How to waste thousands of dollars needle-lessly!
Hairfacts: GHR main page
- Guaranty Hair Removal (GHR) is a brand of electric tweezer marketed by Stephens Manufacturing and retailing for $3,500.00. GHR is also marketed under the name Smooth n’ Silkie as a model for home use, retailing for $2,300.00.
- There are no verifiable consumer reports of permanent hair removal using GHR or any other brand of electric tweezers.
- GHR machines cost up to $3,500.00, and their salon treatments cost $45 – $75 per hour. Although these prices equal or exceed needle electrolysis machines and treatment, GHR has not demonstrated permanent results. Oh, and sorry, no refunds.
- GHR bases their claim of permanence on a 9-week test. The test itself has been rescinded by the originator, because it was never intended as a measure of a product’s permanence, but was merely a self-test for needle electrologists to check if their treatment was effective.
- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) accepted "9 weeks" as GHR’s definition of permanent hair removal when GHR was cleared to market in 1991. In 1998, FDA ruled that electric tweezers show "no evidence of statistically significant data showing that the device is effective in achieving permanent removal of hair." FDA has been slow in reconciling this tweezer reclassification ruling with their contradictory 1991 ruling.
- I believe 9 weeks is too short to be considered permanent as the word applies to hair removal. My working definition of permanent (wherever it’s highlighted in bold on this page) is "no additional treatment required for one year after final treatment."
If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. In the case of electric tweezers like GHR,
which claim permanent hair removal without any of the difficulties of electrolysis and without any training,
it most definitely is too good to be true. But that doesn’t stop people from spending $3,500.00 to find out the hard way.
Several companies sell these non-permanent galvanic tweezers, but the prime offender in this category is Guaranty Hair Removal (GHR).
They are the most brazen in making unsubstantiated claims and in not complying with Federal authorities.
Since all electric tweezers work the same way, I have chosen the most prominent company to represent all unsubstantiated claims by galvanic electric tweezers.
(note: This appendix assumes you are familiar with hair physiology. If you aren’t, please read my brief primer about hairs first.
Also, when the word "permanent" is in bold in this document, it is based on my working definition of "able to go one year between treatments without using any method of hair removal.")
Lye detectors, part 1: two hair conductivity clinical tests
The British TS group Looking Glass Society states: "It can readily be demonstrated from electrical theory
and some simple bio-electrical measurements, that it is quite impossible to transfer enough energy into
the follicle by this method to destroy it, even at the maximum voltage permitted by law."
Quite true. I’ve included two experiments below which prove just that.
To be considered valid, results of a scientific experiment must be reproduced. I have found two attempts to
reproduce GHR’s in-house experiments on hair conductivity. Both experiments show that hair has far too
little conductivity for galvanic tweezers to cause permanent hair removal.
Christa Dyne is a transsexual woman who runs a plant that manufactures electrical components such as high-voltage
multi-junction diodes and has extensive knowledge of electrical engineering. She writes that the problem with devices
like GHR is that "it all boils down to a rather severe impedance mismatch problem." Says Christa:
There’s two pretty major problems here. First, human hair is highly resistant, far more so than skin – well
into the gigaohm per square centimeter range would be my guess (I’ll have to measure it sometime).
Even at ten KVs, and I don’t imagine their machine goes anywhere near that high, you’d be hard pressed to
deliver anything over the low picoamp range – if that – by using hair as a "conductor".
Secondly, electricity always follows the path of least resistance. Hair is highly resistive, skin less so.
Hair meets skin, so much for delivering a DC signal to the root.
In other words, it’s a cute idea but there ain’t no way I can see that it could possibly work.
This is excerpted from Christa’s comments as they appear on my TE page. Thanks to Christa for her input!
GHR quotes Dr. James Schuster, one of their most vocal critics, out of context at their sales site.
Now that’s chutzpah! Ted Molczan, a fellow consumer from Toronto, has been good enough to put the comment back in context below.
On its web site, GHR quotes James E. Schuster, MD, of Electrolysis Research, Inc.:
"Between 2 and 10 microamps of galvanic current will go through a hair. Ten microamps for 60 seconds will produce 6 units of lye."
The purpose of this quote seems to be to suggest that the well-known electrolysis doctor said hair is able to conduct
a tiny galvanic (DC) current, to produce a significant amount of lye, which is what destroys the dermal papilla at
the base of the follicle. But this statement would be more meaningful taken in context. Luckily, I recently borrowed
a copy of a video tape of a lecture by Dr. Schuster, in which that quote is repeated.
Schuster conducted a series of experiments to answer these questions: Can human hair conduct electrical energy?
If so, would that energy reach the dermal papilla? If so, would there be sufficient energy to kill hair.
He began by trying to pass a 300 V current through a dry hair, and measured both the resistance and the current.
He reported the resistance was 10 to 100 Mega ohms, which is very high. He was not able to detect any current with a micro amp meter.
Next, he treated hairs by soaking them in salt water and other electrically conductive solutions for 10 to 15 minutes, and repeated the experiment.
Resistance decreased to a still high 10 Mega ohms, but he could measure a tiny current, between 2 and 10 micro amps. This is the source of the quote by GHR.
