Photoepilator devices as any hair removal device have both advantages and disadvantages. As for the advantages, a lot of people consider that the device causes less pain and has almost no side effects if compared with tweezing. Besides, if used properly it is also safer. Among its disadvantages is the absence of published medical data proving long-lasting effect. The device is also slow and rather expensive.
It is worthwhile to note that photoepilator devices were the first commercial devices which appeared due to the reseraches of laser removal hair. This device, as well as different light and laser appliances, aims at heating up melanin and blood pigments. This procedure is called photothermolysis.
The filtered light went through a fiberoptic probe which is inserted into a follicle. As the fiberoptic probe used to be disposable, it was necessary to sterilize it after each use. It was also hard to find an appropriate probe which would be strong enough not to break while fitting into a follicle. Modern versions of the device possess a special fiberoptic wire which is held right above a follicle.
In 1969 there was an attempt to create a photoepilator. However, the project was cancelled because it was perceived as producing a short-term effect. Still the sample was developed and was called Omicron Systems.
A year later the omicron sample was finalized and tested. In April 1971 the Health Department of California approved it. And in November of the same year the pattern was put into commercial use for the first time.
Soon the first problems arose, mostly they were connected with the probes. As the first probes used to be rather thick, they could not be flexible enough and were not able to stand heat. It was necessary to sterilize them for an hour both in the water and in disinfectant before usage. It was also necessary to be very careful not to break the probes while cooling. So, the devices were really far from being efficient.
Because of all these hardships Omicron stopped the production and sale of the devices in 1972. It was declared that Omicron`s efficiency and procedures of sterilization were unsatisfactory. In September 1972 the company officially acknowledged its withdrawal from the market.
In 1973 the producing company was filed a lawsuit against by some people who owned the device. The owners received refunds after they returned the samples. But after the court procedure, photoepilator devices were resold to a different company which continued selling the devices under another name. In 1990 the company received a warning letter from FDA. The letter stated that all the claims about efficiency of the device were false.
In 1999 another company got FDA permission for the photoepilator device which is currently sold as a medical device. It is now promoted as a device for the removal of body hair. It is a painless, non-invasive method. Light based energy is employed to remove hair follicles. But still there is no proof that the photoepilators are able to remove hair permanently.