Description & Overview

Hair removal, also referred to as epilation or depilation, is the process of intentionally removing hair from different parts of the body. Depilation refers to removing the hair strands but leaving the roots intact, while epilation is removing every part of the hair including its roots. Shaving is a good example of depilation, and laser hair removal, waxing, and electrology are some of the epilation methods.

For many people, hair removal is a simple and straightforward process. In fact, many don’t even realize that any hair removal method does have potential side effects, especially those that aim for a permanent result. Some of the side effects can be life-threatening, which is why it is recommended that a person becomes familiar with the pros and cons of a particular method before proceeding.

Some methods can be performed at home, especially depilation methods, but permanent hair removal techniques should be performed by a licensed professional to reduce any associated risks.

In this article, we’ll provide a brief description of the most common methods, but delve more on the safety aspects.

Hair removal can be performed by a medical professional such as a doctor, nurse, or nursing assistant. It can also be performed by non-medical professionals who have sufficient training in the technologies used for the procedure. For instance, laser technicians will be able to perform laser hair removal procedures, but in many cases, they’ll need to be performed under the supervision of a doctor.

What is permanent hair removal?

Permanent hair removal or epilation, aims to remove all the parts of the hair including the cells responsible for hair growth. Laser hair removal is one of the methods that can accomplish this, but may not be effective for everybody. For some people, the procedure will need to be repeated several times before the goal is achieved.

A more effective method is electrology. This method involves inserting a thin wire into the hair follicle to introduce a certain amount of electrical current to kill every part of the hair. Electrology needs to be performed by a medical professional as there are potential risks associated with the procedure.

Other than those two well-known and proven methods, other methods such as x-ray hair removal and photodynamic therapy are effective, yet banned procedures as they have the potential to cause severe health problems.

What is laser hair removal?

Laser hair removal is a procedure that uses a laser device to kill the hair follicles. However, it is important to note that this type of procedure is most effective on people with dark hair and light skin. Some modern technologies allow people with dark skin achieve excellent results as well. Unfortunately, lasers tend to have difficulty identifying light hair colors.

What are the risks associated with laser hair removal?

There is no guarantee that the hair will be removed permanently using the laser devices, but the procedure does have a very high success rate. Most people can achieve permanent hair removal after multiple sessions.

There is also a possibility of skin irritation like redness and swelling. In most cases, these symptoms will disappear after a few hours.

Another risk is that the skin color on the treated area may lighten a little temporarily, especially when the wrong settings are used.

What is electrology?

Electrology or electrolysis uses an electrical current to destroy the hair follicles. The procedure involves inserting a thin probe into every hair follicle and then applying the current. Although highly effective as a permanent hair removal method, the process is time-consuming. It will take a significant amount of time to go through the thousands of hair follicles.

The person who performs this type of procedure is referred to as an electrologist. In some countries, especially in the United States, an electrologist needs to be certified in order to practice the profession.

What are the risks of electrology?

As long as a licensed professional performs the procedure, the risks associated with electrolysis are minimal. Some redness and a little bit of swelling might occur on the treated areas, but these will normally disappear after a few hours.

Is permanent hair removal advisable?

Removing unwanted body hair can be a time-consuming process, especially when you need to do it on a daily basis. By undergoing laser hair removal or electrology, you can save a lot of time and effort. However, there will always be risks and potential side effects whenever a normal body function is interrupted. It’s best that you discuss those risks with your doctor before going through any procedure.


  • Removing Hair Safely – FDA Consumer Health Information
  • American Electrology Association
  • American Society for Dermatologic Surgery: “Laser Hair Removal Information.”
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