General findings on lasers for consumers looking for information

First of all, I’m not advocating laser. It seems that results depend on many factors and variables. I’ve had a few treatments with GentleLASE, and the results are very good so far (about 90% of hair gone), but I’m not expecting them to not come back yet. I will evaluate my personal results after I’ve had all 5 treatments or so and will have waited at least 1 year. I’ll post here about those then.

However, after reading many postings on here, I feel that I need to write this to share some information on lasers that many (like me a year ago) come lookin for, and don’t find (at least not on the forum – the other areas of the site are great). Most who respond to questions here seems to be electrologists and advocate electrolysis without giving laser a chance, or even just explaining the facts of laser to consumers who come here in search of knowledge. I don’t think it’s really helping to avoid the issue and blindly send them to find an electrologist. There are several other forums, where both electrologists AND laser technicians answer questions about lasers and give recommendations based on their experiences. If anyone looking for more information is interested, check out Kitty’s website ( and and the forum.

After doing some research, you will probably find as I did that laser results vary a lot more than electrolysis from person to person, but it’s not a reason to discount it if you’re a good candidate. Because there are so many variables involved, it’s a lot more difficult to compare different patients’ results. They can depend on the machine used, skin type, hair type, tanned/non tanned, hair color, etc etc.

For example, I found that electrolysis is probably better for face (at least for women), because there are more fine hairs that can be activated instead of killed by laser based on some reports, leaving you with more hair or darker hair than you started with. Or that IPLs are not lasers even though most places that use them sell their services as such. That’s just one variable in many “personal experiences” that people post, since it seems that most people using IPLs are reporting negative results. And a lot of others that are using IPLs don’t even realize that they are not being treated with a laser and post bad experiences about lasers “in general” for others to read.

The general consensus seems to be that alexandrite and diode lasers work best on light skin and dark hair types, and darker individuals should only be using Nd: YAG lasers to avoid skin damage. Also, dark course hairs seem to react best to treatment. This is just some information that you will find by reading through various postings.

Final thought is that laser might be a much more effective solution that electrolysis for those people on whom laser actually works, so it shouldn’t be discounted. But it’s definitely important to do your research before you commit to it, both on the system used and the person performing it.

We are lucky to have people post on here, be they electrologists or laser techs. I do prefer an electrologist though because anybody can become a “laser practitioner” and electrologists tend to know what they are talking about. If we had an electrologist who also does laser, we could get the best of both worlds. With what we do have, I think it suffices to say that from James, Dee, occassionally Fino and a few more, we are blessed with incredible and understanding information. It is not the fault of this site that there is only one laser tech who posts, and does so rarely.
One thing they do not do is send people “blindly” searching for electrologists. Read most of the posts and you will find them providing a plethora of information, urging consumers to seek several electrologists (or laser for that matter) before beginning and giving tips on what to look for.
If you think this site is biased or narrow-minded, then I could only begin to wonder what you must think of and “Kitty.” Search some of the older posts on here about that site, and trust me, I’ve been there before.
Nobody “discounts” laser on here, there have been plenty of satisfied consumers post their experience as well as on the electrolysis side. This forum is completely consumer supportive, and encourages as much feedback from consumers as possible.
You are also not the only one who has done research, as this site is one ever-evolving research paper with over 6,000 authors. We owe it all to Andrea, whose initial research and initiative made it all possible.
Hopefully this issue can soon be laid to rest, I prefer the peacefulness.

I’m not trying to create issues. This was meant to just provide information. I don’t know if the tone is off, but it’s meant to just give consumers options. I’m not saying to look at one forum or another, just urging them to read everything that’s out there before making commitments and choices, whether with laser or electrolysis. Which I think is the same thing you’re saying.

You seem to have missed a few points in your research on this site.

The people who post on this site, do so willingly, and for nothing in return. Fino and I have had people flying in from around the world to see us for years. We did not need this site for that to happen. The electrologists who frequently post here do so for the good of those looking for answers, knowing that we will never meet these people, and won’t see any profit from doing such. I can’t speak for everybody, but I do this because I was lucky enough to have someone to answer all my tedious questions when I knew nothing, and I am giving back and paying it forward here.

