Laser hair removal has it rough. There are so many misconceptions about it. Myths that ruin its reputation bit by bit. Fortunately, that is just what they are. Myths and misconceptions. Ergo, not true. One of those is that laser hair removal is very expensive. We’ve talked about the cost of laser hair removal already.
Sure, it is not insignificant and still represents a consequential upfront investment. However, is it really that expensive? To answer this question, one needs to take a few things into account. First, what does laser hair removal actually entail. Then, what can affect its cost and what other hair removal methods are available.
Third, to make a sound decision, patients must know all the benefits of laser hair removal. When it comes to spending a fair bit of money, it is important to know exactly what you are getting into. This is also how one can reach a conclusion as per whether laser hair removal is expensive.
What is laser hair removal?
Laser hair removal is a long-term hair growth reduction method. It can reduce hair growth by up to 90% through multiple laser sessions. Although it does not qualify as a permanent hair removal method as per the FDA definition, a lot of patients still experience permanent hair removal. Laser hair removal works on all skin colors, hair types and hair colors.
Laser hair removal uses a concept called selective photothermolysis. Selective photothermolysis is an optical technique used to ablate tissue in targeted regions. The major goal of the technique is to heat targeted tissue with a laser and destroy it without damaging surrounding tissue. In the context of laser hair removal, the target is the pigment in the hair that leads to the hair follicle.
During a laser hair removal session, the laser gun emits light energy that targets the pigment in the hair. Once the light has been absorbed by the melanin, it travels down to the hair follicle. There, it turns into thermal energy and anchors itself to the follicle. The heat will destroy the hair follicle, preventing any further growth.
Laser hair removal only works when the hair is in the anagen phase of growth. Indeed, it is the only time when the hair and follicle connect, allowing the energy to travel from the former to the latter. Because only 20% of all body hair is in the anagen phase of growth at any point in time, one session can only target up to 20% of the hair on the treated area.
This explains why patients need multiple sessions to permanently remove unwanted body hair. Each session must be six weeks apart. Thus, hair that previously was not in the right phase of growth, moves to the anagen phase and can be treated.
What factors determine laser hair removal prices?
At Infinity Laser Spa, we offer laser packages with a set number of sessions for a set price. All our laser hair removal packages come with at least six sessions. However, it is possible that you need more than six sessions and there are a few factors that can influence how many you need and how "expensive" your treatment may be.
The clinic and equipment
Laser hair removal is a very popular hair removal treatment. Although it is fairly recent, the industry has seen the creation of many new laser machines companies as well as the opening of new laser spas and clinics. The higher-end the laser spa you go to, the higher the cost.
While it may be tempting to pick a cheaper laser clinic, it is important to focus on quality. The location and the quality of the facility will be a factor of course. And so will be the equipment and expertise of the technicians. Depending on the type of laser machines used, the treatment may be more expensive.
There are different laser machines from different brands. High-end equipment comes at a bigger cost, which needs to be compensated in the treatment cost. At Infinity Laser Spa, we use Vertex Lasers and Alma Laser machines, which offer painless and fast procedures. They are diode machines and can work on all skin types and hair color.
Your skin tone and hair color
Although laser hair removal works on all skin tones and hair color, the ideal candidate has dark hair and light skin. This is because the skin-to-hair contrast is sharper. Thus, the laser can more easily pick up the pigment in the hair. Dark hair on dark skin or fair hair on fair skin do not offer that strong contrast.
Thus, people of color and people with fair hair may need more sessions. This will increase the cost of the treatment. The machine will indeed have a bit more difficulty to target the hair. Blonde hair for example is very low in pigment. Thus, it may be difficult for the laser to find the hair and send the energy to the follicle.
The size of the area treated
Laser clinics usually charge a price based on the size of the area. The bigger the area, the longer it takes to treat it, and therefore the more expensive it becomes. While eight sessions of laser hair removal for a small area like the underarms cost $99, six sessions for the full legs costs $1305. This is because the underarms will take 10 minutes to treat while the full legs will require a good 45 minutes.
Other factors may influence the efficiency and duration of a laser treatment, which will influence the price. Hair growth is triggered by hormones. Thus, people with high hormone levels, taking hormone-based medication or birth control may need additional sessions. Genetics as well as their hair growth cycle, hair coarseness and type may also play a role.
What is the cost of other hair removal methods?
Is laser hair removal that expensive? The best way to know is to find a point of comparison. Without a frame of reference, it would be very hard to answer that question. At the end of the day, it all comes down to finding the best hair removal method for you. And it must be sustainable, affordable as well as efficient.
Shaving is the most common hair removal method. It is fast, convenient and seemingly cheap. A few minutes in the shower and you are done. However, it does not contribute to reducing hair growth at all. Because the razor cuts the hair flat at the surface of the skin, the hair looks thicker and darker when it grows back. Regrowth is also very often irritating and itchy.
The price of shaving varies from one person to another, depending on how often people do shave. Men will shave their face every day. Women will shave their underarms and legs every other day. It is advised to change razor every two weeks if you shave every day. Changing the cartridge may prove more efficient however.
The cost of shaving is not low. Buying a single razor may seem cheap but in the long-term, the bill adds up. The average cost of a razor is $15 while three cartridges cost $15. Shaving cream cost $10 and will cover two leg shaving for women. If you change razor three times a year and cartridge twice a month the cost will add up to at least $405 a year. If you shave for 50 years, you will have spent $20,250 on shaving.
