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  1. #1
    Iron Maiden fidelia's Avatar
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    Default Electrolysis vs Laser

    I'm curious what your experiences are with either or both. What's reasonable to expect for cost, how can you ensure the place is reputable and has up-to-date equipment, etc? For the record I have very pale skin and quite dark hair.

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    Iron Maiden fidelia's Avatar
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    No takers? Really? Jennifer, you know something about this, don't you? Help me!

  3. #3
    nee andante bechimo's Avatar
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    Haven't had either done because I'm a chicken but what I know of it, electrolysis is permanent and laser is not. But laser is cheaper and much, much faster. My mother has had electrolysis on her underarms and legs and said it was expensive, slow and painful. One treatment doesn't do it but the same holds true for laser. She had it done over 30 years ago and hasn't had any regrowth. My understanding is that for some people, it does sometimes grow back a little and you have to go back.

    Here's a chart I googled, about the different types of laser hair removal. Hope it helps.

    http://www.laserhairremovalreview.com/comparison.html

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    Iron Maiden fidelia's Avatar
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    I've looked up a lot of that stuff. There are a kajillion kinds of lasers though, depending on what the laser clinic can afford and what type of skin you have. Some laser places have lasers that are not that effective, yet they charge the same price. Laser, while not guaranteed to be permanent, will thin the hairs and reduce their visibility even if they do grow back to some extent. It is much more expensive per hour, but less treatments are needed than with electrolysis. For both, you have to go back on an ongoing basis because the hairs may be in different phases of growth. Electrolysis is less painful than it once was and there are good numbing creams out there. However, I'm not sure if one person is as good as the next, or if there's a wide variety of skill in practitioners as well as equipment or not. Both also require you to shave the hairs, rather than pluck them in between treatments, which does make them more visible.

    So what I'm wondering is:
    How do you tell what kind of laser they should be using and what price they should be charging?
    Has anyone personally undergone either or both and what were their experiences?
    Is burned skin ever a problem with laser?
    How do you check the credentials of the practitioner for either type of treatment?

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    Iron Maiden fidelia's Avatar
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    Wait, just read the chart - I liked it that they said what kinds of lasers AND what names those lasers go by. From the looks of it I wonder why you'd choose any option other than that first one if you were doing it. Maybe there's a money difference. It looks like there's less pain and a longer period of time it lasts for (or at least more data about that). Thanks, lady!!!

  6. #6
    nee andante bechimo's Avatar
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    If you click on Analysis in the left-hand nav bar, you'll find more information about each type of laser.

  7. #7
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fidelia View Post
    No takers? Really? Jennifer, you know something about this, don't you? Help me!

    Laser:
    Only works for darker hair because it operates by the hairs absorbing the heat energy and the follicles being killed.
    So if your hair is blonde or gray, any laser strong enough to kill the follicle will also damage your skin.
    The same happens for most styles of laser if you have dark/deeply tanned/black skin.

    Cost depends on both area covered in the session.
    Doing a small area is cheaper than a large area.
    You can usually get "package deals" that could save you a few hundred dollars, if you are willing to shell out a chunk of money up front.
    I got five sessions for $1280.
    I also had an upper lip for $150.

    Because you're flash-frying/zapping areas of skin, you can probably expect some degree of immediate welting/reddening. You can use topical creams to numb pain (EMLA), among other things. Different lasers cause different pains; some feel hot, some feel cold. One type of YAG laser feels like a rubber band thwacking your skin. I found the scorchers (like the Alexandrite) to burn burn burn and hurt immediately; the YAG (with the rubber-band effect) didn't hurt at first but the accumulated zapping ended up hurting just as bad at the end. But some people do not complain as much about pain.

    The big thing to note about hair is that it grows in waves. You kill one wave, the next will still come in... making it look like nothing changed. But that is not necessarily true. You will need to kill off 5-6 waves of hair before it cycles back through. After three sessions or so, you should notice some hair lessening or disappearance, depending on how much hair you had in the area to begin with. (And I think this is more noticeable for men doing, for example, their back or stomach, since the hair there started out much thicker than with the typical woman.)

    Electrolysis:
    Hairs are zapped one by one by sticking a probe/needle into the follicle.
    Disadvantage: Takes a long time.
    Advantage: Can kill any color hair.

    Rates depend on location, since competition will drive down the price. If you can get a price for $40-50/hour, though, you should consider yourself fortunate and doing well. In my time, I have paid anywhere from $55-$125/hour for electro, since I had very few qualified individuals in my general area. Some people will drive an hour or two for electro, depending on the skill of the electrologist and their location.

