What are electric tweezers?

Electric tweezers use electric current to kill hair follicles and remove hair.

Electric tweezers are a tool used in hair removal. They work like normal tweezers, except they are attached to an electrical current. The current supposedly kills the hair follicle and removes the hair permanently, but unlike electrolysis, there is no direct contact between the follicle and electricity. Although sold widely for home and professional use, electric tweezers are not considered an effective method of permanent hair removal.

Electric tweezers were invented in 1959 and marketed as a painless, permanent method of hair removal. In the 1970s, they were widely sold to professional beauticians for use in salons. In 1985, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sanctioned companies that sold electric tweezers because their claim that tweezers permanently remove hair was baseless. After the sanctions, manufacturers were forced to include information on their labels stating that the product could only remove hair temporarily.

The FTC-sanctioned tweezers ran on alternating current, so a wave of products using direct current hit the market in the early 1990s. Most of these tools were sold directly to consumers through infomercials and TV ads. Amid claims by the scientific community that electricity cannot travel through a hair to the follicle, many of these companies have sold a conductive gel along with their electric tweezers products. Some companies sold electric tweezers as “transdermal electrolysis” to avoid association with the negative media attention the product received.

To pull out the hair with tweezers, the hair is caught in the tweezers and pulled out by the root. As a temporary hair removal method, electric tweezers are usually effective because the hair is still completely plucked. They have the advantage of being less painful than regular tweezers. While tweezing is only temporary, hair pulled out by the roots takes longer to grow back than clipped hair.

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Using electric tweezers can be much more time consuming than regular tweezers because the hair must be held for up to three minutes to allow the supposed action of the electric current that runs down the hair to the root. This hair removal method is also considerably more expensive than regular tweezers.

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