Such are our close relationships with all the major beauty device brands we have been fortunate to meet some of the pioneers of devices that have had a huge impact on our industry and people’s lives.
One of the biggest areas of development is hair growth (interestingly for women as well as men) and we met the man behind HairMax, certainly the most well-known product in this niche area of personal care.
David Michaels is a larger than life character who is hugely passionate about his business, has an unwavering belief in the technology and most of all is highly dedicated to improvements in efficacy and safety of light based therapy. Hair devices such as HairMax are still less known in Europe than the US by some distance, and I know there is far more education needed to inform consumers that therapies are out there to help.
This meeting took me to beautiful Delray Beach, Florida and this what David Michaels had to tell me over a cocktail or two…
What was your ‘Eureka’ moment with HairMax and have you always had an interest in hair growth technology?
As with most important products, they usually come about by someone trying to fill a need. In my case, the need was a treatment for my hair loss. I was 35 years old and had already been experiencing hair loss for five years. I had tried everything from topical solutions (which I found to be very inconvenient and messy - my hair looked worse than ever!) to vitamin supplements. Nothing worked. Then I heard about a laser. I learned that it is a safe, effective therapy to treat hair loss without any reported side effects at a clinic in Australia that had positive results.
I started laser hair growth treatments at a Hair Clinic. Soon after I started treatments my hair became thicker and fuller, my hair loss subsided and I re-grew a significant amount of lost hair. I also experienced a dramatic improvement in the condition of my hair and my dandruff also subsided. I was so amazed at the results but realized that these treatments, because of the cost and inconvenience of visiting a clinic several times a week would not be assessable to most people.
I began a working relationship with the founder of the Laser Hair Clinic, who was a pioneer in the use of Laser Photo-Therapy for hair. We joined efforts to develop an affordable laser therapy device for hair loss so everyone could experience the same exciting results that I had experienced.
After several years of research, design and development, our efforts resulted in the first HairMax Laser Device.
It is known that 60% of the people that buy are women, is this something you expected to see when the devices launched?
Hair loss is typically thought of as a male issue, but the reality is that 1 in 4 women will also experience hair loss and thinning hair. Triggered by changes in hormones, most commonly with the onset of menopause and after childbirth it’s something that most women will have to deal with at some point in their lives. It’s a very emotional topic for both men and women, but for women especially, it can be devastating.
For many, it may be difficult to speak about or seek help for it as the treatment options very limited. HairMax laser light treatments provide the only non-drug, FDA Cleared treatment for both male and female pattern hair loss. We absolutely understood that there was a market for a safe and effective treatment for female pattern hair loss and we believed that this would be a well received and sought after device.
What has been the most rewarding factor in the success of the products?
Know that we are helping people. We genuinely care about people and understand the affect hair loss can have on them. When we hear HairMax success stories, it makes all our efforts worthwhile. We get phone calls, letters and emails daily of people telling us how HairMax has changed their hair and their lives for the better. Knowing that our products enrich the lives of our customers is by far, the most rewarding factor for me.
How have you seen the technology evolve and is there room for even further steps in efficacy whilst maintaining a safety profile for home use?
Laser technology for hair growth has evolved from its beginnings as an in office/clinic treatment to a home use device. Our devices have evolved over the years from hand held comb devices, which people still enjoy, to our newest range of LaserBand devices, which provide an even easier and faster treatment! All our devices are FDA Cleared, remain very safe to use and most importantly can reverse the thinning process and regrow denser, fuller hair. We do believe in multi-therapy treatments with good hair care products.
In the UK our customers don’t always understand the significance of FDA approval, can you give them a quick summary of why it is such a critical stamp of approval and why that stamp is so globally recognised?
Yes, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) is responsible for protecting the public health by ensuring the safety, efficacy, and security of a wide range of items for medical use, including drugs, medical devices, food, cosmetics and many other health-related products.