    Again, you can use EMLA, vicodins/percocet, and even novacaine shots to deaden pain.

    Since success for both laser and electro depends on the skill of the technician, it is hard to rate one factor as conclusive. IOW, if you find someone who is cheap, this doesn't mean you wouldn't be better off paying more to someone who is (1) faster and/or (2) more skillful at killing hairs dead on the first try.


    My recommendation is to use laser (if you have light skin and dark hair) for wide areas that need hair removal, and use electro for 'spot' areas. Like ear hair, nose hair, upper lip hair, stray eyebrow hairs you know aren't part of your normal browline, unibrows, hairs coming out of moles, and whatever else.


    So what I'm wondering is:
    How do you tell what kind of laser they should be using and what price they should be charging?
    Hopefully the pricing scheme I mentioned above should give you some ballpark figures. I recommend searching in your area for technicians, comparing figures, and seeing which ones seem about the same and which ones are either far lower or far higher.

    Has anyone personally undergone either or both and what were their experiences?
    Laser burned the crap out of me but was extremely effective. I heal fast, and my welts would only last about two hours before subsiding. I know other people whose redness lingered hours or even a few days. Electro hurts me just as bad but just leaves little red bumps that subside after a day or two. Electro was extremely effective for me as well.

    Again, I think it's a matter of getting a sense of the person's skill and feeling out if they know what they are doing. If you can talk to other patients, that's good too.

    Is burned skin ever a problem with laser?
    See above. Welts/redness are common. You CAN really screw yourself up if your technician is clueless. People HAVE been horribly burned, but obviously that doesn't happen a lot especially with techs who have been around. The people in worst danger are those with darker skin and/or lighter hair; optimal coloration is dark hair and white skin. It's recommended not to have a tan when you go in, and to keep hydrated and use lots of lotion afterward (w/ sunblock) and stay out of the sun.

    How do you check the credentials of the practitioner for either type of treatment?
    I'm not sure about that one. I would skim their credential list, and I'd look at the type of setup they have. Lasers cost a lot of money. Usually they have to be a well-funded operation to start with in order to even pay for the laser upfront before getting business. So you'll often find the laser techs as part of a bigger operation that funds them. The dermatologist thus ends up being liable for everything.

    Electrologists can be more "fly by night" and some work out of their own private residences. That's more of a "word of mouth" thing, to me. You can go in, usually they do a small sample area and then let you decide whether you want to come back; they're testing to see how your skin responds to the treatment.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

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  8. #8
    Iron Maiden fidelia's Avatar
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    Thanks both of you ladies! There are about three places in the next biggest centre that do laser. I think I'd prefer to start there if I can, just because it covers more area. My main problem is that there is a big contrast between my hair and skin colour, so it shows up much more than someone who has the same hair which is blonde. I would like to get my upper lip and jaw/throat done and I'd be pleased if it just thinned the hair and made it less noticeable. I've tweezed those areas for abou 20 years and I am sick of dealing with ingrown hairs and also think I've become a little obsessive about having tweezers everywhere. When the hairs grow back in, before they've grown out of the surface of the skin, you can still see a little dark spot and I don't like it.

    It appears that most places have a package of sessions that they require you to buy up front. In my case, I would expect that I'd need at least six sessions so that is not the end of the world. There's a clinic in my town, but the people there are very inexperienced. They did a small test patch and it burned my skin. One of the clinics in the city seems to be staffed solely by new immigrants, which isn't necessarily bad, but does make me wonder a little bit. Another one has very little information on their website, so I need to do some phoning.

    Thanks so much for your help and advice!

  9. #9
    reborn PeaceBaby's Avatar
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    Have you looked at any at-home options, Tria or Viss for example? For your coloration, they may do the trick. BUT, there are positive and negative reviews for both, and I don't own either, so I can't give you any first-hand feedback. I have been tempted to try them though ... maybe someone else here on the forum has experience with one or the other and could share.
    "Remember always that you not only have the right to be an individual, you have an obligation to be one."
    Eleanor Roosevelt


    "When people see some things as beautiful,
    other things become ugly.
    When people see some things as good,
    other things become bad."
    Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

  10. #10
    Iron Maiden fidelia's Avatar
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    I've never even heard of them. What are they? The only at home lasers I've ever encountered have been those kind that are supposed to zap your acne. Where have you encountered info about them?

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