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The History of Laser Hair Removal: Did You Know?

Laser hair removal has been around since the latter part of the 1990s. People are constantly searching for convenient hair removal methods and devices. Inventors come up with ideas and implement them through trial and error.

Nowadays, it is possible to do some form of laser hair removal at home. This has now become quite popular, more cost effective, and very convenient.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved laser hair removal for permanent hair reduction. This means that the number of hairs in a treated area are reduced, but all hairs are not permanently removed.

Hair Removal Devices

What is Laser Hair Removal? How Does It Work?

In this article, The History of Laser Hair Removal, you will get answers to some frequently asked questions.

Pulses of light are used to destroy the hair follicle by way of a laser.

Laser hair removal targets dark pigments in the hair follicle. With earlier inventions, melanin in the skin was also being targeted; hence, this method was not performed on people with dark skin. Improvements have been made with newer inventions.

Laser-Friendly Skin
Laser-friendly Black Skin

Now skin color is not an issue; however, the laser light is unable to detect gray, white, or red hairs. These cannot be treated unless by more advanced lasers.

Hair that is in the first of the three cycles, anagen, catagen, and telogen, is what will be affected by this treatment method. The hairs will not fall out immediately. It will take approximately five days and up to a few weeks. They should be left to fall out on their own; otherwise, there may be consequences.

Also, the hair forced out would be considered tweezed instead. This would be counterproductive to the whole laser experience.

Best results are achieved by a knowledgeable laser hair removal specialist. A thorough consultation needs to be done to determine ethnicity, medical conditions, causes of excessive hair growth where applicable, nutrition, and many other factors.

Client Consultation Before Treatment

Some important tips are …

  • Avoid sun exposure and tanning machines 24 to 48 hours prior to treatment.
  • Avoid caffeine 24 hours prior to treatment.
  • Shave the area to be treated a day before your appointment.
  • Be honest about ethnicity and medical conditions.

There may be some level of discomfort during treatment. Topical creams may be applied; however, this has to be done in a small area at a time. It is dangerous to apply in large areas of the skin.

Goggles are worn while the laser is turned on and during treatment. The laser beam can penetrate the eyes causing permanent damage.

Did you know that there is a difference between permanent hair reduction and permanent hair removal?

Are There Different Types of Lasers?

Some lasers are …

  • Ruby: This was the first one used in 1960 for pale skin only.
  • Alexandrite: This later development can be used on all skin types.
  • Diode: This is used for pale to medium skin.
  • Nd:Yag: Finally, dark skin can be effectively treated with this laser’s invention.

These all used different wavelengths and light sources. The ruby has the shortest wavelength and the Nd:Yag the longest. Light sources are red, near-infrared, and infrared.

Intense Pulsed Light (IPL), which is generally associated with and mistaken for laser, is not a laser. Its wavelength is shorter than the ruby, and it also uses infrared light. It treats pale to medium skin.

Did you know that Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) is not a laser?

How Does Laser Hair Removal Compare to Other Methods?

Let’s look at the most popular methods of hair removal …

  • Electrolysis: Laser is a newer and faster invention than electrolysis. It is best compared to the blend method, which is the most effective of the three (galvanic, thermolysis, and blend). While electrolysis uses electricity to destroy hair follicles, laser uses light pulses.
  • Waxing: The results are more long term than waxing. Waxing does not destroy hair follicles.
  • Tweezing (Plucking): The results are more long term than tweezing, which does not destroy hair follicles.
  • Shaving: Laser is definitely more long term than shaving. However, shaving is recommended above waxing and tweezing. It is the least stimulating to the production of hair. When hair is pulled up by the root, a nourishing supply of blood is rushed to the injured site.

Did you know that sugaring is an effective method of hair removal similar to waxing?

Sugaring Hair Removal

Pros and Cons

There are things to take into consideration before making a decision if laser hair removal is right for you …


  • Treatment is relatively fast.
  • The number of hairs in a treated area will be reduced after follow-up treatments.
  • It is cost-effective over time.