Medical Devices must go through rigorous clinical studies and a 510k submission before being allowed to be cleared or approved into the market. It also needs to be proven that the medical device will not only not do harm, but also that it will do good. The entire purpose of a medical device is to improve someone's health, and if the item does not meet the standards, it will not receive clearance or approval by the FDA.
After extensive clinical studies, HairMax was the first ever home use hair growth medical device to be granted clearance by the FDA for the treatment of hair loss and promotion of hair growth in males in 2007. In 2011, additional clinical studies were submitted to the FDA and clearance was also granted to HairMax laser devices for females with hereditary hair loss.
To date, there are 7 FDA Clearances of HairMax Laser devices, all of which prove not only safety, but also effectiveness based on scientifically designed clinical research studies. In addition to FDA Clearances, HairMax laser devices also hold 14 medical device licenses worldwide.
Are there any downsides to using lasers at home and how do you keep result expectations at the right level?
There are really no downsides to treatment. HairMax laser devices are easy to use, fast and convenient to use at home or while traveling. We do try to set expectations – HairMax works best in men and women with mild to moderate hair loss. We remind users to be consistent with the 3 times per week treatment and have a little patience. Visible new hair growth is typically seen within 12-16 weeks of usage. You did not lose your hair overnight, and it will not grow back overnight. Real hair growth takes time, but the hair growth rewards are worth it!
What separates HairMax from the ‘me-too’ devices that have come into the market?
There are a few companies out there who have tried to copy us – the “Me- Too’s” as you call them. However, there is no comparison between a HairMax Laser device and other “Me-Too” devices.
HairMax is the pioneer and the global leader in home use laser hair growth technology. We have conducted more clinical studies than any other company on light energy for hair growth and as mentioned previously, we are the First to be granted FDA Clearance.
HairMax lasers devices are the only devices on the market with a proprietary 3 part system; we call them, elements for efficacy. These elements include patented hair parting teeth, laser density and laser intensity. The hair parting teeth is an integral mechanism that parts your hair during treatment, allowing the optimal amount of laser light to reach the hair follicles. Without the teeth, your hair would block a large amount of the light from reaching the follicle.
Some competitor devices are comprised of lasers and LEDs. LED’s are less expensive and are not proven to work as well as lasers in regrowing hair. HairMax devices are manufactured with 100% lasers only – NO LEDs. Our high quality lasers, deliver columnated light to the follicles. This columnated light is highly focused to more effectively reach and energize the follicle root, which is where your hair growth will begin. Other devices put out dispersed light, which is not focused, and is spread out like a fan over the scalp. This dispersed light does not does not penetrate or effectively reach the follicle. Our lasers are densely distributed within our devices. They are optimally spaced providing full and concentrated scalp coverage. We’ve made our devices lightweight and convenient to use at home and while traveling, no heavy helmets or battery packs to carry with you. As with most innovative products, there will always be competitors and/or imitators. It’s all about educating the consumer, once they know the differences they make the right choice.
The home use beauty device market continues to grow, what area do you think will see the next big device?
Over the past several years, there is a definite shift in consumer preference to at home use products for everything from hair growth, hair removal, teeth whitening, body contouring and skin care. It’s all part of the increased demand for anti-aging and rejuvenation treatments that people can do at home - safely and affordably.
I know you have some exciting developments in the pipeline can you give us a little clue…?
We are always working on innovating new products we have a few new things lined up, including combination treatments, new wavelengths. Stay tuned.
Finally, we know you love your home town of Delray Beach, what makes it the perfect place for HairMax HQ?
The BEACH! Actually, the Delray Beach/Boca Raton is the perfect location for HairMax. Located mid-way between West Palm Beach and Miami, we have access to many cultures and diversity. We are just a few hours drive from the Orlando area, home of over 150 international companies and where industry leaders are either headquartered or have a significant presence. With three international airports within an hour’s drive, two Interstate 95 highway exchanges, and nearby access to rail and ports, Delray Beach has resources in place to help our existing businesses expand into international trade markets and compete on a global scale.