When selecting a clinic for laser hair removal, it is important to consider a number of criteria, namely, the location of the clinic; how clean and hygienic it is; the range of lasers on offer and their suitability for your combination of hair and skin tone; the skill of the practitioner or technician; the cost of the treatment; and the structuring and availability of payment plans and special financing.
For laser hair removal treatments to be as risk-free and effective as possible, it is important to use an FDA-approved laser device that is ideally suited to the patient. This is largely determined by the patient’s particular combination of hair and skin tone, although hair density and thickness are less significant determining characteristics. Some clinics specialize in a particular laser technology, which is more effective when used on certain hair and skin colors, whereas others offer a wide variety of lasers to accommodate any combination of skin tone and hair color. As such, one of the primary criteria for selecting a clinic, especially if you have never had laser hair removal treatment before, is the range of lasers on offer. Visiting a clinic that offers a wide range of lasers means you can be certain that the treatment can be tailored to produce the best results, based on your individual characteristics. However, the range of lasers on offer is not important if you know which laser works best with your combination of skin and hair tone. YAG lasers produce the longest wavelengths, which penetrate the deepest into the skin and are absorbed by melanin pigments at the lowest rate. This makes them the safest laser to use on dark, melanin-rich skin. Diode lasers can be used all but the darkest skin tones, while alexandrite lasers are most effective and safest when used on light skin tones.
In addition to which laser is used, it is also good to consider the hair removal practitioner or technician who performs the treatments. You should feel confident in the practitioner and the service they are providing and have a good rapport with them. First and foremost, practitioners should be appropriately qualified and experienced using laser technology, holding memberships to professional organizations such as the National Council on Laser Excellence (NCLE) or the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery (ASLMS). Laser hair removal is considered a medical procedure and using qualified practitioner will ensure that the best results are achieved, with the minimum discomfort and risk of damaging the skin. It is also important that the practitioner has experience working with a patient’s particular combination of hair and skin tone. Speak with patients who have been treated at the clinic who share similar hair/skin combinations and ask about their experiences. During initial consultations, it is advisable to ask for photographs of similar patients before and after treatment, to see the practitioner’s results for yourself. You should make sure to see a picture of the targeted area 6 months after treatment, to assess the risks of permanent scarring. Clinics with a good reputation and track-record of working with your particular skin and hair tone will be able to supply you with these and will usually deliver the best results.
It is also important to consider the costs of laser hair removal, as pricing is not standardized or fixed. Shop around and look for clinics with competitive prices and that offer complimentary patch-tests, free touch-up sessions, and discounts or specials. It is also good to identify clinics that structure payments and offer special financing to cover treatment. This is because laser hair removal is considered to be cosmetic and is not, therefore, covered by insurance or medical aid. Laser hair removal treatments will only be covered by insurance when the unwanted hair is caused by a medical condition that physically effects and compromises a patient’s daily life. Furthermore, in the US, laser hair removal cannot be covered as a tax write-off unless the costs exceed 10% of your annual income.