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The Battle To Be Bare

By: Louis Silberman
Posted: January 30, 2012, from the February 2012 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

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Electrolysis is the only procedure approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for permanent hair removal, although results can vary from person to person. It works by using a fine needle to transmit an electric current into a hair follicle to destroy its root. Because the hair is treated follicle by follicle, it is often a lengthy process. Even a small area, such as the upper lip, can take as long as four hours.

Electrolysis can be used to treat hair anywhere on the body except inside the nose and ears. Because hair grows in stages and each hair is not in the same stage at the same time, multiple electrolysis sessions are needed to achieve optimal results.

Pros. It is the only permanent hair removal method, and can be used on all hair colors and skin types.

Cons. It is a time-consuming process that may be painful.

Laser and intense pulsed light (IPL)

Laser and IPL hair removal are similar procedures that use different light-based technologies. Laser hair removal uses a pure monochromatic beam of laser light to target the melanin in the hair and damage the hair follicle. IPL hair removal uses a broad-based light that emits multiple wavelengths as opposed to one beam. With each procedure, six-to-eight treatments are usually needed for best results.