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Background. Different techniques have been used for hair removal. Electrolytic epilation is a widely accepted method for this purpose. Recently laser hair removal was introduced.

Objective. To evaluate and compare the effectiveness of long-pulse alexandrite laser hair removal with electrolytic epilation.

Methods. Twenty-four areas of unwanted axillar hair in 12 patients were included in the study. The right axillar area of the patients was treated by electrolysis with an intensity of 4–8 mA, and the left area was treated with long-pulse alexandrite laser with fluences between 30 and 50 J/cm2. Electrolysis was performed four times at 3-week intervals, and laser treatment was performed three times at 4-week intervals. Before each session, the hairs in a 4 cm2 area centered in the axilla were counted. The last evaluation was done 6 months after the initial treatment. The pain, time, and cost of each procedure are compared.

Results. The average clearance rate of the hairs was 74% by laser and 35% by electrolysis 6 months after the initial treatment.

Conclusion. Alexandrite laser hair removal is a more reliable and practical solution than electrolysis. Laser hair removal is more expensive than electrolysis, but is 60 times faster and less painful than electrolysis; also fewer sessions are needed with the laser with better results.