The North American Hiroshima Maidens: Hair Removal...for a Price
People have always been on the lookout for the next miracle beauty product, no matter how strange. And plenty are willing to pay a hefty price for a Fountain of Youth (just ask Gwyneth Paltrow).
In the early 1920s, a doctor named Albert Geyser invented a machine to revolutionize hair removal. The premise behind Geyser's Tricho machine was simple: Sit with your face in the machine for a few minutes, and all of your unwanted facial hair would vanish—with no pain or scarring—never to return!
The device actually worked like a charm, but there was a catch: Geyser's machine used X-rays.
By 1925, there were over 75 Tricho systems installed in salons all over the United States. Even with reports appearing widely in medical journals of women suffering injuries and cancerous ulcers from the treatment, the practice of X-ray hair removal didn't end until the 1940s. By then, the women deformed by Geyser's radioactive invention had acquired a formal name in the medical community: the North American Hiroshima Maidens, because of their similarity to radiation victims of the Hiroshima bombing. In perhaps a twisted bit of irony (or karma), Dr. Geyser himself later lost both of his hands due to radiation exposure from his experiments.
(Image source: Wikimedia Commons)