Laser hair removal at home? New gadget makes it possible 

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I have a secret fear of becoming incapacitated and rendered helpless to partake in my daily shaving ritual. I try not to think about it too much, but in the wee hours of the morning when my neurotic tendencies have sufficiently disrupted my REM cycle, the issue creeps into the forefront of my consciousness.

Thankfully, I'm not alone in my quest to be a hairless wonder. According to Joel Schlessinger, M.D. and Board Certified Dermatologist and Cosmetic Surgeon of Omaha, NE unwanted hair is a problem many of have. "I have patients who have spent considerable time and resources trying to remove unwanted hair. It's a problem for many people, but it's something we are often too embarrassed to admit," Schlessinger says.

Blame it on a culture that shuns those with overactive hair follicles, but unwanted hair is a problem that stresses both women and men alike. A 2011 survey conducted by the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery ranked laser hair removal fifth on the list of necessary and cosmetic procedures.

From waxing to depilatory creams to shaving, hair removal is a billion dollar industry. For most of us, permanent and minimally painful (otherwise known as laser hair removal) is the Holy Grail hair removal we all wish we could afford.

Prayers for smooth and silky were answered when Tria Beauty introduced the Tria Hair Removal Laser System. Using a laser outside the realm of a doctor's office? Initially, I was skeptical, but I learned Tria is the only laser hair removal system on the market approved by the FDA for home use.

Ray of light

"Lasers are a beam of concentrated light used to penetrate the hair follicle and destroy the hair within the follicle. It works best on brown or black hair. We don't recommend it for white, blonde or gray hair because there's not enough pigment in the hair to absorb the light from the laser," said Schlessinger, who has participated in several clinical trials of the Tria device. "This is an exciting time for laser hair removal. It's never been so easy or effective."

Schlessinger says laser hair removal done in a clinical setting can range from $100 to $500 per office visit, per area. "Usually you need to treat a specific area four to five times before you start seeing results. I find patients have great results when they come into my office to have large areas treated and then follow-up at home with the Tria. But even if you skip the office, the Tria is effective for permanent results," he noted.

In January, Tria introduced an upgraded model FDA-cleared for treating the face and neck, as well as the body. The Tria Hair Removal Laser 4X features a new Pulse Counter and the same diode laser technology preferred by dermatologists to deliver permanent results at home. It retails for $450.

"A system like this pays for itself very quickly. It's effective and safe for home use, is economical and allows you privacy and ability to partake in treatment on your schedule," conceded Schlessinger.

The verdict is ...

In October, I was given the Tria Hair Removal Laser 3X to try. It features the same cutting edge technology as the current model, but is not intended to be used on the face. Instead, I used it on my arms and legs regularly about every six weeks.

Pros: It is super easy to use. After you read the instructions, register your model and charge the battery, you are ready. You can control the intensity of the pulse, but even on the highest setting discomfort is minimal.

Cons: It can be a little cumbersome for treating larger areas; however, the 4X model allows for even faster removal.

If you in any way fret about unwanted hair, I highly recommend this system, especially the upgraded Tria Hair Removal 4X. It's user-friendly, economical and private.

Even though there's snow on the ground, summer will be upon us soon. Don't wait too long to get started.

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