The Pros & Cons Of 3 Permanent Hair Removal Methods: IPL, Laser & Electrolysis

The Pros & Cons Of 3 Permanent Hair Removal Methods: IPL, Laser & Electrolysis

ByKarmen on 30 Jul 2020 Digital Editor

Body hair is a natural thing for women and men, and it's perfectly fine to let it grow free and prosper!✌️ But for those who prefer a more hair-free look, constantly having to shave, pluck, wax or epilate can be a chore.

One day, you might just go "arghhhh!" and look for a way to permanently get rid of your body hair once and for all. If that day ever comes, you can always click back to this article!

There are three main permanent hair removal methods: laser, IPL and electrolysis. All three options are pricey so it's best if you're familiar with all three before you make a decision.

Keep reading to find out the pros and cons of these three permanent hair removal methods! 

#1 Laser hair removal

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During laser hair removal, light energy is absorbed by pigmented areas high in melamin such as hair. This causes heat which damages the hair follicle, slowing hair growth and even preventing it completely.

What makes laser different from IPL is that it uses actual laser technology that targets small, specific areas, focusing light into the pores of the skin and getting closer to the follicle to cause damage and stop hair growth.

This means that results are much quicker with laser hair removal and you may need fewer treatments of laser hair removal than IPL to achieve the same results. Laser hair removal is also more suitable for people with tanned or medium-dark skin compared to IPL. As the lasers are more focused, it greatly reduces the risk of burning.

Laser removal usually takes 4-6 sessions to significantly remove hair and could require more to completely remove all hair.

The cons of laser hair removal are that it's generally more expensive and painful than IPL. The single, more pointed beam of light can cause pain much like a hot rubber band snapping against your skin.

Pain level: 2
Price: $$
Effectiveness: ✅ ✅
Suitable for: Light to tanned skin + dark hair

#2 IPL hair removal

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IPL (intense pulsed light) and laser hair removal are sometimes thought to be the same thing. While there are many similarities, they are two separate types of treatments.


IPL is actually not a laser but uses a broad spectrum of visible light wavelength that spreads out on a skin area. This lights works similarly to laser hair removal, damaging hair cells so it stops growing.

Prices vary according to clinics but in general, IPL is the more affordable option. It's also the least painful! There is a mild heat sensation that disappears quickly and most people don't experience any redness or discomfort. Each IPL session is faster than laser hair removal sessions as it covers a larger area at once.

On the downside, IPL is less effective than laser hair removal. It can be difficult to remove 100% of hair and will require 8-10 sessions or even more depending on the individual. It's also only recommended for people with fair skin with dark hair as it may cause burns on darker skin. As the light spreads out, it is absorbed at different depths of your skin and hair removal may be more uneven.

It can give the same results as laser treatments as long as you follow the treatment appointment schedule.

Pain level: 1
Price: $
Effectiveness: ✅
Suitable for: Light skin + dark hair

#3 Electrolysis hair removal

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In electrolysis hair removal, shortwave radio frequencies are distributed through fine needles which are placed directly into your hair follicles. This destroys the hair follicle so that it doesn't stimulate new hair growth.

The main plus of electrolysis is that it produces more permanent results than laser and IPL. It also works on all skin and hair colours. The procedure is also the quickest, needing the least amount of sessions.

The bad news is, this is the most painful option for most and is often described as a stinging or pricking sensation. It may cause redness and skin irritation but most consider it to be bearable. Electrolysis is also usually the most expensive option out of the three.

Pain level: 3
Price: $$$
Effectiveness: ✅  ✅  ✅
Suitable for: All skin and hair colours

Do note that this is a general comparison. The level of discomfort depends on the individual, prices may be higher or lower depending on the clinic you visit and the effectiveness will vary according to your skin colour and hair colour. Whichever type of permanent hair treatment you decide to go for, make sure you do your research beforehand and choose a licensed clinic. 👍

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Text by: GirlStyle SG

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