Information sources on hair removal

Information sources

It’s very hard to separate the facts from the quacks, so I recommend relying on published, peer-reviewed medical literature for the most reliable information. I’ve listed a handful of websites which have compiled reliable information, and I’ve also listed some of the worst offenders for spreading misinformation.

The “A” List

The following websites provide what I consider the best and most accurate information.

General information

National Institute of Health (PubMed): Published medical articles on hair removal.

US Food and Drug Administration: The primary federal regulator of hair removal products. Specifically:

Electric tweezer reclassification
Laser Facts
Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow (older overview from 1996– some information is outdated)

Federal Trade Commission. It has limited hair removal information.

American Association of Family Physicians: This trade group has published a brief but balanced handout on managing excessive hair (hirsutism).

Laser/IPL

Shore Laser Center: Practitioner Albert Poet, M.D. has an excellent laser overview.

Laser Hair Removal Guide: a good overview by a California physician.

Waccamaw Dermatology: a balanced overview by a clinic offering laser hair removal.

e-Laser Hair Removal has started a nice site with some good consumer tips.

laserhairremovalreview.com. Sales site run by IPL/flashlamps Dr. Harvey Jay, who advocates IPL/flash lamps

Electrolysis

American Electrology Association: This trade group has an excellent electrolysis overview.

International Hair Route: this trade magazine first-rate information, with a focus on electrolysis

electrolysisreferral.com: A site with a good FAQ and directory, though the forum should be avoided.

 

Hair loss?

For those of you going the other direction, here’s a couple of great sites about hair loss:

BaldRUs.com: A baldness-acceptance site.

Regrowth.com: Focuses on options for those who do not wish to accept their baldness.

Non-recommended hair removal information sources

Internet Bulletin Boards

Because it’s so hard to verify the identity or truthfulness of those posting to internet forums, I do not recommend relying on these for accurate information. Among the worst are:

Electrolysis Referral Directory Forum

Most posts are anonymous, and misinformation sometimes goes unchallenged.

Kitty’s Consumer Beware!

This is by far the most insidious of the hair removal quack sites. The owner uses the alias “Katherine `Kitty’ Cook” and designed it to look like a consumer activist’s site, right down to the site name. In reality, “Kitty” used to sell  GHR electric tweezers and still hosts the GHR promotional sites. [1] In 1997, the FDA found GHR materials “Kitty” hosted to be in violation of federal regulations. [2] The most obvious proof of quackery is that “Kitty” allows GHR to promote itself with disputed studies brazenly stolen word-for-word. [3]

However, the very worst part of this site is the  “Beware Board.” It’s a censored forum where fact and quackery blend into an inseparable mess. A handful of “moderators” (mostly her web hosting clients) oversee the forums. Unsuspecting consumers assume it’s a reliable source of information, but that’s not always the case.

Examples of quackery

Claims by “Kitty” that the GHR electric tweezer she used to sell “worked for me.”
Claims by “Kitty” that a test of a topical “hair inhibitor” is working for her.
The “discovery” that a mixture of dandruff shampoo and mouthwash will inhibit hair growth.
The “discovery” that taking papain and bromelain dietary supplements will inhibit hair growth.
The observation that deodorant is linked to hair growth inhibition.
Glowing reports from practitioners and salespeople about their overwhelmingly great results.

For much more on this quack site, check out my Kitty’s Consumer Beware! analysis

Kalo “Hair Inhibitor” Forum

This forum helps make Kalo’s unproven health claims seem more plausible. The real question to ask is where are the people who are done and happy? You will not find a single consumer who is one year after final Kalo application who has had the permanent hair removal they claim.

Signs of a quack hair removal product

Too good to be true: Permanent hair removal methods requiring no skill and causing no pain or side effects simply do not exist at this time.

No published clinical data

“Before and after” pictures: These usually do not include enough data to determine your own results.

Marketing ploys: “Exclusive” methods only available at special outlets and coined words like “transdermolysis” and “lasertrolysis.”

Testimonials: “Satisfied customers” with no contact information to verify their testimonials.

High prices: Some promoters set a high price, because it makes some consumers assume it must work if it costs so much.

Guaranteed 100% results: No method can unconditionally guarantee satisfactory hair removal in all consumers.

Manufacturer sites that contain misinformation

Coeptis: Sells transdermal hair removal, as well as cancer and AIDS “cures.”

International Hair Removal Systems (IHRS): Sells transcutaneous hair removal on this slick-looking site. See also the affiliated HairLabs and Harmonix quack sites.

Removatron: Compare this electric tweezer quack’s version of his company’s history with the Federal Trade Commission’s version.

Guaranty Hair Removal (GHR): This electric tweezer quack displays “clinical data” that a competitor also claims to have written!

Ultra Hair Away: dozens of sites, but no proof this topical “hair inhibitor” by Victoria Bodyworks works.

Kalo: Another doubtful topical “hair inhibitor” by Nisim, with a bulletin board.

Global Electrolysis Supply: They sell a brand of almost every quack hair removal product from a mail drop box.

IGIA: The king of hair removal quackery, including the Touch n’ Go electric tweezer and Epil-stop “hair inhibitor.”

Lucy Peters: Claims this electrolysis technique is “immediately permanent.”

I will add more as time permits. If you have a suggestion, please send it via my  feedback form.

References

1. Please see my  Consumer Beware site analysis.

2. Letter from FDA Compliance Officer Steven Budabin dated 15 January 1997.  Available online.

3. Compare GHR  “studies” on Kitty’s Consumer Beware with 1990  FDA submission data from GHR competitor AHRS.

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