Permanent = Forever ?


Quick question, is the permanent hair removal by electrolysis forever or does it mean it won’t grow back for a year (as the sister websitye to this defines permanent=1 year)

Obviously there will be growth after treatment as the different hairs in their different cycles come to the surface, but once I’ve had treatment for say, 15months that has covered all the cycles, does that mean I will never get hair again in the treated patch?

Does anyone have experience for treatment that was, say 3/5/10 years ago?

Electrolysis destroys regenerative ability of hair follicles. A dead follicle will never regrow hair.

If there is hormonal stimulation, new dormant hair follicles may start growing hair. This is hair that was never there before. The reasons may include a hormonal imbalance, hormonal changes (like menopause, puberty or medication), special sensitivity to androgens and so on. But other than that, dead means dead forever.

The 1 yr mark that you’re referring to is probably in reference to lasers. The FDA tested those results for up to 1 yr. Electrolysis on the other hand, is proven permanent for over 100 yrs.

How long did the FDA test Electrolosis for? Is there any timeframe that Electrolosis was studied for by the FDA that was over a year?

Electrolysis is called Permanent by hairfacts, but then it goes on to state…

"Most consumers think “permanent” means lasting forever. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case as it’s used in advertising. For instance, a permanent wave in your hair is not really permanent, and a permanent marker is not necessarily permanent.

It’s difficult to assess a new hair removal method that claims to be permanent. Most people figure that after a certain amount of time, it’s unlikely that a hair will ever return. That’s why several people, myself included, have suggested a specific definition of “permanent.” Some of these definitions seem inadequate to me. One manufacturer claims their device is permanent based on results after 9 weeks. That’s ridiculous. Waxing can last that long, and it’s been clinically proven temporary.

Permanent hair removal

For the purposes of hair removal, the hairfacts definition of “permanent” is being able to go a year after your final hair removal treatment without having to use another method of hair removal. Keep in mind that a year might not be long enough to determine true permanence, but most consumers would be happy to have one treatment a year."

Laser is called “hair reduction” at hairfacts, I think, not permanent.

Hence the question of whether it does last forever or just a year. Seems FDA have only tested it after a year, not checked 20 years later to see if there has been any regrowth.

So is permanent=forever?

[ April 14, 2004, 10:52 PM: Message edited by: qbb ]

I, along with most consumers, believe permanent should mean forever. Consumers (including me) have experienced permanent hair removal from electrolysis. My last electrolysis appointment was many years ago-- I’d have to look for the exact time. I had a TON of facial hair, so I was pretty much the ultimate stress test. Not everyone who gets electrolysis will have a permanent result, though. Operator skill is very important, and some people have hormonal or other conditions which make permanent results difficult to achieve. Finally, Electrolysis can kill existing hairs, but it does not prevent future hairs that have not been treated and have not begun to grow yet. These can be triggered by age, weight change, some diseases, or hormonal changes.

Some consumers, especially those with lighter skin color and darker hair color, have seen permanent reduction in hair from laser. Again, operator skill is very important, as the settings have to be tailored to each person. Although some sconsumers have seen complete hair removal in certain areas which appears to be permanent, most see a reduction in the size, amount, and color of hairs in the treated area. Again, for some consumers, this is a permanent result.

So, I believe permanent should mean any treated hair remains altered by the method forever. The question then becomes the difference between hair removal and hair reduction, which is a whole other can of worms.

Keep in mind that “permanent” is one of the most abused words in hair removal advertising, and that any method making these claims should be viewed with extra suspicion. If they claim “painless and permanent,” it is almost certainly a scam.

