`shaving’ via light lamp promises low irritation

Written by on December 12, 2006 in patents, shaving with 0 Comments

Thought this patent looked really interesting, especially if it results in a consumer device that will allow rosacea sufferers to safely remove facial hair without causing further irritation. I know I’d like an alternative to scraping a razor or blunt foil across my sensitive face everyday.

From Invention: Razor light

A device that uses light to send hair follicles to sleep, making skin smooth for weeks at a time, without shaving or waxing, is being patented by Philips.

Laser light can be used to kill hair follicles by making them so hot that they literally explode. But such destructive “photoepilation” is painful and can also cause skin irritation.

Researchers at Philips’ Lab in Eindhoven, in the Netherlands, have found that short, weak pulses of near infrared light causes follicles to change from their natural growing state to a dormant state, known as the “telogen phase”.

The Philips device uses light from a halogen lamp. Pulses lasting 15 milliseconds each are filtered so that only 600-950 nanometre wavelengths reach the follicles below. Moving the device slowly over the skin spreads about 15 joules of light energy onto each square centimetre.

A sensor can also be used to automatically adjust treatment intensity to suit different skin and hair types. Three treatment sessions, over the course of two weeks, reduces hair growth by 90%, Philips claims.

You can read the full patent application here United States Patent Application 20060247740: Device and method for low intensity optical hair growth control


The present invention discloses a method for controlling growth of hair on human skin with low doses of electro-magnetic radiation, and a device (1) for carrying out the method. In the method, radiation (13) of a suitable spectrum is applied to the skin (12), in one or more pulses of between 1 and 100 ms, and with maximum fluencies on the skin between 1 and 12 J/cm2. By applying such low fluencies and at controlled pulse durations, follicles of the hairs are induced to the catagen phase. This means that the growth of the hairs of those follicles will stop. Although the method is not primarily aimed at immediate hair removal, hairs may be shed subsequently. In any case, further growth may be stopped for prolonged periods of time. The main advantage of the method is that the risk of damage to the skin is minimized.

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About the Author: David Pascoe started the Rosacea Support Group in October 1998. .

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