The interesting thing is, while people on here are always clamoring for a “James” on the LASER side of the board, no LASER operator has ever seen fit to spend any large volume of time answering questions here like I do. I can only guess at the reason why that is. I have even phoned LASER operators and asked them to post a reply to just one particular question and although they tell me they will, they don’t. This was even true of a post string where a guy was seeking help buying a used professional LASER to do himself and his wife thinking that all he needed was the machine and a little help figuring out the ONE SETTING that they each needed to use. Although I personally called people who had previously posted here as LASER operators and doctors, none of them ever found the time to tell this misguided soul that what he proposed to do would be roulette with something that could fully desiccate his dermis. It is not our fault that there are not more LASER people on here, maybe that is because this site is NOT owned and operated by LASER people who religiously purge anything positive about electrolysis and minimize anything bad about LASER. We not only allow people to post negative things about electrolysis here, but we also talk about them ourselves. For the record there are so called electrologists out there who should be run out of business for their lack of speed, their lack of skill and their unwillingness to embrace the tools and techniques that would give the clients better treatment. We are happy for those who get what they want from LASER, we just make it clear that even if a person went to the same practitioner as the person who got the great result, one would not be sure to get the same result for oneself. Do you think someone should know that? I do.

The average hair removal customer is a woman and wants work done on the face. The average hair removal customer (man or woman) wants ALL visible hairs removed, not reduced. The question we answer most often on this subject of LASER vs. Electrolysis can be phrased, “What would be the surest bet to get 100% hair removal with the least post treatment tramma, and no scarring or long term pigmentation?” To that we can only answer, "Since LASER results vary so wildly, anyone looking for a sure fire repeatable safe result would be best suited for electrolysis, which, once you find a good to great practitioner, can give you an endlessly duplicatable treatment result all over your body and in an acceptable period of time.

Whereas an electrologist can consult with someone and give them a relative idea of what they are in for, and you can look at an electrologist’s other clients to see what your treatment journey will be like, looking at other customers of a LASER practice won’t tell you what your results will look like.

If an electrologist makes a mistake on the treatment setting, both of you should know about it immediately, and the setting should be changed, and only one follicle has been improperly treated. When a LASER operator makes a mistake on the setting, neither of you know this until your whole treatment area has been mistreated (abused?)

What we say here is that since no one can tell you exactly what you will get from YOUR LASER experience up front, a person who can’t afford to throw good money after bad would do better finding a good electrologist simply because if you don’t want to take the risks involved with LASER, you should not. Since most people who get LASER need an electrologist to finish the job anyway, one needs to find the best electrologist in the area, because you will need them eventually.

Lastly, if you think Kitty’s is so wonderful open minded and sharing of information, just see what happens if you mention this site over there without saying “Is totally horrible.” They even have a “web quiz” that marks you wrong if you give the answers deemed to be correct by the licensing authorities of hair removal around the world. How do you get an A? You answer all the questions so that LASER sounds like a perfect solution and electrolysis sounds like it can’t get the job done. Have you seen Cher’s face lately, or at any time in the 20th or 21st century? I think electrolysis works.

Thank you for joining us here on HairTell, we hope you find it a great place to be, and look forward to sharing with you.

I would like to say that I practice laser hair removal. I am not a “tech”, either. I am a nurse, practicing at one of the national med spa franchises. I apologize for not answering as many questions as I myself possibly could, but I have found that by the time I get to the forum, someone else has already answered the question. Sometimes its someone who practices LHR, sometimes it is an electrologist. Honestly, it is frustrating sometimes, to have someone with a subtle bias one way or the other offering up their opinion on an answer to an honest question. If you don’t know the answer, then say “I don’t know”. I have had hundreds of satisfied clients. Sure, it doesn’t work for everyone, but the way it sounds sometimes here, laser (or LASER) should never be attempted by anybody. And, in my professional opinion, that is just not the case.

Just because some one has responded doesn’t always mean the question has been answered.

Be our guest and post away.