My last laser treatment on my arms was well over 5 years ago. I have not noticed any regrowth at all since then. Some of the hair appears to be gone, but most was reduced in size as Andrea described. (My color hair is problematic, and LOGICALLY people with dark hair would have even better results then me including much more actual removal). Yb claims in numerous posts that the FDA does not consider Laser permanent, and even refers to it as temporary. That has not been my experience, nor the experience of countless others. I’m not sure why yb states that the FDA does not consider laser to be permanent, as that contradicts this quote from ANDREA’s HAIRTELL.COM FACTS page, “Several lasers have demonstrated permanent hair reduction in clinical studies and are allowed to make this claim by FDA”

[ April 15, 2004, 01:12 AM: Message edited by: redhead ]

I guess my point of view, as a dark skinned guy, 25yrs old with a hairy back (thick, 1 inch+ long dark hair) is whether paying thousands to clear my back and ayear or so of treatment will give me a clear back for, say, 3 years, but in 5/10/20 years time it may be just as bad (perhaps because new follicles have grown?)

Do most people have permanent=forever hair removal or just the lucky,say, 20%? And do the lucky 20% still regrow hair from different follicles?

I’m not an expert, but I would assume that even if you spent the thousands of dollars to achieve permanent removal of the hair on your 25 year old back, that you would have new growth for many years to come. How much would depend on the indavidual, but you could just get “maintanence” treatments to deal with new hairs. With Electrologist and Electrology it seems as though this natural growth of new hair is just the nature of the game, and can be taken care of in stride with light maintanence. In the case of Laser, they seem to point to any new growth as proof that Laser doesn’t work, but that’s a whole other discussion. You have dark skin, and are not a good candidate for Laser anyway as you probably know, but with competent Electrology and as you said, a lot of time and money, you will get to the point where even if you grow brand new follicles it will probably never get nearly as bad as it is now, and if you just go in for a little maintanence once or twice a year, you will probably be very happy. Things like weight gain, out of wack hormones, and other factors could cause new hair to grow, beyond what genetics is going to determine.

qbb, dark skin and dark hair together make it hard to get a permanent result from laser, because the settings have be be carefully calibrated for your skin color. The laser can’t tell the difference between dark skin and dark hair, so the heat generated can cause damage to your skin as well unless your practitioner is very careful.

Electrolysis on the other hand is a very tedious process for large areas like the back. Even with a good practitioner, it’s a big commitment of time and money.

Only you can decide how much it’s worth to you to have less back hair. You might get a test patch of both and see how you react, and you might even consider getting your back waxed professionally to see if you like the look and feel, even though waxing is temporary.

Redhead, which problem do you see with what I’ve said before? It’s true, laser is not classified permanent hair removal. You already know this. Why do you keep bringing up the same argument over again?

When I said “temporary” about laser, I was talking to a particular person about a particular case. The gentleman wanted to treat his thick beard, and it seemed to me that he is not after getting his face totally smooth forever, but some reduction is all he wanted. So I suggested that he could benefit from laser, but the amount of reduction he will see in the short run after treatment will not last forever. If he will want to maintain that level of reduction he will need to come back for touch ups. So the initial level of reduction will be “temporary”. That is why I called it a temporary solution, because he will need to get his face retreated every so often to keep up the desired results.

I also wrote that if he wanted a smooth face for life his best choice would be electrolysis. It would involve more time and money in the short run, but less money and time in the long run. And I asked him if totally smooth face was what he wanted, because it seemed to me that all he wanted was a relief from the thick growth.

It seems like you collect what I and other electrologists say and take it out of context to fabricate false accusations. I stopped replying to your “attacks” a while ago, because I found myself trying to answer the same accusations over and over again. It was like whatever I or other electrologists said before was disregarded and only used to mount new “attacks”. We volunteer our time in an attempt to help other people. I believe this board is here for sharing and receiving constructive information, not for fighting imaginary opponents.

It is good that you decided to use another practitioner for your electrolysis treatments. I hope it goes well. Keep us posted on your progress. We are trying to help out the consumers like yourself, because we were consumers ourselves one day. Really.

Protest all you want, your use of the word “temporary” as a description of Laser is innappropriate based on fact as well as logic. It also contradicts the very facts you refer people to on this website( The word “temporary” is the wrong word to use, and I believe you do it in a calculated way to erode Laser’s credibility in the eyes of consumers and add to confusion. The following is a direct quote from you in a earlier post, " Laser is also not permanent according to the FDA, while electrolysis is certified permanent." Laser is cleared for PERMANENT reduction, and thus your statement is misleading if not outright false. I am quoting you and no one else. How am I taking things out of context? A large majority of what you say about Laser seems biased and slanted, if not totally false, and I’m not the only one who sees it, so please don’t accuse me of conducting some kind of persecution. I believe some of the things you say about Laser to be misleading to consumers, and I will continue to point it out.

