitive areas of your body as it is the least painful.

3. Skin tone

All the new hair removal methods highly depend upon your skin tone. While IPL seems to be perfect in every way, it does not work well for darker skin as there is a risk of more absorption of light which means more heat and skin burns.

Lasers can work for all skin tones but lighter skin tone shows the best results. Waxing and electrolysis work effectively for all skin tones.

4. Hair Color

Just like your skin tone, hair color also affects the efficiency of the treatment method. For instance, Laser and IPL work best for darker hair. They have different layers for light hair colors but in the case of IPL, there are almost no machines that can work for blonde hair.

Waxing and electrolysis are independent of hair color, so those with darker hair can go for either of these two.

5. Effectiveness

Another factor that greatly contributes to your decision is the effectiveness of all these procedures. If you want permanent hair removal, go for electrolysis. Laser and IPL lasts for months to years. So, if you want long-time hair with smooth skin without pain, you can just choose between these two.

But there are times when you can’t sit at home just to save yourself from the sun, or can’t spare enough time to go for sessions regularly. You can just try waxing at times like these until you are ready to try the permanent hair removal methods.

6. Side Effects

Waxing has the most side effects with pain, ingrown hair, and even folliculitis. As your skin gets damaged, it is more prone to infections too. The laser can cause discomfort, pigmentary changes, redness, or swelling. Similarly, electrolysis can cause redness and swelling but if anything gets wrong it can cause scarring too.

IPL has the least side effects like redness or itchiness but they are temporary and you will be fine after a short time.

Conclusion

Waxing, Laser hair removal, IPL, and electrolysis are one of the most useful hair removal methods. Waxing is inexpensive and easy but can cause ingrown hair, redness, swelling, and pain. Laser hair removal is expensive but it can save you from the trouble of frequent hair removal, and ingrown hair. IPL is also the least painful, and convenient but can be a little expensive. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages. So, you can choose between any of these three depending on your requirements. But, if you want permanent hair removal, then electrolysis is the ultimate solution.

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