Currently Available Lasers and Light Sources Used for Hair Removal

In the USA, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has traditionally used electrolysis results as a benchmark to evaluate laser treatment efficacy, despite the near lack of significant scientific data about electrolysis. In the initially submitted studies, all hair removal devices were required to show a 30% decrease in hair growth at 3 months after a single treatment (Tope et al. 1998).

This criterion clearly does not equate with permanent hair loss, as a delay in hair growth, which usually lasts for 1-3 months, is simply consistent with the induction of the telogen stage. Permanent hair reduction results should be based on the cyclic growth phases for hair follicles, and should refer to a significant reduction in the number of terminal hairs after a given treatment. There must be a reduction that is stable for a period of time longer than the complete growth cycle of hair follicles at any given body site.

Multiple laser systems are currently available and approved by the FDA for hair removal. The lists below include the more popular systems. They are not meant to be all-inclusive.

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