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The Latest Craze

As clinical laser hair removal has become more popular and more prevalent throughout the country, the cosmetic industry has moved to meet the growing demand for it. But today, hair removal patients are eager to embrace the latest development in laser technology: at-home laser hair removal.

Clients' wishes to banish unwanted hair in the privacy of their own homes, and at lower costs, gave rise to a slew of at-home hair removal systems such as the Epila, Rio, and most recently, the TRIA laser system. Each boasts an easy-to-use applicator, simple controls, and is conveniently portable; but are the hair removal results as effortless as the packaging?

Most Talked-about Options

Epila and Rio are at-home laser systems manufactured in South Korea and the U.K. that have been available for on-line purchase for several years. TRIA, the newest at-home laser hair removal product on the market, just became available for purchase this year in the U.S. at select physician's offices. TRIA, created by a California-based, aesthetics technology company, is the only at-home laser system that is FDA-approved, whereas Rio and Epila cite the European CE certification, if any, on their product websites.

So, what everyone wants to know is, are at-home laser hair removal systems safe, and do they work? If so, do they work as well as professional laser procedures? The one-time purchase of an at-home product is certainly cheaper than the cost of laser hair removal sessions with a professional, but poor results at a lower cost is still costing too much.

An Improvement or just a Fad?

When it comes to using at-home laser hair removal products, an immediate concern is the risk of misuse. Professional laser technicians are required to complete training in laser technology procedures, and to learn about potential harm and safety risks. Even though the at-home lasers aren't as powerful as those used at a clinic, and TRIA, Rio, and Epila have 2-3 intensity settings to choose from, patients can still burn their skin and cause more harm than good. The fact that Rio and Epila haven't been approved by FDA safety regulations is a bit of a red flag itself, since the European safety certification process is fairly lax by comparison. Many testimonials for Rio and Epila cited painful burns and marks as a result of using the products.

Possible harm aside, the purported effectiveness of these at-home treatments is met with much discrepancy compared to the success of professional laser hair removal. Some clients say at-home systems didn't work for them at all, or if hair loss did occur it was very gradual and occasionally inconsistent. Another issue is that most at-home lasers, since they're less advanced, aren't capable of treating anyone who doesn't fit the light-skinned, dark-haired mold.


No matter what method of laser hair removal patients choose, professional or at-home, there's always risk involved. But at least with a professional laser technician, you know their experience will better equip them to answer your questions, to understand your skin's conditions, and to correct potential problems if they occur. Perhaps as these at-home methods improve and develop in future years, risk factors will diminish and their effectiveness will improve; but while they're still new, professional laser hair removal seems to be the safer, more reliable choice. Remember that consulting a physician about questions pertaining to laser hair removal is always recommended before beginning treatments.

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