  • There may be side effects such as itching, redness, crust, hypo- or hyper pigmentation.
  • Several treatments will be necessary to be effective.
  • It is expensive.

Some side effects may be minimized by following pre- and post-care advice.

When it comes to making a decision, make sure you ask as many questions as you like. Don’t shy away from that. The more informed you are, the better decision maker you will be.

Did you know that possible side effects may be minimized?

Wrap It Up

So hair’s the thing: Laser hair removal is a relatively new invention. Improvements have been made to include all skin colors as the earlier lasers were restricted to pale skin only.

There are several at-home laser devices on the market. This allows customers a more convenient and cost-effective opportunity to treat their problematic hair concerns.

The FDA has approved laser hair removal for permanent hair reduction.

Laser light is unable to detect gray, white, or red hairs, although more advanced lasers claim to do that. The different types of lasers are used for pale, medium, and dark skin color.

Remember, also, that an Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) is not a laser.

We looked at how laser hair removal compares to other hair removal methods: electrolysis, waxing, tweezing, and shaving. Ask questions and research to become wiser at making a choice.

I hope this short article, The History of Laser Hair Removal, has helped you in some way. There is a vast amount of information on the subject and related matter. This is just an introduction especially for those who are at a loss and need to be pointed in the right direction.

Feel free to leave your question and comments below. I will do my best to address them.

(As an Amazon Associate, I earn on qualifying purchases.)

The History of Electrolysis: Did You Know?

Electrolysis has been around for more than 140 years. This article will briefly address the history of electrolysis so you will have a better understanding of its origin, application, and purpose.

Hopefully, in the end, you can consider if this is the solution for your hair removal concerns.

What Is Electrolysis? How Does It Work?

Does it involve electricity? How safe is it? Does it really work? These are common questions which will be answered as we take a look at the history of electrolysis.

Sometimes an invention may be intended for one thing but turn out to have more far-reaching benefits. This is the case with electrolysis. In 1875, a St. Louis, Missouri, ophthalmologist, Dr. Charles E. Michel, came up with a solution to remove painful ingrown eyelashes. He successfully used this for his patients.

Since then there has been different modalities and other technological improvements. The Federal Drug and Administration (FDA) has approved electrolysis for permanent hair removal.

In short, an equipment having positive and negative polarities, a probe (very fine needle), which is connected to the negative pole is used. The probe is inserted into each hair follicle during treatment. The base of the follicle is moist containing a solution of salt and water.

Electrolysis Machine Showing Probe, Timer & Heat Settings

There are different modalities or methods used …

  1. Galvanic: The application of DC (direct current) to produce lye in the hair follicle. Lye destroys the origin from which hair grows, preventing it from producing more hair; hence, the permanent removal. Moisture at the base of the hair follicle allows this to take place.
  2. Thermolysis: High-frequency current also destroy the source of hair generation. It is the destruction of tissue by heat, and is faster than the galvanic method.
  3. The Blend: A combination of the other two modalities for greater effectiveness in some cases; for example, coarser hair and curved follicles. The galvanic does a more thorough job while thermolysis is faster.

Each modality achieves the same end result. Together, it is possible to successfully treat just about every problem presented. The decision to use one or the other depends on …

  • The comfort of the client.
  • The area of the body and the type of hair being treated.
  • The duration of the treatment.

As you can see, electricity is involved in the Galvanic and blend modalities.

Electrolysis Uses Electricity.

Safety is a primary requirement when you place yourself in the hands of a trusted, professional electrologist.

It will take several treatments for long-term results to be seen. The elimination of hair will be evident after each treatment. This will not determine its effectiveness because of the hair cycle. The three stages are …

  1. Anagen: A shaft of hair is born and ascends towards the skin surface. It breaks through and gets ready for the next stage.
  2. Catagen: The hair begins to separate from its root and pushes further up.
  3. Telogen: The final stage of the cycle. The hair is totally detached and ceases to grow. It dies.

