OK. A little about me: I have light skin and very dark, coarse, dense, hair. I purchased the TRIA specifically to use on my face (chin, upper lip, sides). As other reviewers pointed out, I was and am aware that this hasn't been cleared as yet for the face in the US, however the same unit is sold in the UK and has been cleared for the face.I have been using the TRIA for 4 months. This is a diode laser just like you would have used on you at a laser clinic using a diode laser (though, obviously, less powerful). This device works, and works VERY well. I have undergone professional laser treatments in the past but ran out of money before receiving the recommended or sufficient number of treatments. Back then, in 1996, I was thrilled with how my results were coming along (I had 5 treatments on my face).....but I just ran out of cash. This little beauty is delivering those same results....I have used it a total of 9 times in 4 m,onths (with today being treatment 9). The hair is just disappearing and my face and skin look awesome and smooth for once in my life (without a shadow beneath the skin). People at work who don't know I even have an issue with hirsutism make comments like "wow, your skin and make-up looks great....did you have a facial or something"? I am thrilled that I can use this in the privacy of my home and I am thrilled that my prayers have been answered. I just can't explain how happty I am.....you would have to have lived in my shoes to know how much this means to me. I'll add the same disclaimer as my other MU Alley friends: I am not endorsing or suggesting that anyone use TRIA on their face......I am just merely reporting on my own experience. Thanks!
Despite the company's disclaimer to the contrary, I purchased the Tria specifically for use on facial hair and have been using it now for 3 months. It's premature for any final conclusion, but I wanted to let other women with similar issues know what I've experienced so far. As background, I did a lot of reading and knew the Tria was used in Europe on the face with no reported problems. Also, I've seen doctors and had professional laser treatment on my face a number of years ago and knew what did and didn't work for me. I am very fair with quite dark hair, but if my skin were darker I would not try this on my face out of concern for pigment changes.
Having said that, Tria appears to work as advertised so far. I would recommend this product for someone who has dark hair and fair skin and a serious need to get rid of hair. Keeping expectations realistic is key. For many people, even after professional laser treatment, new hair will continue to grow and touch ups and additional treatments are needed from time to time. Frankly, if you've struggled for years with unwanted hair, an occassional touch up will not bother you.
I use this on the highest setting without numbing cream. The sensation ranges from barely there to highly painful in spots. It hurts most where the hair is thickest. I had to really steel myself to zap certain areas and the first treatment hurt the most. Since then, each session has been less and less painful and now I barely feel it at all. I am following the recommended schedule of using the Tria every two weeks for the first three months and may cut down to once a month from this point. I'll decide in two weeks when I can see how the hair looks. Minor tweaking of the manufacturer's recommendations should be alright, I think, as everyone will respond a little differently.
I can use the Tria now without any noticable after effects. However, the first time, my skin was red and puffy afterwards and I looked like I'd been attacked by swarms of mosquitoes. I also broke out afterwards, which is not normally a problem for me. The redness and swelling cleared up in a couple of days (the breakouts took a few days longer to resolve). I recommend using witch hazel (I like the 100% organic stuff) before and after using the Tria. I've had no further problems with breakouts since the first use.
Be patient. It will take 2 or 3 weeks before hair starts shedding. I was very worried the first 2 weeks that nothing was happening and constantly checked to see if hairs were shedding. They took forever to work their way out but by the end of the first month I had a huge reduction in hair. By the 3rd treatment most of the hair was gone. You simply can not imagine what that meant to me. Anyway, for the next 2 months, the hair was gone. This month, I've notice fine hair returning here and there but this should be hair on a different growth cycle than the previously treated hair. I will update at 6 months and let you know what's happening with regrowth. In any event, it's so fine that it's barely noticable, which I find acceptable at this stage.
I am very happy with my current results. I was hesitant to write a review after only 3 months use, as this will not answer the average user's question about whether this permanently gets rid of leg hair (if that were my only issue, I'd be thrilled). However, I am writing this review for the many other women dealing with the very distressing situation of unwanted facial hair . When I get up in the morning, I look in the mirror and see clear, smooth skin - what's better than that?
For me, if the Tria does nothing more than maintain where I'm at now, it will be well worth 600 dollars. Professional laser treatment is so much more expensive and requires maintanance anyway. I hope this helps anyone considering a Tria purchase. It's not for everyone and I do NOT suggest anyone else do what I've done. But there's very little info out there about this subject and I wanted to share my experience.
