So, ‘permanent hair removal’ is a powerful claim. And this is what Tria Beauty UK say the Tria 4X laser gives you. They say:
“ Tria’s advanced hair removal devices offer a safe, at-home permanent hair removal solution, whereas IPL offers permanent hair reduction.” Triabeauty.co.uk
Well, by-chihuahua! That’s what I want, so that’s what I’ll choose!
But hold on a tick. Is this fact or just marketing hype? To understand more, we dug a little deeper into Tria’s claims and supporting data. And there’s most definitely more you must know before you buy.
The sections in this article outline our questions and concerns based on our knowledge of home laser and IPL and objective research findings.
So, let’s find out if the Tria 4X really will give you permanent hair removal.
#1 Tria vs Professional laser hair removal
We know much about laser and IPL hair removal. And we share our knowledge in helpful guides and articles about home devices and professional sessions. You can check out a comprehensive professional vs at-home laser hair removal guide here. So, it’s this in-depth knowledge of professional treatments which raised our very first question. Let me explain.
Most reputable aesthetic clinics say laser hair removal gives permanent hair reduction results. Some say up to 90% “permanent hair reduction that lasts”1,2. It’s an accepted industry term.
Now, the Tria 4X uses the same (but less powerful) Diode laser technology as in some of these clinics. So, how can Tria claim permanent hair removal and professionals don’t?
Tria also state that Diode laser technology is clinically proven to permanently remove hair. However, all the clinical studies we found prove permanent hair reduction, just like IPL devices. So, it’s unclear what proof Tria refer to here.
This statement also references an interesting foot note, which we’ll look at next.
#2 Tria website disclaimer
The small and interesting disclaimer sits at the bottom of the ‘Laser vs IPL’ information on Triabeauty.co.uk.
The disclaimer says:
“Using the Tria Hair Removal Laser as directed for at least 12 treatments, most users will achieve a substantial visible reduction in hair regrowth, and additional treatments may result in additional reductions. Depending on skin tone, hair colour, body part, treatment level, and other factors, individual results from laser hair removal may range from complete reduction to little or no reduction.”
That’s confusing, but this is how I understand it. After 3 months of use, at best you’ll get awesome hair reduction results. At worst, it may do nothing. Or anything in between. Because results vary by individual.
It seems Tria are covering all bases, but heavily promoting only the very best outcome to grab your attention. I feel it’s misleading, and sets potentially harmful expectations based on the promise of ‘permanent hair removal’.
#3 FDA regulation
Next, we note it’s only Tria Beauty UK who claim the Tria 4X gives permanent hair removal. Tria Beauty in the US does not make this claim. Why is this?
In the US, home IPL and laser hair removal machines are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA protect the US nation’s health by making sure medicines and medical devices are safe and effective. Before a professional or home-use device is sold or marketed in the US, they must have FDA approval or clearance. This means the manufacturer must submit evidence it’s effective, safe and the benefits outweigh the risks.
The FDA also control the indicated use and claims brands and manufacturers can make about the results. Manufacturers get permission (or clearance) to market their devices for ‘permanent hair reduction’4.
“Several manufacturers received FDA permission to claim, “permanent reduction,” NOT “permanent removal” for their lasers. This means that although laser treatments with these devices will permanently reduce the total number of body hairs, they will not result in a permanent removal of all hair. “ FDA ‘Laser Facts’ consumer webpage
Therefore, the Tria 4X laser has FDA clearance for permanent hair reduction. So, in the US, that’s how Tria must promote it because they aren’t allowed to say the 4X laser gives permanent hair removal.
But in the UK, the FDA has no jurisdiction. So, Tria Beauty UK can say the Tria 4X laser gives permanent hair removal if they want to. So they do.
So, a quick recap. Not even professional clinics claim permanent hair removal, and the FDA states manufacturers mustn’t make this claim. Tria UK do claim permanent hair removal, but also caveat it with small print saying results vary from zero to complete hair reduction.
Our next question asks what permanent hair removal means.
