In the hair removal industry, there is a story that has been developing over the past few years. Back in 1998, a lot of attention was being given to laser hair removal. It has become popular, largely due to the fact that this industry has inundated the market with the message that the process is fast, painless and it has been "suggested" that it is permanent.
In truth, it is fast, not painless and the FDA prohibits practitioners and the manufacturers of the equipment from stating that it is permanent, because it is not. The manufacturers of this equipment have altered the description of their results to "long lasting". There have been many problems with this technology over the years and each year, "new" versions of this equipment come out that supposedly correct the short comings of the past generation of lasers.
By the spring of 1999, women's magazines like Redbook were printing articles stating that laser hair removal was nothing more than expensive waxing. They went on to say that the skin goes into shock and the hair follicles take longer to regenerate hair. But the hair does return.
As an aside, laser light is attracted to the melanin (the color or pigment) in the hair the same way that sunlight is attracted to a black car seat. Laser light will vaporize the hair, but the flaw in the process is that there is little melanin in the follicle! The ideal candidate is someone with dark hair and very light skin. Blondes and people with gray hair are poor candidates. People with a tan are also poor candidates as the laser can't differentiate between the pigment in the skin and the melanin in the hair. Burns can be the result. Even the best candidate has little chance of losing anything more than 20 to 30 percent of the hair.
That being the best case scenario, most people in the electrology industry were prepared to just let it go. In the summer of 2001 however, an email was circulated across the Internet called:
"Near-infrared laser light of high energy and ultra-short pulse genetically-induced stress-response genes in the DNA repair and apoptosis regulatory pathways"...get that?
Please read this article. In short, it quickly reviews a study done by our Air Force Academy. The U.S. Air Force is concerned about the effects of laser energy on their personnel in these days of laser guided weapons.
The conclusion of the report is that laser energy destroys several genes in the treated or exposed area. One called P53, is responsible for regenerating cells after they have been damaged. Once destroyed, the treatment leads to the creation of free radicals and inhibits the human body to repair itself to "original specs" prior to the laser exposure.
The frequency of laser light used for weapons guidance is the same frequency used for laser hair removal. In short, people are voluntarily paying to have hair vaporized from their bodies with the added detrimental effect of damaging the skins ability to repair itself completely from the damage caused by the laser itself. The damage is to the skin surface and the DNA itself!
Now, dermatologists are expressing concerns over patient care. If a technician operating the laser equipment is the only person examining the skin to determine the suitability of laser hair removal, they claim that they do not have the training or medical background to spot trouble.
Even a doctor who sets up a laser clinic who is not a dermatologist, runs the risk of missing a melanoma, simply because that isn't their specialty.
Specifically, it is possible for a laser hair removal treatment to subtly change the look of a mole that could be malignant to the point where if a dermatologist looked at it after the fact, they may not see the tell tale discoloration that would have them remove it at an early stage. Left untreated, the melanoma will continue to grow under the skin undetected with disastrous or even deadly results.
How high a price is "too high?" When there is another method of removing hair permanently, who is prepared to pay the ultimate price for vanity, especially once they learn the risks associated with laser?
Three additional articles below offer a great deal of compelling information as to why high tech beauty treatments are dangerous to say the least. Apart from the Air Force piece, two articles authored by MD's on this disturbing trend in the beauty and spa industry and a Feb 17th article from the N.Y. Times all graphically describe the dangers of this deregulated industry.
Michael Bono, a well respected electrologist in Santa Barbara CA. with over 20 years of experience and an author of several text books on electrology, has always worked in the offices of a cosmetic surgeon. This surgeon associate looked into the laser industry extensively after ordering two laser units for his practice. His research led him to return the units, unused.
His conclusion was that we are 10 to 15 years away from a medical disaster with the indiscriminate use of laser energy for the sake of vanity.
One question that cannot be answered today is, "How will skin repeatedly exposed to this energy source age?"
To date, apart from the U. S. Air Force Academy research, there are no independent long term studies on the science of laser hair removal. Studies that do exist have been short in duration and funded by doctors associated with or on the payroll of the manufacturers of the laser equipment. We hope that you find the following information enlightening.
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For many years those of us associated with electrolysis understood that epilators operated at a frequency of 13.5 megahertz. About twelve years ago Dectro International introduced its Platinum line of epilators that operate at 27 MHz. Our horizons were expanded. Their claim is that hair is permanently removed 25% faster and with a degree of comfort previously unheard of, and they are correct in every way.
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