I received the following from R.T. the other day:
</font><blockquote><font size=“1” face=“Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif”>quote:</font><hr /><font size=“2” face=“Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif”> I used E-Pen. And I had a huge hair problem. I also had professional electrolysis. E-Pen was way better. (And faster with the use of an epilator,and Kalo creme.) I’m exremely happy with the results with the E-Pen. You do the product a great dis-service by making those statements. Are you an electrologist who is afraid of going out of business? After seeing what you wrote I am going to write to E-Pen also,and show them your site,and give them my testimonial.
</font><hr /></blockquote><font size=“2” face=“Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif”>The issue with the E-Pen is the claims of permanent hair removal. If you stopped using it today and used no other method for twelve months and still had no hair in the treated area, then you might have a point. But that isn’t going to happen.
Hair removal is a lot like diets. Remember when the Atkins diet was the big craze, and everyone swore it “worked for them?” Well, if you check back with those people a year later, almost every single one of them will be at or above the weight they were at when they proclaimed it worked.
As QuackWatch founder Stephen Barrett , M.D. says, “Quackery’s paramount characteristic is promotion (`Quacks quack!’)… Most promoters are unwitting victims who share misinformation and personal experiences with others.”
Reading about other people’s experiences during and immediately after a hair removal procedure can often be very useful. However, when someone makes observations about how this or that product is affecting hair growth, especially claims of reducing or removing hair permanently, things often take a left turn into quackery.
Consumer “tests” like yours are textbook quackery. There’s simply not enough quantified factual information about your results to make a valid scientific assessment. Quack manufacturers know it appeals to some consumers’ curiosity and vanity to disregard scientific evidence in favor of personal experience – to “think for yourself.” As Dr. Barrett writes:
“Most people who think they have been helped by an unorthodox method enjoy sharing their success stories with their friends. People who give such testimonials are usually motivated by a sincere wish to help their fellow humans. Rarely do they realize how difficult it is to evaluate a ‘health’ product on the basis of personal experience.”
Dr. Barrett also notes: “Since we tend to believe what others tell us of personal experiences, testimonials can be powerful persuaders. Despite their unreliability, they are the cornerstone of the quack’s success.”
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has stated it is a violation of federal regulations to claim devices like the E-Pen are permanent.
What happens is that consumers claim success too early, and then write to these scam artists with testimonials. When you find out it doesn’t work a year from now, you will feel too foolish to say you were wrong, and even if you did, they won’t take back your glowing testimonial which now appears in their promotional material.
People write testimonials that they were abducted by aliens. Testimonials are extremely unreliable and unscientific, but they are one of the quack’s favorite marketing tools.
Finally, I am not an electrologist, nor do I stand to gain or lose if you use a product. If you want to waste time and money on methods with no proof they work as claimed, that’s your option. I write for people who want legitimate verifiable proof before they spend their hard-earned money on a hair removal product.
Oh, and Kalo is a doubtful product, too. Again, no published proof their active ingredient can reduce hair in controlled clinical trials.
I hope we’ll hear back from you in six months and then at a year after you stop using E-Pen. I’m sure you’ll have a different story.
[ May 06, 2002, 03:53 PM: Message edited by: Andrea ]