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Electric tweezers: Not permanent - or-   How to waste lots of money needle-lessly

OK, here's the concept: grasp a hair with the electric tweezers. They're attached to a machine that produces a current, which is supposed to travel down the hair and work like electrolysis. However, you don't have to be an electrical engineer to know hair isn't a very good conductor of electricity.

FDA statement on electric tweezers

Since 1976, there have been 25 brands of electric tweezers cleared by FDA, and in 22 years, there has been no clinical data proving permanence. On October 8, 1998, the FDA stated this about the electric tweezer category: "FDA acknowledges that there is no statistically significant scientific data available at this time to support promotional claims of permanent or long-term removal of hair through use of the device."

Types of electric tweezers

For further information on each of the three categories below, click on the appropriate link.

Radio frequency electric tweezers

As seen on TV. These claim that modified AC (alternating current )can travel down a hair grasped by their tweezers, all the way to the root, where they claim the electricity works just like regular needle thermolysis. This product was first invented in 1959, and in four decades there have been no verifiable reports of permanent results.

After years of deceptive advertising by these tweezers claiming permanent results, The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) made a landmark deceptive advertising ruling against one of these companies in 1988 (Removatron).

Unfortunately, the most brazen of these companies continue to sell this bogus device as permanent, and charge from $100 and $4,000 for one of their devices. The latest catch-phrase they use is "ultrasound" or "ultrasonic" to describe their tweezers.

Brands:

Removatron

IGIA Tweezer System

Total Perfection

Finally Free

Forever Free

Aavexx

Elysee

Hair Tronics HT8000

Sonique

Feminique

Dapelle

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Galvanic electric tweezers

These claim that DC (direct current) can travel down a hair grasped by their tweezers. They claim enough current reaches the root of a hair to work just like regular galvanic electrolysis. However, hair conductivity tests have proven that this claim cannot be true. Although they say the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has allowed them to advertise as permanent, FDA has begun sending these electric tweezer companies letters requesting them not to refer to the FDA in any sales materials.

Brands:

GHR (Guaranty Hair Removal)

AHRS (American Hair Removal Systems) TE 629 and TE 429

Permanex

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Transdermal "electrolysis"

These companies originally sold galvanic tweezers, but found that the same temporary effect could be achieved without the tweezer. These claim that DC (direct current) can travel down a hair when the skin is coated in gel and an electrified Q-tip is touched to the skin (I'm not kidding). They claim enough current reaches the root of a hair to work just like galvanic needle electrolysis. However, hair conductivity tests have proven that this claim cannot be true.

Brands:

AHRS (American Hair Removal Systems) TE 629 and TE 429

Permanex

Aavexx 100, 300 and 500

Electric tweezers marketed in the U.S.

Brands in red are more common and are still actively marketed.

Device Company Date cleared 510(k) #
Dapelle Hair Remover Wellquest Intl., Inc. 12/17/97 K973773
Emjoi Beauty [?] Mobit, Inc. 12/03/97 K973340
Feminique Sonic Hair Remover Global TV Concepts, Ltd. 10/30/97 K973179
Sonique Hair Remover Global TV Concepts, Ltd. 10/30/97 K973174
Finally Free Mehl/Group Marketing 10/22/97 K972695
IGIA System Igia Direct, Inc. 07/01/97 K970338
Epi 2 Universal Hair Removal System, Inc. 02/11/97 K935706
Commander Mark II System The Helene Edgar Corp. 10/26/95 K943872
Epilator Burke Neutech, Inc. 10/19/95 K952117
Hair Tronics Model HT8000 Global Tronics International, Inc. 07/29/92 K915845
Guaranty Hair Removal System Stephens Mfg. Co. 08/05/91 K905125
AHRS Epilator 629 American Hair Removal System Co. 08/14/90 K892514
Epilator 8500 Lois Yee Cosmetics, Inc. 06/10/85 K851413
Nemdi Nemectron Medical, Inc. 10/25/84 K843734
Softepil Nemectron Medical, Inc. 10/25/84 K843735
Depilator, Derma-I & II Electro-Kinetic Eng/Mfg 01/26/81 K770791
DPA 207 Persona [Hill, Farrer & Borrill] 12/16/80 K802513
Debutron Martin Electric Co. 02/26/79 K782119
Epilation Type Device Mehl, Thomas L. 05/18/78 K780348
Depilatory, Electronic Dura Corp., The 01/03/78 K772322
Electronic Depilatory Model 101 Electronic Depilatory, Inc. 09/06/77 K771575
Electronic Depilatory Model 202 Electronic Depilatory, Inc. 02/23/77 K770186
Electronic Depilatory Model 303 Electronic Depilatory, Inc. 02/23/77 K770187
Kenatron Epilator Epilator Corp. 01/05/77 K761049
Permatron Electrolysis Machine Epco Hair Removal Corp. 09/15/76 K760423