#4 Intact hair follicles
To confidently say hair is permanently removed, the hair follicle must be entirely destroyed. Then there’s no way the hair can grow back. And only electrolysis does this3.
Laser hair removal sends focused light energy to your hair root, which heats up the melanin there and in turn damages key areas in the follicle. This causes the hair to stop growing and enter the dormant stage (called Telogen phase). Intense Pulsed Light uses the same process (but with a broad-spectrum light energy). The end result for both is the same. A dormant hair follicle in the resting phase.
But the hair follicle is still there and intact. Therefore, with both laser and with IPL the follicle can heal, become active again and hair could grow back. So, it seems impossible to say the Tria 4X laser permanently removes hair because the follicle is still there.
So, what the..?
Yep, it’s no clearer. According to the Adverting Standards Authority, Tria Beauty must ‘hold evidence to support their claims’ for permanent hair removal. So, I asked Tria Beauty UK to help clear it up.
#5 Tria’s supporting info
I asked Tria Beauty UK for any data or studies they have supporting their claim the Tria 4X laser gives permanent hair removal.
I got a quick response. They shared a thorough explanation on the differences between laser and IPL, and a clinical study report by Ronald G Wheeland. We’ll look at them in turn.
Home laser vs IPL explanation
Most of the the information Tria shared with me is factually correct. But none of it proves permanent hair removal.
Tria first explained the 4X is so effective because it’s a solid-state Diode laser producing energy at 810 nanometers, which is infrared light. This reaches deep to the hair root where melanin in the hair absorbs this wavelength and converts to heat. This information is all correct and true.
They then explain IPL is different because it uses light of many colours, which appears white to our eyes. The different colours reach different depths in your skin and melanin doesn’t absorb all the colours. These differences with IPL are also true. However, none of these facts mean IPL is less effective.
But then they share some negatives of IPL. They go on to say your skin may absorb some of the IPL light causing undesirable heating. Here, they imply compared to laser, IPL is less safe and can hurt. However, skin heating is a safety concern for darker skin tones only. And most IPL devices won’t flash if your skin is too dark. They also have gentler IPL intensity levels and filters for safety and comfort on darker skin, whilst the Tria 4X is safe for light skin tones only. So, it’s not a totally fair statement.
Tria finally say the properties of IPL may also mean it’s less effective for hair removal. And this certainly makes you want the Tria more. But there’s nothing to back this up, no sources or evidence. I also asked Tria Beauty if they had a comparison results study for the Tria 4X and any home IPL devices. They didn’t share anything.
In reality, comparison studies with professional grade machinery show there’s no clinically significant difference in results between laser and IPL.
Related: laser vs IPL compared
Tria directed me to the full information on the website too.
Tria also dedicate a whole web page to laser vs IPL and why they say the Tria laser technology is superior to home IPL. But, again there are no sources or evidence to back the claim it gives permanent hair removal. And it’s somewhat bias in favour of the Tria 4X.
For example, Tria says with IPL “some users may feel an increased level of discomfort” because the diffuse light energy travels through your skin creating heat.
With the Tria on the other hand “some users might feel the sensation of a rubber band snapping against the skin or a warm pricking feeling, while others report no discomfort”. The Tria certainly sounds more comfortable here, however, there are many more user reviews saying the Tria 4X hurts more than a bit than compared to home IPL reviews.
But there is one bit of information logically suggesting the Tria does give better results than IPL. That’s the fact the Tria is three times more powerful than the most powerful home IPL.
All manufacturers agree and advise the higher intensity levels give faster and longer lasting results. So, it follows the Tria 4X gives better results than lower intensity IPL devices. But this still doesn’t prove permanent hair removal.
#6 Tria’s Wheeland Clinical Study 2012
Tria Beauty UK also sent me a PDF version of their clinical study called “Permanent Hair Reduction with a Home-Use Diode Laser: Safety and Effectiveness One Year after Eight Treatments”6. So, what does it prove?
In this 2012 study, the Tria 4X laser was tested on 13 subjects. Each had three test sites on their leg, one per intensity level plus an untreated control site. They had 8 monthly treatments, with intervals of follow-up hair counts up to 12 months after the treatments. The study is interesting, comprehensive and thorough with reassuring results.
