BACKGROUND Removal of unwanted hair is the most popular skin treatment worldwide. Over the past decade, various lasers and light sources for epilation have been advocated for use in an office setting, although most people continue to treat unwanted hair with a variety of temporary physical methods (e.g., waxing, shaving) in a home setting, presumably due to cost and convenience factors.
OBJECTIVES To evaluate the safety and efficacy of a low-energy pulsed-light device intended for home-use hair removal.
MATERIALS AND METHODS Twenty women (skin phototypes I-IV) with dark terminal hair in nonfacial sites (axilla, forearms, inguinal region, legs) self-administered three treatments at 2-week intervals using a handheld intense-pulsed-light device. Matched untreated skin sites were also studied. Hair counts and clinical photographs were obtained pretreatment and at 1, 3, and 6 months after the third treatment. Side effects and patient satisfaction scores were recorded.
RESULTS All patients showed a positive clinical response to treatment, with reduction of unwanted hair. No reduction of hair was noted in untreated matched areas. Hair counts were reduced 37.8% to 53.6% 6 months after the three treatments. Skin region influenced clinical response, with lower legs exhibiting greater hair reduction than arms and inguinal and axillary areas. Mild erythema was experienced in 25% of patients, but no other side effects or complications were encountered. Patient satisfaction scores were high, with all patients stating that they would purchase the device for future home use.
CONCLUSIONS Low-energy pulsed light can be applied safely and effectively for at-home hair removal in a variety of nonfacial locations and skin phototypes I-IV.