Permanent Hair Removal Vs. Permanent Hair Reduction

What’s The Difference? 100% Removal Vs. 100%Reduction

As you may know very well, there are some advertising slogans that can spin off any truth off the roof. I think ‘Permanent Hair Removal’ and ‘Permanent Hair Reduction’ are just that kind of slogans. These terms are often used to describe hair removal machines and Med-Spa offers. There is no doubt they can confuse any person and customer. Permanent hair removal? Or permanent hair reduction? Is that the same thing? What is the difference?

In this review we will try and help clear things, “permanent removal” vs. “permanent reduction” are not the same thing! This is important for you when you come to evaluate hair removal machines like the Tria Laser, the DM7000 laser, Silk’n Flash & Go, Remington IPL6000USA or the current ‘queen’ of the category the Me my Elos system.

FDA Criteria For Hair Removal & Hair Reduction

As you may read below the FDA does not allow any laser system (this includes the IPL systems which operate on light flashes too) to advertise or claim “permanent hair removal” as an expected result of the treatments, because hairs WILL grow back. Check this paragraph from the FDA website (We have bolded the relevant parts, which are not bolded at the original source):

“Manufacturers should be aware that receiving an FDA clearance for general permission to market their devices does not permit them to advertise the lasers for either hair removal or wrinkle treatment, even though hair removal or wrinkle treatment may be a by-product of any cleared laser procedure. Further, manufacturers may not claim that laser hair removal is either painless or permanent unless the FDA determines that there are sufficient data to demonstrate such results.

Several manufacturers received FDA permission to claim, “permanent reduction,” NOT “permanent removal” for their lasers. This means that although laser treatments with these devices will permanently reduce the total number of body hairs, they will not result in a permanent removal of all hair. The specific claim granted is “intended to effect stable, long-term, or permanent reduction” through selective targeting of melanin in hair follicles. Permanent hair reduction is defined as the long-term, stable reduction in the number of hairs re-growing after a treatment regime, which may include several sessions. The number of hairs regrowing must be stable over time greater than the duration of the complete growth cycle of hair follicles, which varies from four to twelve months according to body location. Permanent hair reduction does not necessarily imply the elimination of all hairs in the treatment area.”

Mistake or Misleading Advertising

Nearly all the devices marketed for at-home hair removal use, are advertised as “permanent hair removal” systems. But they are actually promising something they can never deliver. They should be advertising themselves as “permanent hair reduction” machines, because that is exactly what they do, reduce the natural hair growth.

Take a look at the picture below, you can see 3 screen-shots of the leading hair removal systems TRIA Laser, Silk’n SensEpil and Syneron’s Me my Elos. Notice that TRIA laser and Silk’n SensEpil are referring to their systems as “Permanent Hair Removal“, does it comprehend with the  FDA quote : “Several manufacturers received FDA permission to claim, “permanent reduction,” NOT “permanent removal” for their lasers”..? 

Syneron Me my Elos home page has a promise which is in-line with the FDA guidelines, they refer to “89% Hair Reduction”.

Permanent Hair Removal Or Permanent Hair Reduction

Permanent Hair Removal / Reduction – Conclusion

The only method which truly can be refereed to as “permanent hair removal” according to the FDA is electrolysis hair removal. Because in the Electrolysis hair removal method, each hair follicle is treated and disabled from further hair growth, with an electric current. If done nice and slowly, the electrolysis can achieve 100% results for very long terms.

Laser and IPL hair removal can achieve permanent hair reduction, the success depends on so many factors (skin tone, hair tone, skin thickness, hair growth cycle, melanin production etc..) no one can promise permanent hair removal, because some hairs may grow back.

As we see using the term “Permanent” can be confusing, and manufacturers seem to use it a bit more than the FDA guideline specify. So the next time you read about “Permanent laser hair removal“, know they are mean “Permanent laser hair reduction“.

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