[ April 15, 2004, 06:43 PM: Message edited by: redhead ]

qbb, I saw some new diode laser that was claimed to work on darker skins. However, I would recommend electrolysis if you want smooth skin for life. On the back, no matter how dense, there is still much less hair than on the face. It is doable and a common place to treat. But you must do your homework and find the right practitioner. And yes, in case of electrolysis permanent does equal forever.

[ April 15, 2004, 06:36 PM: Message edited by: yb ]

Can Electrolysis give permanent results?

I had a client who had hormonally induced hersuitism. She had lots of time in the electrologist’s chair in her early twenties while working on medicating her condition. At the conclusion of her treatments (medical and electrolysis) she did not have another treatment for over 20 years.

She then came to me when she completed menopause, and we did two treatments that amounted to one hour over 6 months and she says she has never seen another hair.

I don’t think Andrea and I disagree on the point that Permanent Removal of all the hairs treated, and they don’t come back is what we mean when we say Permanent Hair Removal.

It is true that a person who has something going on that will recruit previously non-hair growing follicles to start growing hair is something that electrolysis can’t prevent, but neither can Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. To fault Electrolysis for not being able to treat hairs that have never even grown once yet, is like faulting your stock broker for not proofing your retirement plan against new laws that tax your nest egg at a different rate than the one in effect when the plan was put into motion.

So let me say this for the record: L.A.S.E.R. and Electrolysis are equal on the point that they can’t render the body unable to start hairs in follicles that are not currently assigned for the task of hair growth. The case of a hair treated by electrolysis that continues to grow back (a specific hair, not just another hair growing in the same general area) is a sure sign of treatment out of phase (you just get it next time for sure), or poor technique (you just get a better practitioner).

Our complaint is that while some people are only looking to change the hair they have to be the same number, only thinner, the same number, only white, or clear, or maybe diminished in number, but not completely clear, most people searching here are looking for something that can promise to take every visible hair out of the area they are looking to treat, and leave it that way forever.

Assuming one doesn’t have a hormonal defect, and has reached the age at which hair growth is stable, Electrolysis can promis that. Even if one has a situation where there is a problem with new follcilar recruitment, once electrolysis catches up to the phase of growth, one can simply have the electrologist treat the hairs before you even see them, and in that way maintain a look of being finished while you have these pick up appointments.

I have clients who have moved on to other area, and we see that the area we started is, and stays clear. In the case of Tina Marie, the last time I saw her, we did 4 hairs in her upper lip, and perhaps 20 over the rest of her entire face from the jawline up to the ears. The neck area, where we started last, we spend less than 30 mins cleaning up hairs that were not noticeable to the average person. I was just nit picking with my stereo scope.

In short, it works.
Here is her latest photo link off her own web site.

<small>[ April 30, 2004, 04:25 PM: Message edited by: James W. Walker VII, CPE ]</small>

This needs to have this addition. Here is the FDA’s definition of “permanent hair reduction” as it pertains to Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation.

If you can read this, and come to the conclusion that this is what you are looking for when you spend thousands of dollars, then L.A.S.E.R. is for you. Otherwise, I think you will better understand why every electrologist has not become a LASER tech. After all, no one wants a better way to do this than electrologists themselves. After all, electrolysis can always create a difference that is noticeable longer than 4 to 12 months after last treatment. In fact, our best advertisement is a person who has a before picture, have one treatment, waits 12 months, and takes a second picture on the same day one year later.

