Laser -v- electrolysis - male upper lip


I’ve been reading these forums for a while but never had the courage to post before - though the site has been great in helping me. Two years ago, I took the plunge and had some laser (Lightsheer) on my chest and shoulders, with great results - it’s made such a difference to the way I feel (and increased confidence etc).

I’m now thinking of addressing the 5 o’clock shadow on my upper lip, which I seem to have at all times of day. I’m fair skinned (Type 2), and have light brown hair. I don’t want to get rid of all hair on my upper lip, but I’d like to reduce it - say by 50% - so that I get rid of the perma-5-o’clock shadow, and I’m not sure which way to go - laser (if so which) or electrolysis. I’ve been reading the forums, and there seems to be a bit of a split on which is better - all I keep reading is that men’s beards are difficult.

So, the questions:

  • which would be better for reduction? Laser seems quicker than electolysis - most of the threads seem to indicate that for reduction, laser takes 3 or 4 visits, whereas electrolysis seems to take 12 months (why is that? - if i just want reduction, could I not just go 3 or 4 times)?

  • I’m nervous about treatment on my face for fear of scarring, hyperpigmentation etc. Is either better for keeping this to a minimum?

  • pain-factor. As this is on my face, will electrolysis / laser hurt significantly? I seem to be OK pain-wise with the Lightsheer laser on my chest, I had those settings on 32 joules (or something), and it’s been OK. Is it similar or worse…? gulp(!)

  • how blotchy will I go after treatment - slightly red, or very spotty? How long does it take to die down? I guess it varies from person to person, but just wanted to get an idea.

  • I live in London - any recommendations for laser or electrolysis? I think I heard Parkside for electrolysis and Laser Clear for laser.

Sorry for the questions, but hope you can help put my mind at rest.


PS thanks again to this website and the community, it makes me realise that I’m not alone or odd.

I’ve heard - I think edokid - mentioned that the yag seemed to work better on beard areas since the hair is much deeper. Two or three might get rid of the most deep rooted and dark hairs which would be the ones which annoy you. Because its a yag it should leave the lighter hairs alone so you don’t have to worry about losing too much hair.

You go pretty red after treatment but you should be fine within an hour or so - I found the red was a fairly uniform colour. Probably depends on how strong the settings are.

Hyperpigmentation shouldn’t be too muhc of an issue if you make sure to wear an spf30 sunscreen outside.

Electrolysis is also an option but will take longer to do a permanent reduction.

With both you might havetrouble with patchiness but if you shave it any way it can’t be too hard to manage.

On my upper lip, photoepilation did not work. Neither IPL(**2) nor the YAG. The YAG has had absolutely no effect in my face.

From a physical point of view i doubt that the YAG has real advantages - its somewhat deeper penetration compared to the other lasers (and to less degree to the strong flashlights!!) is more than outweighted by the effect of the small absorption contrast between hair and matrix.

To me this appears to be marketing babble - and i’d like to mention that THREE (!!!) dermatologists used this argument to convince me to treat the white, colorless regrowth of my previous IPL sessions.

So be careful!!

Moreover on the upper lip the depth of penetration of the light ist not the problem because the roots of the hair are much shallower than elsewhere in the face and usually need much less energy if treated by electrolysis. Lower lip as well.

  • Upper lip and chin areas are typically most difficult to treat on males. The hairs there tend to be deeper. Given your goal of just reducing the shadow effect, I think a Yag laser would be beneficial. It will target the most coarse and deep hairs. Lightsheer should be fine too if you’re confident your clinic knows what they’re doing.

  • The area is relatively small, so overlapping should be done, but shouldn’t be an issue. So patchiness shouldn’t be an issue either.

  • The side effects won’t be different from your current treatments on the other areas. However, the irritation right after the treatment may last a bit longer since the follicles are so dense on this area. You may need to ice the area several times a day for a few days.

  • My concern is with your hair color. You describe is as light brown, which may not be dark enough for laser. Make sure it is if you go for laser.

  • Pain depends on density and coarseness of the hair.

  • I think you can get the results you want in 3-4 treatments.