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Gillette funds photonic ladyshave

24 Feb 2003

Leading razor manufacturer Gilette looks to lasers for its next generation of shaving products.

Gillette, a household name in shaving products, is to spend up to USD 7 million researching new light-based hair removal methods for women.

The company has signed an agreement with cosmetic laser specialist Palomar Medical Technologies, US, to support development over the next 30 months.

Palomar has pioneered laser hair-removal, introducing its first such system in 1996. However, the high cost of these systems means that they are only available through clinics and salons currently.

Gillette's hope is to fund development of a portable light-based hair-removal device that women can buy and then use at home, rather than having to visit a clinic for treatment.

One of Palomar's current products is a diode-laser system that emits relatively long laser pulses at 810 nm. It delivers up to 575 J/cm2 in 50-1000 ms bursts down a 2m-long fibre.

Palomar says that these long pulses affect the entire hair follicle to give 'permanent hair reduction'.

Gillette's director of emerging techology ventures Michael Buckley said of the deal: "Our licensing agreement with Palomar is part of our overall effort to be well-positioned and knowledgeable on all hair-removal technology."

He added that if regulatory requirements are met, the licensing agreement extends to product commercialization.

Michael Hatcher is technology editor of Opto and Laser Europe magazine.

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