Laser/Light and “permanent hair reduction”
In 1998, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) began allowing some manufacturers of hair removal lasers to use the term “permanent hair reduction." [1] FDA points out this is different than permanent hair removal:

“Several manufacturers received FDA permission to claim, ‘permanent reduction,’ NOT ‘permanent removal’ for their lasers.” [2]

Richard Felten is currently the FDA regulator responsible for lasers and light-based devices used for epilation. He recently supplied me with FDA’s definition:

“Permanent hair reduction is defined as the long-term, stable reduction in the number of hairs regrowing after a treatment regime. The number of hairs regrowing must be stable over a time greater than the duration of the complete growth cycle of hair follicles, which varies from 4-12 months according to body location. Permanent hair reduction does not necessarily imply the elimination of all hairs in the treatment area.” [3]

Mr. Felten adds that to receive this clearance, FDA requires that hair counts be measured “at 3, 6, 9, and 12 months following the last treatment.” [3]

The original FDA clearance for “permanent hair reduction” was based on a submission by Palomar Medical Technologies, Inc. , which has a “strategic partnership” with Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). MGH licenses Palomar the rights to the technology, and in addition to paying the licensing fee, Palomar gives MGH $475,000.00 a year in a contract to do research. [4] Obviously, it’s in both groups’ financial interests to promote good results, and some have suggested that this type of partnership should be more openly disclosed in published medical articles. [5]

This original MGH study observed that some subjects had a permanent reduction in the number of terminal hairs, which were observed to have been “miniaturized” into vellus hairs. This type of arbitrary non-standard definition is the reason why it was necessary to define “hair” at the onset of this section. Results depend on what your definition of “hair” is. Here is MGH/Palomar’s:

“We suggest, and hereby use, the following specific definition: “permanent” hair loss is a significant reduction in the number of terminal hairs after a given treatment that is stable for a period longer than the complete growth cycle of hair follicles at the given body site.” [6]

FDA realized most consumers would not make this distinction. Therefore, FDA reviewer Richard Felten notes in his analysis of the data:

“Because of the potential for abuse of the terminology during advertising, it was decided that a statement concerning the indication for use and what was not being granted should be included in the SE letter.” [7]

FDA also required Palomar to put the MGH data into table form, which gives a better picture of the actual results:

Study 1 [6, 8]

Findings: 13 “ideal” subjects (light skin and dark hair)

69% were not observed to have permanent hair reduction. Four of these did not complete the study for unspecified reasons.
31% were observed to have from 42% to 60% reduction in terminal hairs after two years after 1 treatment.
Permanent hair reduction was not typical in this study.
Study 2 [unpublished]

Findings: 50 “ideal” subjects

54% of those treated at 30 J/cm2 or higher were observed to have 0% to 10% reduction in terminal hairs 12 months after 2 treatments.
27% did not respond to two treatments.
Permanent hair reduction was not typical in this study.
In addition, Study 1 was the basis of two published articles, one of which proclaimed “permanent hair removal” in the title but used their qualified definitions of “permanent” and “hair” in the body of the article. [6] This article by Dierickx and others was the subject of an editorial appearing in the same journal issue. Written by two experts on alopecia, it took a critical stance regarding the methodology and assumptions made on these limited results:

“Herein lies a very real criticism of the article by Dierickx et al, who conclude that the permanent hair removal they observed resulted from conversion of terminal hairs to nonpigmented velluslike hairs. While they cite an inversion of the terminal-velluslike hair ratio and decreased average hair diameter from pretreatment to 1 year after treatment, these findings are based on 8 hair follicles counted in 2 biopsy specimens taken from a single patient. In our opinion, these are too few hairs upon which to hang one’s hat.” [9]

Tope and Hordinsky conclude: “Unfortunately, appropriately rigorous studies may be difficult to perform in the face of existing FDA market clearance of many hair removal systems.”[9]

Some consumers do experience “permanent hair reduction” from laser hair removal. The term can be useful for describing potential laser results if it’s explained properly. However, some consumers do not experience permanent hair reduction, and it’s still unknown why even some “ideal” candidates do not have this response. Unfortunately, some laser promoters misuse the phrase “permanent hair reduction” in ways that are inaccurate and confusing to consumers. This leads to unrealistic expectations in some cases, followed by inevitable disappointment when results don’t match what consumers have been led to expect.