It is no one’s intention to say that LASER never works, (although it is now a commonly accepted word, it is really an acronym, Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation and should be capitalized like SCUBA: Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus, and that is why I always capitalize it, thank you) however, just like the lasik eye surgery, a 3 minute operation you pay as much as $5,000US for, people should not go into it thinking that it is as simple as pay your money, get perfect result, and no significant number of people have problems.

When a Lasik procedure has negative results, we know about it due to the malpractice claim, or the procedure to fix the problem. We don’t have the same numbers on Hair Removal because most people don’t sue, and a practitioner offering to refund, redo, or switch to electrolysis is not documented by insurance, regulatory commissions, and such.

My point, although brochures list less than 1% negative response, Lasik has a current reported statistical incidence of 2% negative impact according to insurance stats, however when that 2% is translated into people, it becomes one in 50, over 100,000 confirmed cases and counting. Even if we go by the stat in the brochures, that still means each doctor has this problem with someone once a year or two. Would the person who just wanted to stop wearing one contact in one eye opt not to have the procedure if they knew what they may have to deal with if they are the one who has to do frequent slice and stitch procedures on their eyes? Maybe not. In the same way, most people who know enough about he subject are at least less frantic if they do find they have one of the negative side effects.

In both lasik and LASER, having the best, most experienced practitioner is no assurance that no negative impact will occur. At least in Electrolysis having the best most experienced practitioner does offer that one won’t have a face full of scars, pits or hair 5 years later.

Do us a favor and go through the LASER forum and read some stuff. If you find something you believe you can fine tune an answer to, or offer something that is not in the post string already, please add it. And if you come across the post string where the guy wants to buy a used LASER or IPL and go ineptly blasting away at his wife, please explain in gory detail why that would be downright foolish! Although I am sure he has already sent his wife and maybe himself to the emergency room, we can at least stop the next guy who finds a real one on Ebay, or the black market from repeating this error in judgment.

elfaygobaca: (that’s a great name, almost sounds like a “Star Wars” name)

I would respect your opinion on a few questions, since it sounds like you have a lot of experience with laser hair removal.

First off, I am an electrologist. I have had several clients come to me after laser was done on the face, for instance, complaining that they had more hair growing from places that were’nt a problem before it was exposed to the laser. I have also read on this forum and others,that this is a common frustration with certain clients. Have you heard this kind of complaint from any of your clients and what causes this to happen?

I do believe you when you say that you have had hundreds of laser successes because I have observed several clients that are very happy with their results, but just need to finish off with electrolysis. What areas of the body (and face) seem to do really well with laser and which areas are difficult?

One more: Is there any way that laser hair removal can disturb the adipose (fat) tissue on the face? Have you read or observed anything about this issue?

Lastly, can you post here more frequently to answer questions about laser. We have a consumer laser poster already who does a great job, but it would be of real benefit to have someone like yourself sharing your observations and viewpoint as someone who actually performs the proceedure.


OK, Dee…
I would like to start by apologizing for not putting my money where my mouth is. It totally is not fair of me to bitch about people answering questions not specifically directed at them, when I don’t get to this site nearly as often as I would like. That wasn’t professional, or polite, and I’m sorry.
In answer to your questions, the first about more hair…there are many variables concerning hair growth, etc. Yes laser can make hair darker, but in my experience, it usually makes it finer. Usually. Hormones seem to be the culprit a lot of the time for new, dark hair growth. I would ask your clients (if you feel comfortable) if they have recently started or finished menopause, or any hormome replacement therapy. That is it most of the time. I always tell my clients that the hairs that are there now will be removed, but a few years down the road is a different story. That way, they don’t feel led on or anything.

The areas that do the best are the ones with the coarse hair. Bikinis, underarms, and guys’ backs and chests. The face is tricky, as you can set the laser to treat the thicker hairs on one visit, which won’t be as effective on the finer ones, so more treatments than other areas sre necessary sometimes. I do tell my clients that electrolysis may be necessary to finish off the last hairs.