Picture this: One of the methods is used to treat hair follicle. The hair that is visible above the surface is successfully epilated, not tweezed. The source is destroyed and will no longer be able to produce hair; however, hair could still surface from that follicle. Here’s how …

… A hair that has already been born is still in the follicle. It will eventually come to the surface. There may also be hairs that were previously broken off or are in the final cycle making their way up.

It may appear as though hair continues to grow from the follicle. This is why it is assumed by some that electrolysis is not effective, but it is not so. In the above example, it is impossible for hair to regenerate from follicles treated effectively, where the root is permanently destroyed.

The result of electrolysis is evident after several follow-up treatments. Everyone’s case is different, so it is best to let your electrologist give you an estimated treatment plan after a thorough consultation.

Did you know that lye is formed as a result of a chemical action by applying electricity to a salt water solution? That’s a mouthful!

How Widespread Is It?

People from all continents are exposed to different methods of hair removal including electrolysis. One important factor when doing a client’s consultation is to ascertain their ethnicity. This is critical for laser hair removal.

The reason is that different skin color, hair types and color will react differently to each method and application.

Bear in mind, however, that all skin and hair types are treated with electrolysis.

Electrolysis Treats All Skin Color

Did you know that your ethnicity was something to take into consideration before electrolysis or laser hair removal treatment?

Who Is A Candidate?

Electrolysis may be performed on the following …

  • Someone who is affected by hirsutism, superfluous hair growth. Get a diagnosis of the problem from an endocrinologist first. Hormone imbalance is a contributing factor. It is best to address that medical problem in addition to dealing with the outward appearance.
  • Someone who has gray, white, or red hairs that cannot be treated by normal laser. The laser light is unable to detect these hairs.
  • Someone, male or female, who wants to remove hair from any part of the body for whatever reason.

Did you know that men, as well as women, may be bothered by hair in different parts of the body?

Pros and Cons

Everyone will not have the same opinion or experience. There are several things to consider before deciding on a treatment plan.


  • It works regardless of the hair growth cycle.
  • It permanently removes hair once the genesis of hair formation is destroyed.
  • It has an advantage over laser hair removal, which will not work for gray, white, or red hair.
  • Overtime the cost may be one of the least expensive.


  • There may be scarring and pigmentation in some cases.
  • It will take several treatments to be effective.
  • It is expensive.

Laser hair removal is on the rise, but sometimes it is necessary to combine both especially where laser is ineffective.

Another thing worth mentioning is that electrolysis is the only medically approved method of permanent hair removal. Some practicing laser hair removal tend to put electrolysis in the light of nonpermanency while stressing laser as permanent. Laser may be a quicker method.

Did you know that laser cannot “see” gray, white, or red hairs?

Wrap It Up

So here’s the thing: In this article, The History of Electrolysis, we see that it has survived for over 140 years. The inventor and other pioneers left a legacy that has been improved on over time.

Electrolysis uses electricity, is safe in the hands of an experienced and professional electrologist, and works effectively. The three modalities used are galvanic, thermolysis, and blend. Together, they provide a solution for every hair removal problem.

Every continent has practiced this method of hair removal among others. It is important to know a client’s ethnicity, which is especially critical for laser hair removal. This should be determined during a thorough consultation.

Everyone MAY be a candidate for electrolysis.

Despite its effectiveness in permanently removing hair, it has its down side. Take everything into consideration before making a decision.

Did you know that all hope is not lost, and you can find the help you need?

Unblemished Skin

I hope this short article has helped you in some way. There is a vast amount of information on the subject and related matter. This is just an introduction especially for those who are at a loss and need to be pointed in the right direction.

Feel free to leave your questions and comments below. I will do my best to address them.

As an Amazon Associate, I earn on qualifying purchases.)