Update: March 27
After 6 months, I notice some areas remain hair free and other areas have regrowth of very fine hair if I don't treat for several weeks. All in all, I'm still very happy with my results. I suspect this will be a maintanence tool for me and will not give completely permanent results but that's the same result I had with professional laser treatments (for far less money). For me, this makes excess facial hair a minor problem to be managed rather than a daily trauma to battle. I hope for continued improvement, however, and will update after I complete the recommended 8 months.
Update Nov 13
It's been a year now and I am very happy with Tria. The hair is better than 95% reduced. I do an occasional treatment every couple of months to keep things in check. Other than a few very fine dark hairs, my skin is clear and smooth. This is exactly the same result I had with profession laser treatment. All in all, this is a very good product for the right person if you are realistic about the eventual results.
Okay, I am just starting this review as I don't know the results yet as I just used it yesterday for the very first time. I will tell you that Bliss World is selling it for $595 and they have a 15% off code 09HOL15. So, I got it for $505 brand new (which is a steal!). It was very simple to activate -- I called the number. I was a little confused because the product documentation says it has only 3 settings, but there is a card insert inside of one of the little manuals that says it uses 5 settings. Before I activated online, I called Tria to activate it because I wanted to make sure it was a brand new 5-setting Tria. There is also a manufactured date that says July 2009 on the bottom of the hand held unit. I wanted to make sure that I was getting the 5 setting Tria and that I wouldn't have to return it. The lady on the phone said that was the date the housing was manufactured and not the guts inside of it. So, I activated it, and plugged it in to be charged. I also asked the lady about use on the face and why that wasn't approved. She said the reason it wasn't approved is because skin on the face is thinner and during clinical trials, some of the ladies damaged/burnt their skin on their face (which sounds scary). She advised using this every 2 weeks for the first 3 times and then once a month after that.
So, I have used my underarms as my test area. Let me start off with saying that I have had laser hair removal before. I have had some on my face (area between my eyebrows), one time on my arms, my armpits, and my bikini area. I have had the best results on my armpits. I had a 70 to 80% reduction of hair on my armpits and about a 70% reduction of hair on my bikini line.
So, my first go round was just kind of testing various areas. This is easy to use. The head where the laser is smaller than a dime, but bigger than I was expecting for a surface area. The hair isn't super dense, but it is thick and dark on my underarms. When I use it on my underarms, there is a snapping, and it hurts. Not as much as a professional laser, but I am willing to have to use this more times than a professional laser to have most of the hair gone. Same for my bikini line. I did try a couple of zaps on my face, and my skin was fine. But, the head would be hard to use to get those small areas as all 3 contact points need to be touching. My arms are the most tan, but the rest of my body has light skin. I only felt a couple of zaps on my arms, but I have light to medium brown hair on my arms. And, hair that isn't thick or coarse, I felt no zaps, so I am not sure if it is working on those hairs. I decided to wake up early the next morning, shower and shave, and then apply some Emla that I got on Ebay. There is also a tattoo numbing cream by Dr. somebody or another that might work. This stuff is expensive -- $30 a tube. You are supposed to apply it thickly and then cover it with a plastic wrap and leave it on for 30 minutes or so. I find it soaks in better and works when I have been sweating a bit. What it does, is it numbs the area some. I don't have a high pain threshold. I don't like pain. The occasional zap is no big deal, but trying to do a bikini line or underarms without this cream numbing the area -- I wouldn't do it. I still felt some of the zaps on my underarms, but about a 75% reduction in the pain of the zap. So, it was manageable. I don't think I put enough on my bikini line area on the right side, so I didn't really like the zap there. I didn't run out of charge on the Tria, and I used it on my armpits and the outer edges of my bikini line. I wasn't even super precise because it hurt a bit too much on my right bikini line side. I just wanted to get started with it. I may have even missed some spots. I also did just one zap with my eyes closed between my eyebrows. I hate maintaining eyebrows! lol I'll keep you guys updated. Oh, I also did a couple of zaps on one of my knees (as I hate shaving my knees) to see if I could tolerate the pain of trying to do my legs. I would have to use a numbing cream to help. A few zaps -- no big deal, a lot of zaps, no thanks. lol UPDATE: 12/26/09 - Okay I just redid my arpits. There were a couple of spots where hair was still growing where I am pretty sure I missed the first time around. There might still be some hair under the surface that did not make its way completely out, but I do not have the normal 5 o'clock shadow. I still shaved everyday to get rid of everything and provide the barest amount of exfoliation. I am still using the same charge as last time, and I spent about 3 or 4 minutes on each armpit. There was just a couple of snaps during the process, very manageable on the pain level. So far, I am happy with this product. I will post again soon. UPDATE: 2/11/10 -- Have used 3 more times on my armpits, and I have about 95% less hair there. I can't tolerate the pain on my bikini line. But, I am using it at the highest setting. UPDATE: 7/27/10 -- Haven't used on my armpits for 3 months now, and I'd say hair reduction is 85 to 90% and not the 95% I reported last update. I will start up again.
