Hard Facts About Mass Marketed Gadgets
Effective vs. “Cute” Laser Hair Removal Technology
Do Battery Powered Laser Hair Removal Devices Have What it Takes?
It is no secret that a new boom in the self-care industry is happening with the staggering number of home-use laser hair removal systems that are entering the market each month. New brands are flooding the shopping channels with Infomercials, and sweeping the Internet with exposure. So what is the real story here? Are these home use machines as good as the professional ones that cost thousands of dollars?
NO. And here’s WHY:
Limitation Number 1: Output Power. Did you know that Federal Law requires the manufacturers of laser equipment (medical and non-medical related) to list the classification of the laser, the wavelength and output power in watts (or in the ‘toy home use’ machines, milliwatts)? Strange that none of the brands listed above do so. Maybe it is because they don’t want you to know the real numbers (very weak).
What limits their power? A combination of things, but it is mostly the power supply which drives the semiconductor diode (which creates the laser beam). Professional units have high-amperage power supplies which are actually quite big and heavy. It takes a full 30 amps to run a 50 watt laser, even in pulsed mode. That is more than twice what the average household wall socket can provide. Home-use machines use batteries (or meager wall transformers) and produce only ‘milliamps’ (fractions of a watt). There is no way to cheat electrical science or physics. High powered lasers need high powered driver units.
Limitation Number 2: Optics. A laser must be shaped, focused and directed to be usable. The optics required to do this are quite expensive. Tiny slivers of glass, or in some cases three lens configurations, which cost more by themselves than most of the home-use machines available. These ‘toys’ do not use optics at all, just a cheap piece of glass to actually ‘diffuse’, not focus, the laser energy. Why diffuse it? To make it safe for public use. In so doing, they make it worthless for medical use.
Limitation Number 3: Diode. The semiconductor laser diode in professional grade machines of 30 CW or QCW watts or more cost on average $600. The reason for this is the construction material of the semiconductor itself, called gallium arsenide. This element is actually more valuable than gold or platinum per ounce. As a matter of fact, it is one of the most expensive substances on Earth. Home use devices use low wattage diodes with microscopic crystals of the gallium arsenide, which results in ‘microscopic’ amounts of laser output.
Limitation Number 4: Battery Life. Some brands are capable of producing a reasonable amount of laser power (although diffused as mentioned). The only problem is the tiny battery in the device is only good for minutes of use before needing recharged. Try using that system when you have large areas to work on. You will be able to do about 100 hairs before a recharge is necessary.
The simple truth of the matter? Home-use devices are designed to be safe and cheap, like a toy for a child. Professional machines are designed to produce results. Laser epilation procedures require a minimum of 32jcm2/sec. to be effective. These new home devices are incapable of producing more than 10jcm2.
If you can afford a ‘cheap’ laser hair removal gadget, you can afford a REAL diode laser! In the price range of $200 to $600, you can own a quality system that is manufactured by the same company that builds these systems for dermatologists and salons all over the world. Check out our “Personal Systems” category!