Many of us spend a lot of time thinking about hair. Whether we’re pondering its thickness, location, or why it just won’t go away, hair has a way of taking up at least a couple minutes of our daily lives, especially because it keeps growing back. But why is that? In this post, we’ll examine what makes hair grow back, as well as delve into the differences between how laser hair removal and electrolysis deal with it.
Let’s begin with the basics of hair growth:
Why does hair grow back?
As we’ve all noticed while shaving, waxing, and plucking, our hair is a group of incredibly resilient little buggers. The fact you can literally pull a hair out by its root and see it again weeks later is a testament to its persistence. And what do we have to thank for this particular trait? “The bulge.” (Yup, that’s its real name.)
The bulge is a part of the hair follicle that houses a pool of stem cells (or “bulge cells). Every time you try to get rid of a hair and it comes back, it’s because those bulge cells activated and started the regeneration process to replace the lost hair. Now, there’s no denying that the ability of our hair to constantly renew itself is pretty darn cool. But coolness aside, how can we stop our hair from growing back with these bulge cells around?
The answer? Find a way to deal with each follicle’s pocket of bulge cells.
The two most common ways people choose to handle them are:
What most people don’t know, however, is that these two methods of hair removal deal with bulge cells in vastly different ways.
How does laser hair removal reduce hair growth?
Laser hair removal works by using radiation on an area of skin to damage hair follicles and their bulge cells. And although radiation does destroy a number of bulge cells, it also leaves a number behind in a dormant state. That means the hair has a much higher chance of growing back several years after treatment.
Also note that laser hair removal is always marketed as “permanent hair reduction,” and not “permanent hair removal.” That’s because there’s no scientific evidence that it completely eliminates bulge cells.
How does electrolysis completely stop hair growth?
Electrolysis works by using heat to coagulate and destroy the entire follicle, including its bulge cells. With this method, a good number of bulge cells are destroyed on the first pass. After a few successive treatments, the bulge cells are completely removed, making it impossible for the hair to ever grow back again.
It may sound too good to be true, but the results are FDA-backed. According to the their website, “Electrolysis is considered a permanent hair removal method, since it destroys the hair follicle.” That’s because the science is there.
In short, both laser hair removal and electrolysis reduce the number of bulge cells, but only electrolysis removes them all. There’s a lot more to talk about on this topic, so if you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them in the comments below and I’ll get back to you.