Thursday, December 4, 2008

Home Laser Hair Removal

Kristine Johnson at WCBS in New York just reported on laser hair removal being available at home, in conjunction with this month's Allure magazine, which I was quoted in. This is old news down at SMAC in Boca Raton, where we've been carrying the Tria by Spectragenics since April.

Effective lasers for home use are a hit. It is no surprise that such machines are finally here. In fact, it is now almost
15 years since our research team and teams at Harvard Medical School were able to show that lasers could safely, effectively and permanently remove unwanted hair. First we were only able to treat dark hair on light skin. Then lasers became available to treat unwanted hair on dark skin. Now we are investigating approaches to treat white hair – something that has always been a challenge. The enormous acceptance of this method of hair removal led me to write an entire textbook on Laser Hair Removal - a book now in its 2nd edition.

The success of physician in-office laser hair removal now has led to the development of small at home devices. Some such as Tria and Silk’n really do work --- with some caveats. Most such systems are only safe for lighter skinned individuals. In fact the company that makes Tria requires you to call in after you purchase the device so that they can activate it. If you tell them that you are dark skinned, they will not activate it.

Another disadvantage of the home devices is that they are really slow. It will take you forever if you want to use them on large areas such the legs or back. However, if you want to treat some straggler hairs or a few hairs on your toes, these home based machines are ideal. Finally, none of the home devices are as strong as those used in a doctor’s office – they will never work as well.

The success of laser hair removal in physician offices has also led to a darker side – inexpensive laser hair removal procedures performed in many spas, often by a high school graduate without any physician supervision. In-office and in-spa laser hair removal is performed with high powered devices. If not used properly, significant scarring can and, unfortunately, does occur. Find out who is treating you and whether there is physician supervision. Yes, you will pay more money – but it will also be safer.

David J. Goldberg, MD
Sanctuary Medical Aesthetic Center
Boca Raton, FL
Skin Laser & Surgery Specialists of NY/NJ
New York, NY

Jason Pozner, MD
Sanctuary Medical Aesthetic Center

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