He went on to calculate the number of units of lye that would be produced over 60 seconds, at 10 micro amps, using a formula proposed
by A.R. Hinkle, one of the inventors of The Blend modality. The presentation did not state the formula explicitly, but judging by the examples I saw, I infer that it is:
Units of lye = UL = 10 x I x T,
I = current in milli amps; T = time in seconds
Since 10 micro amps = .01 mA, 60 seconds would produce 10 x 0.01 x 60 = 6 UL.
This too appeared in the quote on the GHR web site. But the quote omitted these two important qualifications.
First, he pointed out this is a very low amount of lye, and that even the finest peach fuzz hair would require
15 UL to be killed, or 2.5 minutes – a very long time! – at the 10 micro amp current. But most importantly,
Schuster stated that this was assuming that all of this current could actually reach the papilla in a human.
I believe GHR should have included these essential qualifying statements, thus I already have grounds for reasonable doubt.
Next, for greater realism, Schuster repeated the experiment on a live human. The skin was prepared by scrubbing to remove any oil,
and the hair was treated with a conductive solution. The tweezers were treated with an electro-conductive jelly to maximize the
electrical connection with the hair. The patient held one of the electrodes to complete the circuit.
As in the previous tests, Schuster reported resistance between 10 to 100 Mega ohms. He was able to measure a very small
current, never exceeding 0.01 mA, and typically between 0.002 and 0.004 mA. Using Hinkle’s formula, I calculate that
15 UL would require 375 seconds, or 6.3 minutes – to remove a single peach-fuzz hair, and again making the huge
assumption that the energy actually reached the papilla. Since GHR did not quote this more realistic experiment, I find still more grounds for reasonable doubt.
Schuster also had a test apparatus which included a substance which simulated the electrical and chemical properties of human skin,
which turned purple in the presence of electrical current, and which produced hydrogen gas bubbles when electrolysis was taking place.
He inserted actual human hair follicles into this material, and then grasped the protruding hair with 300 V galvanic tweezers,
and visually demonstrated that no current flowed into the follicle. In one example, to prove that there was voltage in the tweezers,
he touched them to the simulated skin, which produced a purple glow emanating in a circular pattern into the "skin".
The current did not follow the path of the follicle, but merely dissipated into the "skin", taking the path of least resistance.
Since the skin is a good conductor, and hair is a non-conductor, that is what would be expected. In contrast, when
a galvanic electrolysis needle was inserted, gas bubbles and a purple glow were evident, over the entire length of the follicle.
The effects increased as current increased.
I found Dr. Schuster’s experiments very convincing. Of course I was not present when they were conducted, so I cannot prove
they were not faked. However, GHR obviously had faith in the doctor, but seems to have "cherry-picked" those of his results
that would improve the credibility of their device.
So after weighing the evidence, I find that GHR, and tweezer promoters in general, have failed to meet their burden of proof
of permanent results, moreover, there are plenty of grounds for reasonable doubt, especially for use of an erroneous clinical
protocol, and selectively quoting Dr. Schuster out of context.
- http://powerpub.com/resource.htm ??
This site is maintained a person who goes by the name "Kitty." "Kitty" bills herself as a representative of both GHR
and KaleidoGrafix, a web design firm. "Kitty" shares a toll-free phone number with Judith Stephens.
"Kitty" and Judith post on the same topics frequently, usually in defense of each other.
Although this site is designed to look like it’s a consumer advocacy site, it is clearly sponsored by several unproven hair removal devices.
"Kitty" has admitted she sells GHR machines, as if that weren’t obvious at her site.
This site had a link called "TG Issues." After I put up this site, "Kitty" was smart enough to remove it.
If it returns, or if I hear of TG consumers who have been ripped off by this product, I will make it my new hobby to see that Judith,
and accomplices like "Kitty" are held accountable for any illegal and unethical activity directed toward our community.
There are also several salons with web sites advertising GHR treatment. I’ll deal with those down the road.
A new low, even by GHR standards
In November, 1998, Judith Stephens put up a site called Needle Nazi. Apparently, Judith and her pal Kitty think it’s OK, even funny, to compare their business competitors to Nazis.
Their disclaimer says: "This website is maintained by the Allied Forces, comprised of the victims of Nazi warfare, and representative of many non-nazi manufacturers."
Judith and Kitty say their little analogy is "in deference to, and with respect for the six million jews who perished under the tyranny of Nazi Germany."
Wonder if they’d buy that line of crap on the soc.culture.jewish newsgroup or down at the Anti-Defamation League?
Talk about a couple of morons who just don’t get it. Let’s hope this one comes down.
Your first clue what GHR is all about (hint: $$$$$)
Your first clue about Stephens’ motivation can be found as soon as you enter her site.
The very first thing you see at the GHR site is a photo of a GHR machine with animated dollar signs spewing out. The accompanying sentence says it all:
"Does this look like an ATM machine to you?"
It certainly has been for GHR’s owner Judith Stephens, who uses it to make withdrawals from the accounts of misled consumers, to the tune of $2,300.00 to $3,500.00.