Reprinted from The Daily Iowan
They're not just splitting hairs in Iowa City Study
"I am very excited about the future of the project," Flender said. "When we went into this project, we were hoping for equal results between the two, but right now, the laser is showing the better results."
Patients in the study had half of their unwanted hair removed using electrolysis and the other half using laser treatments. The researchers have been comparing the areas in which hair was removed, which they will continue to do for another year.
Laser treatment has only been around for the past couple of years, Berstler said, and using it for hair removal is still in its experimental stage.
"We have caught a lot of flak for this," she said. "Most of the elec-trologists have been completely against anybody using this technology."
Treatment has improved over the last year, she said - with laser treatment, chins can be treated in 10 minutes, and men's backs can be zapped in an hour. Electrolysis would sometimes take years to treat the affected areas, Berstler said.
Iowa City resident Nahcy Rossey has been through the program and has seen remarkable results in her treatment.
"I can't believe the job that they did," she said. "The left underarm (electrolysis-treated) I still have to shave, but the right side (laser-treated) is a lot better, and (the hair is) a lot more fine."
The laser treatments are also cheaper, Berstler said. Treating a chin with electrolysis costs $1,278; laser treatment costs $258 less.
Laser treatments send beams to hair pigment and then travel to the root to stop hair, Berstler said.
Berstler said each of the participants in the study experienced minor discomfort. Laser treatment involves a slight prick into the skin, but the pain lessens with every treatment, she said. Electrolysis is consistently painful, she said.
Berstler said she and'Flender feel like trailblazers in using lasers for hair removal.
"The one thing our study can't statistically measure is the boost in self-esteem that is consistently experienced using either method of hair removal," she said.
2006 Clinic of Electrology & Laser