Laser or Electrolysis???

Hi there…

   I have been suffering for some time now with hair removal options.  I actually took to shaving my arms when it got to the point that I wouldn't raise my hand in class if I was wearing a short sleeve shirt for fear that everyone would be staring at my arms.  Regarding the bikini area, unfortunately, I can't shave there as the result is horribly painful ingrown hairs and a 1-inch span of red bumps along the upper-thigh.  I have dark hair for approx. a 2-inch span across the top of each upper-thigh - it got this bad after 16 and has remained so ever since so that I can never wear a bathing suit - I always have to wear a wrap or board shorts.  It is at the point that when I saw 60s style bathing suits (like in James Bond) with the belt and all I bought one in every color, because they actually covered the area enough so no hair was visible, but these are rarely carried in stores so I don't hold hope for finding/relying on them.  I just can't deal with it anymore - I only wear the 'boy-short' underwear so I don't have to see any hairs 'sticking out' when I get undressed or try things on in a store. I'm not looking to be bare, just normal/natural. 

    But I have tried shaving, waxing and many creams and before I pour any more money (currently paying for a Master's degree) into it I want to be sure that I will get results.  So for the bikini area does anyone have a preference for laser vs. electrolysis or does one give better results than the other?  I have light skin, with dark hair and I burn, then tan to medium brown (Italian/Irish blend).  If anyone can help or refer me to somewhere in the NY area for consultation/advice I would appreciate it.  Thanks so much!

Bikini is one of the most effective areas to get treated by laser. I had similar issues and am very happy I did it. No issues wearing whatever I want now and any bathing suit I feel like. Laser is definitely the best option for you with your skin and hair type. Find a good reputable clinic with either an alexandrite or a diode laser. In NYC, there is Romeo&Juliet that’s recommended, but there are also other clinics that are good. You can type in " NYC" or “new york” into the search field and you will find maybe recommendations on this and other forums like this.

if you want to read about my experience about bikini hair removal with laser, look up my posts.

Oh, that’s great news and I am glad to hear it worked so well for you. Thank you very much lagirl, I will definitely look at your posts and check out R&J.

  • I did read through the post on insurance and electrolysis…any chance that laser procedures can be covered? I have growth on the back of my hand, fingers, toes, abdomen and several other areas not typical for women…but is this considered unlucky genetics or hirsutism?

Because of the FDA definition of Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation as only “Long Term Hair Reduction” also allowed by agrement to be called “Permanent Hair Reduction” so they can get the word permanent in there somewhere, insurance companies do not have to pay for LASER treatments because there is no proof that it works as an end all be all solution to the problem of Permanent Hair Removal.

Richard Felten is currently the FDA regulator responsible for lasers and light-based devices used for epilation. He recently supplied me with FDA’s definition:

“Permanent hair reduction is defined as the long-term, stable reduction in the number of hairs regrowing after a treatment regime. The number of hairs regrowing must be stable over a time greater than the duration of the complete growth cycle of hair follicles, which varies from 4-12 months according to body location. Permanent hair reduction does not necessarily imply the elimination of all hairs in the treatment area.”

FDA also required Palomar to put the MGH data into table form, which gives a better picture of the actual results:

Study 1 [6, 8]

Findings: 13 “ideal” subjects (light skin and dark hair)

69% were not observed to have permanent hair reduction. Four of these did not complete the study for unspecified reasons.
31% were observed to have from 42% to 60% reduction in terminal hairs after two years after 1 treatment.
Permanent hair reduction was not typical in this study.
Study 2 [unpublished]

Findings: 50 “ideal” subjects

54% of those treated at 30 J/cm2 or higher were observed to have 0% to 10% reduction in terminal hairs 12 months after 2 treatments.
27% did not respond to two treatments.
Permanent hair reduction was not typical in this study.

You may read the full info here:

Now this doesn’t mean that a doctor who had a LASER in his office is not able to perform treatments on you and bill the insurance company directly using a different coding, however, that is cheating, and we just had a person doing that with her electrolysis practice get 7 years for insurance fraud. Doctors do this all the time, because it is less likely that they get caught, but they also sometimes get caught doing this, and have to face the music for such practices.