Transcutaneous hair removal can also be called as non-invasive electrolysis, no-needle electrolysis, "continuous" and "hands-free" hair removal.This device is widely promoted by different beauticians and at various magazines and trade shows.
Promoters claim that transcutaneous hair removal is permanent and painless. They say it is clinically proven and has no side effects. The transcutaneous method is considered to be more effective than electrolysis. Promoters are sure hair is able to conduct enough electricity to kill the root.
Transcutaneous method was founded as an alternative to electric tweezers. The device contained an electric cotton swab, making the results, similar to its predecessor's. Originally, the method was called transdermal and the newly modified device was sold together with the apparatus of electric tweezers as an "optional treatment".
Transcutaneous hair removal method (as well as other quack devices) is partly based on the scientific method which is known and accepted. Direct current which is applied to an electrified adhesive patch is used by patches to deliver drugs transdermally. This method is widely used in the situations which require delivering medications. This method is an alternative to simple injections. For example, one company, making remedies for children, delivers lidocaine anesthetic without employing a needle. This scientific innovation attracted the attention of people promoting transcutaneous hair removal. They understood that no-needle anesthesia could give them an opportunity to expand the charlatanry of the no-needle electrolysis they had been advertising for so many years. So, they patented this innovation and started thinking over their marketing strategy instead of testing it.
The apparatus is still sold illegally as permanent and painless. However, FDA did not approve of these claims. In the late 1990's the method name was changed to transcutaneous. The name of the apparatus became SuperPhaser Gold.
In 2001 FDA informed the producing company of the fact that their claims about permanent and painless method of hair removal, exercised by means of transcutaneous patches, violated the federal law. It was the second warning of FDA. No clinical data proves that transdermal and transcutaneous are permanent methods of hair removal.
Besides, promoters' claims contradict to laws of nature and physics. Skin is considered to be a better conductor than hair. And as electricity chooses the way of the least resistance, the energy does not go down the hair. It would rather disperse all over the gel spread on the skin.
It is not surprising that proven methods of permanent hair removal hurt. A lot of energy is necessary to eliminate the hair follicle. So, the contact of this energy with a great number of nerves, situated near the follicle, causes pain. Even plucking, which is considered as temporary, hurts. The procedure of transcutaneous hair removal does not hurt because the amount of energy is not big enough to disturb nerves, let alone permanent hair removal.