A simple Internet search calls up thousands of electrolysis and laser hair removal services. Highly trained professionals, such as dermatologists, may offer these services, as well as technicians at spas and tanning salons. The level of experience, education, knowledge and skill of these specialists varies greatly.
Electrolysis involves inserting a needle into a hair follicle and running an electric current through the needle. The current kills the hair root. Similarly, in laser hair removal, a laser zaps the hair follicle to prevent growth. With either procedure, you want someone who's trained to do it properly, so you should consult a dermatologist or a certified specialist. These professionals most likely have the highest level of training [source: Hirsch].
When looking for an electrologist, check to make sure that the person is certified by a reputable program. Certification requires training, which helps ensure that the person wielding the electrically-charged needle has had adequate training to provide for your safety and well-being [source: WebMD]. For laser hair removal, you should see a medical doctor, such as a dermatologist or a plastic surgeon [source: Bernstein]. A doctor has received specialized training and has the medical expertise to deal with any potential complications or side effects.
The laws governing what type of training is required vary from state to state, so find out what those requirements are and make sure your specialist has the right qualifications. It's also helpful to see whether he or she has gone above and beyond in training -- continuing education, professional organization memberships and other certifications are often good signs.
General searches for practitioners in electrolysis and laser hair removal may lead you to advertisements for special deals and "inexpensive" permanent hair removal treatments. Permanent hair removal can be costly, so these deals may look tempting. You should resist that temptation. Often, specialists that offer low-cost deals have had little or no formal training, and they have invested only in the equipment with which to conduct the procedures. Trusting your follicles to these untrained hands could have serious -- and painful -- repercussions, such as skin lightening, zebra striping, burns and even permanent scarring. In such cases, the medical treatments needed to repair such damage will end up costing you more in time, suffering and savings [source: American Academy of Dermatology].
Keep reading to find out what else you should know before choosing a hair removal specialist.