Gillette invests in depilatory technology

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Hair removal Gillette

Shaving specialist Gillette has announced an investment package
worth $1.5m to develop light-based hair removal systems with
Palomar, a company that specializes in laser cosmetic treatments.

Gillette's move is significant because it is the first time it is has entered into the laser-based hair removal sector for females – one that is fast-growing The hair removals market in the US is said to be valued at $2.5bn and is experiencing average annual growth of 5 per cent, but undoubtedly the fastest growing segment is that for laser-based methods. Although the technology is still fairly new, the US FDA says that it is currently struggling to maintain a comprehensive list of all laser manufacturers operating in the US. As well as hair removal, light-based laser treatments for home use are also proving popular for anti-aging purposes, as evinced by the recently launched Rejuvawand from Light Dimensions, which relies on red lasers to stimulate collagen growth. Crucial to the success of this technology on the US consumer market is FDA approval, which Palomar received back in December. The company said that the 510(k) certification made it the first company to receive over-the-counter clearance for a home-use light-based hair removal device. Tapping into the opportunity that this provides, Gillette has announced that it will build on an existing joint development program, signed last week, to focus on the development of an additional hair removal system for women. The development program is scheduled to last until January next year and will see Gillette invest $1.2m into the development of the new product, alongside an additional $300,000 once the project is completed. Gillette says that the program will also entail a continued consultation with Palomar to determine the next steps for development and cosmmercialization of the product. Palomar CEO Joseph Caruso said that after four years of continuous development the company had now proven that it has a safe and effective product that can be sold directly to consumers. "Years ago we recognized that if light-based hair removal could brought to the home, the market opportunity would be vastly larger and would further increase professional system sales by increasing consumer awareness," he said. Caruso went on to say that the company's working relationship with Gillette would enable it to tap into its worldwide manufacturing, marketing and distribution expertise. In recent years the market for hair removal products has expanded significantly with a number of new products appearing in the depilatory segment. One noteable product innovation has been the launch of a number of deodorants with hair growth inhibitors. On the ingredients side, Israeli biotech company IBR​ has recently launched a narcissus bulb extract, IBR Domain, that is said to halt the process of unwanted hair growth by naturally inducing the hair into the catagen stage of the hair cycle – the period where the old hair ceases to grow and gets ready to shed while a new hair is formed.

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