TRIA For Men?

by Chip Baddaladucci
02/13/09


While the market is flooded with dozens of “at-home hair removal” systems that have virtually zero track record of success, a lot of buzz has been growing around a new at-home laser hair removal system called TRIA. The first thing that will likely catch your eye about this product is the price tag: about $1,000 on average. That’s a good $950 or so more than most of its supposed competitors in the at-home hair removal industry. However, in a backwards sort of way, that hefty cost actually has helped to legitimize the TRIA a bit. After all, a product that truly can achieve permanent hair removal probably isn’t going to cost the same as a George Foreman grill.

Still, plenty of questions remain. First and foremost, does the TRIA actually work? Well, gauging by critical reviews both in the media and online forums, the response is mixed at best thus far. As the people at TRIA admit, the system won’t work for everyone; namely, it is not recommended for people with dark skin, very light skin, or hair pigmentation that is blonde, red, or grey. The ideal candidate is a person with light skin (capable of tanning) and dark hair. While advances in professional laser hair removal have made the procedure available to people with nearly all skin and hair types, this simply isn’t the case yet with TRIA.

Another issue that isn’t covered in as much detail by TRIA is that of gender. Essentially, will TRIA work on men as well it does on women? TRIA strongly discourages men from considering using the product as a means of facial hair removal. They explain that facial hair is simply too coarse and dense for the laser to work safely and successfully. This concept isn’t carried over to the body hair removal treatments, apparently, but according to a number of reviews by male users of the TRIA, the treatment can pose a challenge for men with coarse chest hair or leg hair, as well. Basically, the thicker and more dense the hair, the more painful the TRIA treatment will be. TRIA suggests shaving body hair as closely as possible before applying the product, but for men with thick hair, a shadowy stubble could be a direct ticket to some considerable discomfort when the laser goes to work. Thick hair will also require additional sessions with the TRIA, and considering how time consuming the treatment is (even small treatment areas like the underarms can take over an hour), men might be in for more of a commitment than they were bargaining for.

Another criticism of the TRIA is its limited shelf-life (250 charging cycles). In order to succeed in considerable permanent hair reduction for large areas of the body, a man with coarse hair might be halfway through a complete treatment when his $1,000 laser finally bails on him.

Generally, the TRIA has shown the potential for success in some ideal cases, particularly with dark-haired women treating small areas of the body. As an alternative to professional laser hair removal, though, it simply doesn’t match up. And for men, it’s likely to be a disappointing venture.

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