Laser hair removal is a drastic and expensive choice, so I'm betting that the ladies reading this review are somewhat like me...I'm very prone to ingrown hairs so bikini waxes and shaving have always ended in an angry and ugly bikini line--never the sexy, smooth result I intended! And pre-Tria, my armpits never looked hairless because my underarm hair was so dark that it would show through my fair skin.
The Tria is ridiculously expensive, but where I live the cost for 6 sessions of "brazilian" laser hair removal is at least $1200 including tip. The Tria, at $795, would be a decent investment--if it works.
Well, a week ago I finished my 4th session and I can say it--so far Tria works at least as well as advertised. I've been giving myself a laser brazilian (eeps! can't believe I just wrote that publicly!), using it on my underarms and a few other patches of annoying hair.
I have about a 1/3 of the hair I used to have in the bikini area and hair is still shedding from the 4th session. I have some large bare patches and the hair I do have is mostly thinner and lighter.
My other favorite part--I stopped getting new ingrown hairs after my second Tria session and the old ones completely faded before the 4th session. I have been shaving regularly during this time, so I think that the hair loss and slowed hair growth is responsible for putting and end to my ingrown hairs.
As for my underarms--I shaved them 2 days ago and they still look totally clean. After 4 days I need to shave--but there are bare patches and the hair that grows in is finer.
Pain/Power Levels: Any pain you feel is from hair getting heated by the laser, so the degree of pain depends on how close of a shave you've got. The first time I did my underarms it was unbearable at level 2 and I had to keep it at 1. I now use level 2 or 3 on my underarms and it does not hurt at all because I have less hair. On the bikini area I mostly stick to level 2. Maybe I'm a wimp for shying away form level 3 most of the time, but I'm still getting good results with level 2 with very little discomfort.
I've also noticed that if you set the laser to level 3 it takes more time to rev up for each laser "blast" so you can't cover as much territory before the battery runs out (usually after a half hour). That's another reason why I usually stick to level 2--you can get about one laser blast per second so it's pretty easy to fully cover an area quickly.
Learning to use it: It takes some practice to get good at fully treating an area with a tiny circular pattern. But after my first session, when the hair fell out very patchy and it was clear where I had missed spots, I made an effort to be very thorough. It seems to be paying off.
One drawback--I would not use the Tria on my legs--it would take FOREVER to do it right. Also, because leg hair on women is usually finer and lighter than underarm hair, I doubt the Tria would be quite as effective on the legs.
In sum, I love my Tria. When you pick it up it definitely feels and looks like an $800 piece of technology, and fortunately it works like one too.
It is a very expensive thing to buy for someone like me that compares it to the price of wax and razor, but my war on hair is over..I hope. I've purchased Tria 2months ago and completed three treatments (recommended 2 weeks apart). So far I'm happy with the results b/c hair seems to grow somewhat slower than usual. Normally I have to shave daily, otherwise i get stubble in 24h, my 5o'clock shadow, but after the treatments it took after each 2 full days to become stubble and it never grew longer than 1-1.5mm (I waited last time with shave to see if it's any different than usual). It just stays in a stubble stage. Instruction booklet says that after 2-3 months big change in growth would occur so I'll update. Also, I see small bold patches where hair used to be (half (inch/half inch) here and there. I decided not to waste my time and use it at the highest level out of the three, it hurts a little on legs -they right-like a snap, and it hurts A LOT bikini and armpits. I think you have to be very desperate to withstand it and remind yourself that it all will be worth it at the end. I heard regular laser hurts too, so really there is no other option for us ladies. The tool itself is quite heavy to hold during treatment that lasts 30min, but not unbearble (I'm not very strong or muscular so maybe it's just me) and u really can't treat more than one area at the time b/c battery runs out quickly and it takes good 3h to charge it. I would say one charge is enough for one lower leg and up to above the knee or bikini plus both armpits. I need 3charges to cover all areas well, it's not bad, Tria promises it will last 300 charges. I'll update in a couple of treatments. I'm watching the bold patches expansion! update: i like the results so far, it's not perfect, but hair on my legs did not grow back. bikini and armpits are hairy as usual. i was not able to use the device on highest setting. I guess it works well on the highest setting only. but also hurts most. legs have only few little hair here aand there, but it could b my fault. you have to preciesly cover all skin, and its hard to see where and when did you cover it last.
