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Light Based Therapies Come Home

Posted by moddoctor On February - 27 - 2008

In the last week, the FDA has approved two devices for home use that perform functions previously found only in doctors offices.

The first device, Tria, is a home laser for hair removal. Spectragenics, the device’s manufacturer claims that the device is just as safe and effective as treatment in a physician’s office but can be done safely at home. This is really somewhat unlikely. Safe, effective laser treatment of any kind, hair removal included, requires a degree of expertise to tune the device for not only the hair but to protect the pigment in the skin from injury.  The most effective hair removal pushes right to the edge of safety but not over. This has been a major issue for states regulating laser clinics, who should perform the service, how much training they need and who deals with problems should they arise? Putting this treatment at home will no doubt trade effectiveness of an added margin of safety. At $1000, it might be better to spend the money on professional laser hair removal rather than a “safe” home device.

The other device GentleWaves, from LightBiosciences, is a home based LED device that is purported to stimulate collagen production. The device provides relatively intense but safe red and infra-red light that the manufacturer specifically claims improves the appearance of fine lines around the eyes. This technology is a little more interesting for home use. LED photomodulation devices have been available for physician use for several years and home GentleWaves can provide that exact same level of treatment. There’s no issue with eye or skin injury that are present with lasers because the LEDs provide a much safer level of light intensity. Whether photomodulation matters is something that the medical literature is still mixed on, but it is definitely not dangerous. If GentleWaves treatment is something that you were considering purchasing, getting your own home device might be money well spent.

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