After much delay, the future has arrived. Everybody's buying lasers! And, everybody's hairless! If you guessed that these two things are related, you are probably an astute female consumer of laser hair removal services. But now that the world of science fiction is here, you don't have to sit around cold, impersonal cut-rate salons to have some young whippet blast the hair off your body with concentrated pulses of scalding light; you can do it in the comfort of your own home, with no training or safety at all! We can already anticipate the hilarious domestic violence battles that will end with a laser being drawn. Two consumer-targeted lasers, the Tria ($995) and the Silk'n ($800), are about to be launched [WSJ ($)]. Just one slight drawback: these lasers are sexist and racist!
Tria and Silk'n have their limitations. They are slower than professional treatments, so they work best in small areas like lower legs, underarms and bikini lines rather than big areas like hairy men's backs. The Food and Drug Administration hasn't cleared them for use on the face, though consumers could end up using the devices there. And African-Americans and other dark-skinned people can't use them because of a risk of burns. Lasers and light-based technologies work by targeting pigment in the hair and can mistake dark or tanned skin for the enemy.