I know that a lot of people have been waiting for a review on this, so I thought I would get the party started. This is a very expensive gadget, however when you compare this to what it will cost to do even one small area at a laser center such as your upper lip, it pays for itself rather quickly. As someone who has spent nearly $11,000.00 in my lifetime on laser hair removal, I can attest to how outrageously expensive treatments can be. The worst part about spending this type of money is that the hair is never completely gone (you are lucky if you get good reduction and yes some area's may be cleared even more so, but it is not always fully cleared and it is not forever). Back in the early nineties when these were first coming out and they were telling people that hair removal would be permanent (they have since changed their tune due to pressure from the FDA), my mom loaned me the money to do area's on my face that were bugging me (I was waxing and even shaving, which is something so many women do but are too afraid to discuss even though it affects millions of women all over the world). I spent several grueling sessions undergoing painful treatments only to have it come back years later (and it was never totally gone).
When prices came down and the lasers were said to be more powerful, I plunked down more money and had my face re-treated (and areas such as my bikini line, arms and even legs done). I got wonderful reduction and the hair does grow in much finer, however I realized at this point that I would need to keep doing this throughout my life to keep up any kind of decent result and I was running out of money here! I was ecstatic when the FDA approved this home laser. I bought mine from Nordstrom's because of their liberal return policy.
When you receive it, you will need to call TRIA and they will walk you through the steps to get the laser set up (very simple). There is a tiny sensor laser that comes with this that you press up against your skin and test to see if your skin is suitable for treatment (this laser is for use on fair to medium skins only). If it turns green and gives you the go ahead, you simply activate the hair laser by running the tiny sensor across the laser panel like a price gun and it unlocks the laser for use making tiny beeping sounds (you must do this every time as a mandatory safety precaution). This way if you got a tan recently, it would not work until the tan fades (otherwise you could get burns).
The laser feels a little heavy in your hand, but not too cumbersome. The only thing I did not like is that you have to roll it back and forth sometimes to get it to beep and send out a pulse and that's because the three contact points must be completely flat against your skin for the laser to send out a pulse (another safety precaution). It makes things a bit more time consuming for fatty or bony area's as you will need to sort of work the laser back and forth to hit the contact points correctly in those areas, otherwise you can pretty much fly through the treatments.
I bought this mainly for my face even though they tell you not to use it in this area (ironically the same EXACT TRIA Laser is sold in other countries such as the United Kingdom and their manuals differ slightly by actually giving you instructions on how to use this on the face, so apparently the FDA was just not ready for us to do so here). The laser uses a very small window, so area's like the face, underarms and bikini line are a breeze, but larger area's will be more tedious. I am used to the searing pain of hair lasers so I was pleasantly surprised to find that this is not as intense on the 1st and 2nd level, however the third (and best because the more powerful the joules, the more powerful the treatment will be) was a different story. I bought some OTC LMX Cream to apply and that helped to numb it beautifully (do not use LMX cream over large area's of the body as this can be dangerous-there have been deaths from people applying this all over their legs)!
So far it seems to be working quite well. Its wonderful to be able to simply zap the hairs that come through saving me a fortune doing this at home! If I walked into my local laser hair center, they would charge me $500.00 for one treatment to the face alone! Although this can vary depending on what part of the country you are from, it is VERY expensive. This will save you a fortune if you have been going to laser centers like me! I just ordered the Silk'n today as I am going to use that strictly for large area's since the window is several times the size of the TRIA's and you can do much larger area's very quickly.
You could use the TRIA all over (although again they caution you to not use this on the face), however it would be extremely time consuming and you would wear out the life sooner and need to buy a new unit faster as it works off a battery charging system and is cordless. I would rather save this for small and tedious work like the face, under arms and bikini line and use the Silk'n for arms, legs and stuff like that. I have also read a lot of the research and the TRIA seems to keep hair off the longest and more permanently since it is a real Diode laser and not a light system which is what the Silk'n is. I think both have their place and serve their own purposes depending on what your needs are (also the Silk'n's window is too large for small area's of the face and can activate dormant hair follicles, so they warn you to not use the light on your face). Please note that I am not advising anyone to go against TRIA'S recommendation and use this on their faces! That was a personal choice I made for myself ONLY
Editing to say that although effective, this is not as powerful as the lasers I am used to. Patchy regrowth. Very painful at level 3 (the only truly effective level). This is still a bargain, but I would use this for small areas only.