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Laser Hair Removal vs. Electrolysis: Understanding the Jobs

Have you ever wondered about the difference between laser hair removal and electrolysis? They both can remove unwanted hair from customers’ bodies, right?



The goal is the same, but there are some differences among hair removal professionals and the training and certification they hold. Just as the processes differ between electrolysis and laser hair removal, the job and certification requirements of electrologists and laser technicians are different as well. In the same way that customers debate the relative virtues of electrolysis versus laser hair removal, you might also wonder about the pros and cons of the training and certifications required to serve customers with these hair removal modalities.

To understand what kind of hair removal education and certification you might want, it’s helpful to know about the processes of electrolysis versus laser hair removal plus the requirements for technicians who handle these jobs.


Electrolysis vs. Laser Hair Removal


First, let’s look at the difference between these two methods of clearing the body of unwanted hair: laser hair removal and electrolysis hair removal.


Electrolysis by definition is a process of passing an electrical current through a hair follicle via a thin probe with a goal of damaging and ultimately, destroying the follicle in order to prevent new hair growth. Electrolysis is also the only hair-removal process that’s considered a permanent way to stall hair growth. So how long does this electrolysis process take? To thwart the hair growth permanently, clients usually require up to 30 regular treatment sessions over an 18-month period, with treatments starting at a weekly cadence and becoming less frequent over time.

Laser hair removal, on the other hand, uses the heat from laser light to damage (and, over time, to destroy) the hair follicle to prevent hair from growing back. It’s considered a long-term, rather than a permanent, hair removal solution because hair follicles that are merely damaged will eventually allow for regrowth that might later require addressing. It’s important to note that electrolysis hair removal sessions last longer than laser hair removal sessions. In general, electrolysis can last between 15 minutes and an hour per session, whereas laser hair removal lasts only a few minutes each session because the lasers attack more than one hair at a time. Laser hair removal is usually accomplished in fewer sessions, too, with customers usually coming in four to eight times to get the job done. Overall, both methods of hair removal are safe and effective at removing hair from anywhere on the body when performed by a qualified professional, and both require multiple sessions for long-lasting effects.

Electrolysis vs. Laser Technicians: How the Job Requirements Compare

Are you thinking about becoming an electrologist or laser hair removal technician? Let’s break down what each job looks like and what requirements a technician must fulfill to be a certified professional. In Florida, an electrologist needs to obtain a state electrologist license, which comes with prerequisites including 120 hours of classroom training and 200 hours of practical experience at an educational program recognized by the state, a two-hour course on preventing medical errors, and passage of the state Electrolysis Council’s exam. The Electrolysis Council, supervised by the Board of Medicine, is the licensing body for electrologists in the state of Florida.


Once an electrologist has applied for and obtained a license and is ready to work, the field of opportunity is wide open. Electrologists can work at beauty salons, skin care centers, as independent professionals, or as operators of their own electrolysis centers.


In Florida, technicians can conduct laser and light-based hair removal only if they have an active electrolysis license and a certified medical electrologist (CME) certification from the Society of Clinical & Medical Hair Removal Inc. The CME exam requires advanced knowledge in both needle and laser- and light-based hair removal modalities. That means electrolysis technicians who also want to perform laser hair removal need to have been trained in laser hair removal or have graduated from a combined program that teaches laser hair removal within its curriculum (as we do). Once a technician has been certified to perform laser hair removal and use FDA-approved laser devices, they often work at medispas, skin care centers, cosmetic surgery clinics, or doctor’s offices.


Electrolysis and Laser Hair Removal School Near Me


At the Hollywood Institute of Beauty Careers, we train future hair removal professionals through our electrology program, a 320-hour course that gives students all the coursework and hands-on experience they need in order to pass their state exams and become licensed.


In the course, we cover multiple techniques of hair removal to give students multiple tools for their toolbelts. During electrolysis, electricity is delivered to the hair follicle, causing localized damage to the areas that generate hairs, either through converting tissue saline into caustic sodium hydroxide (the galvanic method), overheating the cells via high-frequency radio energy to weaken them and prevent hair growth (thermolysis), or both (the blend method). We also offer education on laser- and light-based hair removal techniques for those who want to become laser hair removal technicians. No matter what modality appeals the most to you, we cover all the training you need on equipment, techniques, biology, safety, Florida law, and more. Our instructors are masters in their crafts and are ready to guide and mentor the next generation of professionals toward rewarding careers in the beauty and wellness industry. Ready to learn more? Contact us at Hollywood Institute of Beauty Careers today.