Mean Average hair reduction percentages:
|Time after 8 treatments||Low intensity (7 J/cm2)||Medium intensity (12 J/cm2)||High intensity (20 J/cm2)|
Also, 38% of subjects had more than 80% hair reduction at 12 months after the 8th treatment. This includes 1 subject who has 100% hair reduction. Impressive.
The study also states that after 8 sessions at the higher intensities, most users will need to shave less, if at all. That’s because of the high hair reduction rate and evidence that regrowth is finer, lighter and less noticeable.
In addition, two of the study subjects returned after a further 12 months for an unscheduled hair count session. They showed a consistent 100% and 93% hair reduction. The study therefore concludes, because they maintained their results from the 1-year time point, this is “further indication of the permanence of the results”.
It’s convincing, but does this prove permanent hair removal?
No. This still proves permanent hair reduction at least 12 months post-treatment. Or as the study concludes, this means the Tria 4X “effects a stable, long-term reduction in the number of hairs that meets the FDA and industry definition of permanent hair reduction.” And even though the study suggests the results appear to be of a ‘permanent nature’, this is not proven.
It’s also noteworthy, a recent study into the long term results of home IPL shows that after 1 year of top-up sessions (approximately 8 sessions) hair reduction remains high and lasts for at least 12 months without further top-ups. These results are comparable to the Tria 4X.
Related: long-term results with home IPL
So, will you get permanent hair removal?
The clinical study shows that one participant did get 100% hair reduction, and it lasted 1 year. But does this mean you will?
I think the online feedback is most helpful here.
These show results vary by user. Some get significant results in a few goes and are hair free soon after. For others it takes much longer. Some never get to totally hair free. And results last different amount of times too.
For some the hair hasn’t grown back after a few months, for others it’s years. For others it grows back if you stop regular use. And some are still using it regularly a year or so later.
And here’s the kicker.
The user feedback for the Tria 4X laser matches most other home IPL devices too. Therefore, don’t choose the Tria 4X based on the “permanent hair removal results” alone. Consider all aspects of the device, and compare it to home IPL too so you can confidently choose the best one for your lifestyle and treatment areas.
“Permanent hair removal” is an attention-grabbing statement. And some people will choose the Tria 4X laser over other choices simply because of this promise.
But it’s not so certain. Our doubts are firstly, not even professional clinics claim permanent hair removal so how can Tria? Second, the FDA states US marketing mustn’t make this claim, so Tria do in the UK only. Next, Tria UK also acknowledge results vary from zero to complete hair reduction, which contradicts the promise of permanent hair removal. And lastly, because the Tria 4X leaves the hair follicle intact, it could grow new hairs. Because of these things it seems the claim is more a marketing hook than a given fact.
And after investigating and researching the information from Tria, there are further holes in the claim. Tria’s rationale is laser is superior to IPL, but its misleading because it’s biased, lacks evidence and is incomplete. And this doesn’t prove permanent hair removal. The clinical study shows impressive results and suggests they’re “permanent in nature”. But ultimately it proves permanent hair reduction, and not permanent hair removal.
The Tria 4X is a super device. It works very well for small body areas. And it’s the most powerful to give you longer-lasting results. But in practise, IPL is much less effort because sessions are faster. And the end results are similar, if not the same. So, don’t buy on the permanent hair removal promise alone. Assess the pros and cons, and compare to home IPL devices. That way you’ll choose a device you’ll stick with and get smooth skin results.
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Post sources & references:
- Sk:n clinics laser hair removal
- Mayo clinic: Laser hair rmeoval
- FDA website “Removing hair safely: Epilators: Needle, Electrolysis, and Tweezers”
- FDA website “Laser facts: Hair removal”
- ASA website: Hair removal advice online
- Tria Beauty UK website: Permanent Hair Reduction with a Home-Use Diode Laser: Safety and Effectiveness One Year after Eight Treatments, Ronald G. Wheeland, MD, FACP
- Tria Beauty UK website: Laser vs IPL