Waxing is another very popular hair removal method. Repetitive waxing will contribute to hair growth reduction in the very long-term. It will however take decades before the hair follicles are damaged enough to stop producing new hair. Waxing also has side effects to be aware of: ingrown hair, sensitive skin, bleeding, bumps.
Patients usually wax once a month. The most popular treatment areas are the underarms, the upper lip, the full legs and the bikini. Not including tax, the cost of one treatment will be around $100. Done once a month, the cost per year is $1,200. This does not include tax nor tip. If you wax for thirty years, this will cost you at least $36,000. Which is quite expensive in the end.
Depilatory creams are a technique similar to shaving. The difference is that instead of cutting the hair, it dissolves it. However, it does not remove the root nor contributes to reducing hair growth. Creams are packed with chemicals, which are often harmful to the skin. It is strongly advised not to treat the bikini areas with chemical creams.
The results of depilatory creams never go over a week. Usually, patients see hair growing back after three to four days. Most people thus need to depilate twice a week, which amounts for 8 to 9 times a month. The average cost for a bottle of cream is $8.
The total cost per month is $64 or $768 per year. If you stick to depilatory creams for 50 years, that will cost you $38,000. Depilatory creams end up being even more expensive than waxing while the results do not go over a few days.
Electrolysis is the only other permanent hair removal method. Contrary to laser hair removal, it does not target an area all at once. Instead, electrolysis targets each hair follicle, one at a time. It sends an electric current directly into each single hair follicle to destroy it and stop hair growth.
Because each hair follicle is targeted individually, each area takes much longer to treat. Thus of course, the bigger the area, the longer it will take to treat. The cost of an electrolysis session goes around $45 for a small area. An electrolysis session is not priced per area but per the length of each session.
For example, a 30 minutes session will cost $45. 30 minutes may be enough to treat the upper lip or the underarms. However, it won’t be for the full legs. Each 30 minute session will be able to treat a bit of the full legs. The patients will have to come back to complete the full area multiple times. In the end, the cost is quite high.
What are the benefits of laser treatments?
Why should patients undergo laser hair removal? What makes it better than any other hair removal method? Laser hair removal has a lot of benefits that justify its cost and prove that it is relatively inexpensive.
It has few side effects
Laser hair removal has very few side effects. Like any other cosmetic procedure there are risk and potential negative side effects. Potential side effects include burns, scarring and hyperpigmentation along with sun damage. However, a good aftercare will help avoid most of those.
Certified technicians will always advise patients to avoid sunlight, tanning, UV rays exposure. This will help avoid sun damage such as sunburns, hyperpigmentation and hypopigmentation. During a laser session, it is important to communicate with the technician. If the laser is too hot, it is crucial to say so.
It provides long-lasting results
Laser hair removal is a long-term hair growth reduction method. While it is not considered a permanent hair removal method, a lot of patients do experience permanent hair removal. Other patients may need a touch-up session once a year or after a few years.
However, the results are long-lasting. The hair starts growing back immediately after shaving. The results of waxing last up to four weeks. Depilatory creams remove unwanted hair for up to seven days. Laser hair removal will get patients rid of their hair for a very long time, or even permanently.
It solves skincare problems
Both waxing and shaving are aggressive to the skin. The skin is more sensitive, irritable and prone to redness and infection. The hair is also removed in the direction opposite to its growth. This can lead the hair to grow back on itself and curl under the skin, causing ingrown hair outbreaks. Ingrown hair is quite prone to infections.
Laser hair removal damages the hair follicle. Thus, no more hair will grow. If there is no hair to grow and curl up against the skin, there is no risk of ingrown hair. A laser treatment is thus a good alternative for patients with sensitive skin and thin hair who suffer from ingrown hair.
It is not painful
Electrolysis is painful. Waxing is extremely painful. Especially when treating the bikini area. On the other hand, laser hair removal is not. First because pain is not the right term to use here. Even though pain is subjective and varies from one person to another, the sensation felt during laser hair removal is unpleasant and uncomfortable but it is manageable.
Second, laser hair removal feels like rubber bands snapping at the skin. It can also be compared to pitching or mosquito bites. But it does not really hurt. And it makes the treatment much more bearable than waxing. Sensitive and hormonal areas such as the bikini will be more unpleasant and uncomfortable though.
Is laser hair removal that expensive?
Laser hair removal can seem like a big upfront investment. This of course depends on the size of the areas a client will treat. While at Infinity Laser Spa, we have laser deals that make laser treatments more affordable, some still amount to a large sum. Large areas like the full legs will always cost more. However, when laser hair removal is considered a long-term skincare investment, it is not as expensive.
The most popular areas are the full legs, the underarms, the full Brazilian and the upper lip. For the sake of this article, we will use non-discounted prices. Six sessions of full legs ($1,350), full Brazilian ($715), underarms ($490) and upper lip will cost ($245). Considering that the Brazilian and upper lip are hormonal areas, patients may need up to 4 more sessions, which cost an additional $322. Total, the treatment will cost $3,122.
One year worth of laser hair removal treatment is less than three years worth of waxing. The difference is that once a patient is done with their laser treatment, the hair is gone for a very long time, if not permanently. While waxing would still require monthly attention. From that perspective, it seems that the amount of money saved thanks to laser hair removal in the long-term is quite significant. And thus worth it.
Laser hair removal is not that expensive in the long-term. However, the upfront investment remains high. This is why a lot of laser clinics offer payment plans to patients. For example, at Infinity Laser Spa, people can pay in four installments with Quadpay or six installments with Split It on our website. In store, they can pay in two or three installments.