Home laser hair reduction appliances may very well be your future treatment of choice! Just like their physician-directed counterparts, they are only effective against dark hair, and should be used only in areas in which you are confident you want the hair gone FOREVER. (i.e. I discourage treating the eyebrows-since fashions change, and certain portions of the bikini area-anatomy can change ladies and gentlemen!) The home laser systems operate at about 5-10% of the energy of office machines so are considered “safe,” although I would still avoid treatment during pregnancy/nursing and around small children.
Since the home lasers are FDA-approved as over-the-counter devices, their effectiveness data, when compared to physician-directed machines, is unclear. It would be appropriate to calculate, since they generate 5-10% of the energy of office lasers, it would take roughly 10 times the number of treatment sessions to reach equivalent results. While time-consuming, they may be more convenient for many since sessions are conducted in privacy at home. The two most-commonly marketed home laser hair reduction systems are the Silk’N intense-pulsed-light (IPL), widely-available at Sephora stores, and the Tria, a diode laser available online. Both cost between $500-$800 and can be used on all skin types. From my personal experience with diode lasers and IPL’s in my office, I recommend the Tria diode system for safety and effectiveness. As these home lasers become more prevalent, procure and will report my findings and pertinent studies. Stay tuned for more information on this exciting development in hair removal technology!
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