Why the confusion about the permanence of laser?
Electrologists provided the first and only permanent relief from disfiguring hair for over 110 years. Then in the 1980’s a new method emerged that would be a real game changer in this field. For sufferers of hirsutism, what a blessing! A faster, easier solution was on the way. It appeared that dark hairs could be targeted without an invasive time and consuming treatment. Photo energy beamed into the skin, could instantaneously destroy multiple hairs simultaneously, revolutionizing permanent hair removal. It took some years to work out the many bugs, but electrologists would not ever concede an inch of their territory. They argued it was ineffective, dangerous and way too expensive, (which was true for a time) and feared that doctors would now control an industry that had been managed by technicians.
Electrolysis had been approved by the FDA as a “permanent hair removal” process whereas laser was not. Laser was designated as a “permanent hair reduction” procedure. Electrologists seized on this slight difference, claiming that permanent hair reduction means that it is temporary only. The largest Electrolysis association in North America states: “Electrolysis is the only method approved by the FDA for permanent removal of unwanted hair”. While this wording is correct, the FDA has approved laser for “permanent hair reduction”. This unnecessary ambiguity has been misinterpreted and exploited.
Laser permanently “reduces” hair growth because it depends on dark pigment (chromophore) in the follicle to target the hair, so not all hair colours can be treated. On legs, underarms and bikini, laser can permanently eliminate all of the hairs if they are dark. On the face, all heavy, dark hairs can be eliminated. There really are 2 categories of permanent hair removal…”non-chromophore dependent” and “chromophore dependent.”. This simple fact is lost on the internet, and it appears that it’s too late to get the genie back in the bottle.
Peer reviewed studies also often contribute to the confusion. Although they verify the ability of laser to reduce hair, they will not follow up subjects longer than 6 months and decline to conclude the removal is permanent. No peer reviewed studies have been done that compare the efficacy of these modalities in real life applications. But you can take it from me, Genie >40 years into the business of permanent hair removal, that the return of hair after 6 months is not a thing. Of course there are exceptions, but they are not statistically significant, or they occur in hormonally radioactive areas, just as they do with electrolysis.