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 ]

Do those transdermal/transcutaneus patches remove hair, without all the irrtation of shaving, or waxing? I don’t realy care if it is permanant, just that it doesn’t give me razor burn, or leave my kitchen coated with wax.

The devices that use an electrified Q-Tip can only treat a dime-sized area every minute or two. The hand-held devices like ePen use less energy, so they make take longer.

The devices that use patches take about the same amount of time, but they can treat an area the size of the patch.

Do they remove hair? This is a tough question, since they haven’t been tested under controlled clinical conditions with peer-reviewed published medical data.

Some users find that hairs may fall out a few days or weeks later. Others have to tweeze all the hairs out after using the device. In that case, has the device actually removed hair? More importantly, is the energy enough to cause permanent hair removal as they claim, or is it just a weak effect that’s enough to temporarily disable hairs?

Because there has been no medcial data published, and because they have not submitted data to FDA for evaluation, there is no acceptable evidence that these devices can achieve permanent hair removal. As far as temporary removal, it’s hard to say if they are causing anything more than the kind of mild disruption of hair growth that can come from chemical or energy sources. For instance, some lasers have been shown to be temporary under controlled clinical conditions, even though the energy level is enough to cause some hairs to fall out.

As far as irritation, you may have redness that lasts from an hour or so to a few days. Most heavier irritation occurs when people try to achieve permanent results by treating an area for a long time. It appears this causes redness for some, but there’s no definitive answer on whether this causes more effective treatment.

Some consumers have been pleased with these at the onset, but I’m not aware of anyone who has been pleased in the long term with their results. I like to discourage people from supporting companies that make unsubstantiated and misleading claims about permanent hair removal. It only encourages them to do more of it.

So to sum up: it may remove some hair, but you may have to supplement treatment with plucking. Some believe it makes plucking easier after you treat an area for a minute or so. Others find it slow and tedious.

You will definitely not have wax all over your kitchen, but you will have a lot of gel, used Q-Tips or patches, and paper towels in your kitchen after.

Remember that ePen consumer who wrote to say he was reporting me to the company where he bought his? Well, a couple of weeks ago I got a letter from the distributor:
</font><blockquote><font size=“1” face=“Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif”>quote:</font><hr /><font size=“2” face=“Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif”> My name is Brett Wilson and I’m the President of YouCanSave.Com, Inc. I was made aware of your website, http://www.hairfacts.com, as it makes mention to the Epen, a popular product that we are selling online. I was surprised to see your negative comments, especially given the fact that many of our customers seem to like the product. While we don’t manufacture the product, I can assure you that we sell only quality items that we are proud to have our name associated with. As such, I would like to have a free sample sent to you so you can test the product for yourself. I think it’s fair for you to give the product a chance before slamming it.

Please email back your address and I will have a unit overnighted to you free of charge for your review.</font><hr /></blockquote><font size=“2” face=“Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif”>Below is my response:

</font><blockquote><font size=“1” face=“Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif”>quote:</font><hr /><font size=“2” face=“Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif”> Hi Brett–

Thanks for the offer, and my apologies for the slow response. You can send the device to me at the address below.

I am not slamming the device per se, but rather your promotional claims of permanence without the necessary proof.

I am happy to inspect your device, but my opinion of your promotional claims will stand until I see valid clinical evidence published in a medical journal that backs your claims of permanence. My personal experience with the device, good or bad, is no substitute for published medical data to back the manufacturer’s claims. I believe claims made on your site may be in violation of federal regulations and may leave you vulnerable to future lawsuits. You should check with FDA regarding your claims of permanence.</font><hr /></blockquote><font size=“2” face=“Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif”>I’ll keep you all posted on any developments!