We actually use a Yag laser to help with fine lines and wrinkles on the face. This works on collagen production. The first time I heard about the laser possibly having an adverse effect on the fat reserves was on this forum. I don’t really think it is possible, as the laser is targeting melanin, not fat, but who knows? I personally have not seen or heard of this form any of my clients, but I’ll let you know.

Off topic, I got my name from my dad. I don’t know where the heck he heard it from, but I like the sound of it. I like your Star Wars complement, too. I am a huge fan (geek) of the whole franchise.

Ok, I think that’s it. I’ll be around. I’m veeeery busy, though, but I will make an honest effort to check in.

i was wondering where you’re located amy from michigan because i was thinking about getting some laser work done but i don’t know where to start…please post back and let me know and also how long have you been doing this for? thanks for your response

I am in Grand Rapids. I have been doing the laser hair removal for almost a year, but have been a nurse for longer than that. This forum is a good place to start. My advice to you would be to get comfortable with your practioner. I have not been doing this as long as some others, but this is ALL I do. I also have the benefit of a huge knowledge base of my peers that goes back 7-8 years. So, if I personally am unsure of something, I have a lot of great resources.

Hi elfaygobacca.

Thanks for answering my questions. Your input is valuable and I hope you can help out on hairtell and chime in with your observations about laser,from the practitioner side. This gets very confusing at times and it’s hard to get involved with consumer questions about laser when you’re an electrologist. I can only comment on what I have observed when ex-laser clients come to me for help. As I said before, I have seen some very happy people who just need some cleanup after laser and I have seen very depressed clients who have more hair than when they started laser treatment. I certainly don’t want to give the impression of being biased against any hair removal strategy that helps a one, I just want the cold, hard facts,and your comments have helped.

Take care and hope to see you posting in the future.


Hi All,

First off, I am a male who had excellent results with laser on my back and legs.

I had less than excellent results in the pubic area. I have been getting that area cleaned up with electrology for a little over a year now and am very satisfied with the results. After we finish there, I am going to have her touch up the little regrowth I have had on my back and abdomen.

Lastly, off topic, Elfego Baca was an old west lawman who tangled with Pancho Villa. Disney made a TV show called “The Nine Lives of Elfego Baca”. (That was how I recognized the name, by the way!)

hey dhfey i was wondering how you were talking about how you’ve had some very happy customers…were any of them olive colored with fine black hair on the body (lower back) i know it doesn’t mean that i would have the same results but i was just wondering…thanks and thanks to elfbangefy for answering my other question both are very much appreciated!

Have you had the hair removed from your underarms yet. If so how do you like the smooth feeling? If you haven’t had it removed, I think it should be your next project. I rate it as more enjoyable than any area I have had worked on.

No,eroca, the laser clients that I have seen that were very happy with their results had their underarms and arms done with laser, not the lower back. Sorry I can’t say what kind of results one would get on the lower back.


I haven’t done my underarms. In fact, the only hair I left was my arms, my underarms and my chest. I shaved my chest once to see what it would look like and I didn’t like it. I think you need to have a little more definition than I do to make that look good. So I kept my chest hair just above my navel. I did have the area around the collarbone done though, because I hated that tuft of hair sticking out of my shirt.

It’s funny that you mention underarms because a buddy of mine had his removed and he likes it a lot. I was worried because when I perspire, there would be nothing there to catch the sweat. Of course, the funny thing about that is, probably 90% of women already shave their underarms and they don’t have a problem with perspiration.

I think there is a correlation between hair under the arm and perspiration. Not a scientific fact, just a postulation. James and RJC2001 could perhaps help us out on this issue.

I think there is a correlation between hair under the arm and perspiration. Not a scientific fact, just a postulation. James and RJC2001 could perhaps help us out on this issue.

When the armpit hair is gone, you sweat a lot less. And the sweat that you do have will evaporate more quickly. I first shaved my armpits to eliminate perspiration stains on my shirts, and it was 100% effective.

Having electrolysis on the armpits is even better than shaving. The feeling is incredible. I never would have believed it until I tried it!


Wow! Thanks for the info. Now I will have to consider doing the armpits.

laser works really great on underarms as well since the hair is coarse. i’m having great results there.