- Good for legs and arms
- Can last from several days to several weeks.
- Can be hard to use on backs of legs
- Skin must be pulled tight to avoid pinching
- Some find it uncomfortable, especially on sensitive areas
- Harder to use on fine hairs
- Hair must be grown long enough for tweezers to grasp
- Plucking hairs can lead to irritated skin and ingrown hairs.
- $40.00 to $120.00
Common commercially available methods include:
- Shaving (manual or electric)
- Trimming (manual or electric)
- Depilatories (creams or "shaving powders" which chemically dissolve hair)
Title: Sequelae of radiation facial epilation (North American Hiroshima maiden syndrome).
Authors: Rosen IB, Walfish PG
Journal: Surgery 1989 Dec;106(6):946-50
PMID: 2588120, UI: 90069848
Affiliated institution: Department of Surgery, Mount Sinai Hospital, University of Toronto School of Medicine, Ontario, Canada.
Radiation for benign problems of the head and neck area has been uniformly recognized as unacceptable practice. This includes epilation for facial hirsutism. Twelve such patients, recently encountered, have characteristic radiodermatitis facies and have demonstrated multisite neoplastic involvement--including skin, thyroid, parathyroid, salivary gland, oral cavity, facial skeleton, and breast--and have also undergone extensive dermatologic treatment of complications of radiodermatitis. There was one cancer death, and three patients are alive with cancer. Such patients have a superficial resemblance to the Hiroshima maiden group of young women who survived atomic bombing and experienced severe facial burns, necessitating extensive plastic surgery. As atomic survivors they are at increased risk for cancer of thyroid, salivary gland, lung, breast, bone marrow, and gastrointestinal tract. The North American Hiroshima maiden should warrant easy clinical recognition and require lifetime scrutiny for multisite neoplastic disease.
Title: Vale epilatio. X-ray epilation of the scalp at Goldie Leigh Hospital, Woolwich (1922-58).
Authors: Shanks SC
Journal: Br J Dermatol 1967 Apr;79(4):237-8
PMID: 5337583, UI: 67139661
Title: Follow-up study of patients treated by X-ray epilation for tinea capitis: psychiatric and psychometric evaluation.
Authors: Omran AR, Shore RE, Markoff RA, Friedhoff A, Albert RE, Barr H, Dahlstrom WG, Pasternack BS
Journal: Am J Public Health 1978 Jun;68(6):561-7
PMID: 655315, UI: 78184799
To investigate the late effects of radiation to the head upon subclinical mental disorders, a psychiatric and psychometric evaluation was performed on 177 cases treated 10-29 years earlier for ringworm of the scalp by X-ray therapy (N :109) or, by chemotherapy (N :68). Analyses which controlled for educational level and family psychiatric disorders showed that, among whites, the irradiated group manifested more psychiatric symptoms and more deviant MMPI (Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory) scores. They were also judged more maladjusted from their MMPI profiles, and more frequently had a history of treated psychiatric disorders; however, the psychiatrist's overall rating of current psychiatric status showed only a borderline differnece between the two groups. There were no significant differences between irradiated and chemotherapy treated blacks.
Title: Roentgen-rays in the treatment of skin diseases and for the removal of hair. July 1900 (J Cutan Genitourin Dis).
Authors: Pusey WA
Journal: Arch Dermatol 1983 Feb;119(2):162-77
PMID: 6337564, UI: 83125647
Historical article, Biography.
Title: The Tricho System
Author: McCoy, Bob
Publisher: Museum of Questionable Medical Devices Online
Note: available online at the Museum of Questionable Medical Devices)
The Museum of Questionable Medical Devices
201 Main St. S.E., Minneapolis, Minnesota
612-379-4046 (museum) 763-545-1113 (office) 763-540-9999 (fax)
Hours: Tues-Thurs: 5-9 PM, Fri - Sat: Noon-9:00 PM, Sun: Noon to 5:00 PM
The Museum of Questionable Medical Devices maintains an online collection of ephemera, including original promotional material for The Tricho System, a popular x-ray depilatory system now banned for causing cancer, disfigurement and death. I have excerpted passages, but you should go there just to see the Pictures.
Some of the passages (especially the summary) read as if they were taken from electric tweezer promotional literature today. (bold passages - emphasis mine).
"By 1925 there were over 75 installations of the Tricho machines in beauty shops across the country including Minneapolis and Duluth. These 'studios' used direct x-rays focused on th cheek and upper lip of the woman who wanted to permanently remove superfluous hair. Women had an average of 20 treatments each. A single large dose or smaller doses repeated over long periods of time could cause damage to tissues that were not noticeable at the time but often came to light years after the administration of the Roentgen rays. This injury often became manifest as pigmentation, wrinkling atrophy, keratoses, ulcerations, carcinoma, and death. In 1929, the AMA alerted its members to Tricho injuries and collected dozens of case studies - most of the victims were young women, ages 18-30. Reports of women injured by Tricho treatments appeared in the medical journals into the 1940's."
