ThermoLase was one of the first companies to bring out a hair removal laser in the USA, under the SoftLght brand. They are no longer involved in this business.
1994: Great expectations
ThermoLase goes public on the American Stock Exchange under symbol TLZ on June 13. First-day close: $3.75
1995: A rush to market
SoftLight was the first laser cleared by FDA for hair removal in April 1995. It was rushed to market without adequate testing and marketed illegally as permanent and painless.
Consumers, believing the hype or theoretical potential, rushed in to try treatment, basically paying to be guinea pigs. Many consumers perceived an improvement during treatment, and even after treatment, some were convinced they’d had permanent results.
1996: So far, so good
Aided by significant press generated by PR firm, ThermoLase motivates a lot of consumer trial.
Stock closes all-time high of $36.38
1997: Actual results start coming in
A clinical study observed no long-term results using an Nd:YAG ( Nanni, 1997).
SoftLight came out with a version 2.0 that eliminated pre-treatment waxing, but this turned out to be just as ineffective for long-term results.
1998: The fallout
ThermoLase relocates from San Diego, California to Carrollton, Texas.
ThermoLase CEO Gerald Feldman admits that “the hair-removal results we achieved in the commercial marketplace would not support our premium pricing.”
In April 1998, ThermoLase repositioned SoftLight as “an effective hair-management strategy.” According to Feldman, “From 1995 through the spring of 1998, we sought to gain company exposure through advertisements and story placements in popular health, fashion, and beauty magazines, as well as through the national news media.
On May 26, 1998, a class action complaint was filed against ThermoLase in California by a dissatisfied client, claiming they "advertised SoftLight laser hair removal as long lasting with the knowledge that such treatments did not achieve that result." ThermoLase settled out of court in late 1998.
June 1998, ThermoLase acquired The Greenhouse Spa. ThermoLase also owned and operated Spa Thira salons throughout the country which used SoftLight until their unprofitability forced them to spin them off. In summer, 1998, ThermoLase announced the closing of its original Spa Thira in La Jolla, CA, along with others in affluent communities. The few remaining ThermoLase spas are folded into full-service Greenhouse spas.
On page 28 of their December 18, 1998 10k ThermoLase states: “The Company has received complaints from several of its physician licensees, joint venture partners, and consumers stating that that the Company’s SoftLight hair-removal process has not met their expectations. Some of these parties have filed lawsuits against the Company.”
On December 30, 1998, Gary S. Weinstein, Thermo Electron Chairman and CEO stated, “The greatest source of disappointment has been the poor financial performance of our ThermoLase subsidiary, which had a net loss of $41.2 million for fiscal 1998.”
1999: The fallout continues
ThermoLase announces complete restructuring following losses totaling over $41 million in 1998.
They sell off Greenhouse Spas, terminate licensing program.
ThermoLase announces they will become a wholly-owned private subsidiary of Thermo Electron.
2000: The party’s over
On August 15, ThermoLase was taken off the American Stock Exchange at $2.75. Since it high in 1996, the stock had lost over 92% of its value.
I got the following from the thermo.com webmaster on 20 May 2003:
Andrea, please update the information on this page. Thermo Electron does not own Thermo Lase any more.
Old contact information (UK)
- Address: ThermoLase U.K, Ltd. 45-47 Chevel Place, Knightsbridge London SW7 1EW UNITED KINGDOM
- Telephone: +44 20 7581 4499
- Fax: +44 20 75 81 5118
- website: http://www.softlight.co.uk/
- 2055 C Luna Road, Carrollton, TX 75006 (phone 617-622-1000)
- 9550 Distribution Ave, San Diego CA92121 (phone 619-587-5885)
- Old site (now defunct) http://www.thermolase.com/
- Spa Thira locations (now Greenhouse)
- Greenhouse Spas(9 day spas and original destination spa in Arlington, TX ) http://www.thegreenhousespa.com/
SoftLight Nd:YAG laser
- Wavelength: 1604 nanometers
- Repetition Rate: 1 Hz, 2 Hz 5 Hz, 10Hz, single shot
- Pulse duration: 12-18 nsec (nominal)
- Fluence: 2.5 to 3.0J/cm2 max
- Beam diameter: 7mm
- Energy Instability: 19% maximum for 98% of pulses
- Safety goggles: OD 8.0 @ 1064nm (minimum)
- Electrical requirements: 100/120 VAC, 50/60 Hz nominal, 15 A max.
- 220 or 240 VAC, 50/60 Hz nominal, 8 A max.
- Ambient operating temperature: 10