Excerpts from Tricho Literature (circa 1920)
"All normal women desire to be beautiful, or at least to attain the highest degree of beauty that can be achieved by any practical means. Impelled by this desire, great numbers of women have resorted to futile, dangerous and injurious means of removing disfiguring superfluous hair. It was the existence of such conditions that impelled Albert C. Geyser, M.D., to devote his knowledge and ability to the perfecting of a practically safe and thoroughly effective method of removing superfluous hair hair. That he was entirely successful in this is shown by the fact that in the course of the past six years, in New York City alone, 20,000 areas of superfluous hair have been cleared permanently, and without a single failure. Equal success has been achieved in thousands of cases throughout the country, by means of this Tricho System of Treatment."
ALBERT C. GEYSER, M.D.,
Medical Director of the Tricho System, Formerly Professor of Physiological Therapy and Chief of Clinic at Fordham University; Lecturer and Chief of Electro and Roentgenray Clinic at Cornell College; Lecturer and Chief of the Electro and Radio Therapy Clinic at the New York Polyclinic, Etc.
Everybody knows that success and happiness in life have been denied to multitudes of otherwise lovely women through growths of disfiguring hair, and that mental distress suffered in consequence has served to break the health of many. It is generally known, also, that various treatments with chemicals, wax, electricity and other methods frequently have produced effects worse than those they were intended to correct.
Many years ago the discovery was made that the X-ray would destroy hair roots, preventing further growth. It was found, however, that serious injury might be cause by S-ray treatment for this purpose. Albert C. Geyser, M.D., internationally famous X-ray expert and lecturer on radiology in various universities, devoted himself to the perfecting of means to make the X-Ray treatment as safe and harmless as it was effective, and in this he was brilliantly successful. The Tricho System of Treatment is the result. This dries up the hair roots in a manner similar to that of gradually getting bald, instead of attempting their sudden and violent destruction.
Tricho System Endorsed by the Medical Profession
The apparatus of the TRICHO SYSTEM and the technic of its operation have been examined by many leading physicians, all of whom have endorsed the method. The attitude of the medical profession is well illustrated by the fact that Tricho treatments have been given to the wives, daughters and sisters of physicians.
- TRICHO SYSTEM removes superfluous hair permanently.
- No scars or other injury to the most delicate skin.
- No pain-no inconvenience. Treatments are void of any sensation whatever.
- All treatments given by operators trained under personal supervision of Albert C. Geyser, M.D.
- Treatments last but a few minutes.
- Endorsed by physicians and beauty experts.
- Treatments given not oftener than every two weeks.
- Fifteen treatments sufficient in the great majority of cases.
- Permanent removal of superfluous hair guaranteed.
Title: Radiation sensitivity of human hair follicles in SCID-hu mice.
Authors: Kyoizumi S, Suzuki T, Teraoka S, Seyama T
Journal: Radiat Res 1998 Jan;149(1):11-8
PMID: 9421149, UI: 98081502
Affiliated institution: Department of Radiobiology, Radiation Effects Research Foundation, Hiroshima, Japan.
We developed an experimental model for studying the growth and epilation of the human hair follicle by implanting human scalp tissue onto immunodeficient C.B-17 scid/scid mice. The skin grafts showed continuous growth of black human hairs for at least 1 year and maintained the normal histological structure of a human hair follicle and other tissues associated with the skin. Using this in vivo model, we evaluated the effect of irradiation on the function of human hair follicles. Localized X irradiation (1 to 6 Gy) induced hair loss dose-dependently and synchronously in the third week after irradiation. The hairs undergoing epilation showed a gradual decrease in width toward the root. The minimum width at the thinnest portion of the surviving hair 4 weeks after irradiation suggested that epilation resulted from the breaking of hairs when the hair width decreased to less than 20 microm. After the highest-dose irradiation, the normal structure of the hair bulb was totally abrogated, and long and narrow epithelial tissues associated with regressed papillary cells remained. The surviving epithelia were morphologically similar to the outer epithelial sheath of the follicle associated with palisadic basal cell layers. In the third week some cells in the basal layers of the surviving epithelium in each follicle expressed proliferating cell nuclear antigen. By about 9 weeks after irradiation, the complete structure of the follicle regenerated, with hair growth activity even in the grafts irradiated at the highest dose, although about 30% of the hairs did not regrow. These findings suggest that follicular stem cells that survive high-dose exposure in the sheath-like epithelial tissue can reproduce the complete follicle structure. This animal model can be used to assess the effects of radiation exposure on human skin and to identify and characterize human follicular stem cells.
Title: Radiation-induced temporary epilation after a neuroradiologically guided embolization procedure.
Authors: Huda W, Peters KR
Journal: Radiology 1994 Dec;193(3):642-4
Affiliated institution: Department of Radiology, College of Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville 32610-0374.
PMID: 7972801, UI: 95063028
A 34-year-old woman underwent embolization of a left paraorbital arteriovenous malformation guided with a bi-plane x-ray system in two sessions separated by 3 days. Imaging included 110 minutes of fluoroscopy and 46 digital subtraction angiography acquisitions. Entrance skin dose rates were determined with measurements performed on a skull phantom. The maximum possible skin dose was estimated to be 6.6 Gy, which is consistent with the temporary epilation in the right occipital region of the skull reported by the patient approximately 5 weeks later.