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Laser hair removal has been gaining traction recently as a more permanent method to remove hair from the face, leg, and armpits. While shaving, waxing, or tweezing hair removal options are still popular, laser hair removal uses a high-tech procedure to ensure precision. It’s also fast, with small areas like the upper lip getting treated in less than a minute. If you’re bored with removing body hair as part of your normal grooming routine, we’ve prepared a post on everything you need to know about laser hair removal, including cost and potential risks.

How Does Laser Hair Removal Work?

Laser hair removal is a medical procedure that must be carried out by a qualified doctor or technician. The laser hair removal on the face, armpits, or legs works by targeting the hair follicles, located just below the skin, which are responsible for producing new hair strands.

It sends light into the hair follicle via laser, which is absorbed by the pigment, or melanin in your hair. The light is then converted to heat, which damages the hair follicle. By destroying the follicles, hair production is interrupted or stopped.

Unlike waxing, shaving, and tweezing, where all hair is removed except for the root which remains intact, laser hair removal hits the root with a laser beam, completely destroying it.

There are three main types of lasers, categorized according to skin type:

  • Diode – is effective for light and dark skin.
  • Alexandrite – is the fastest of all laser types and works best for treating larger body areas. It’s suitable for people with light to olive complexions.
  • Nd:YAG – is effective on all skin types, including tanned skin.

The laser hair removal method causes less discomfort compared to other hair removal procedures and leaves the skin undamaged.

Laser Hair Removal Cost

So, how much does it cost to remove hair using laser technology? According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the average price of laser hair removal is between $287 for one session. However, several factors may affect the cost, with some treatments running up to $1,000 per session.

The area of the body where hair will be removed is one of the biggest determining factors. The size of the area usually determines how long it will take to perform the procedure and that’s what determines the price.

The price you pay per session of laser hair removal also varies from provider to provider. The procedure takes several sessions to fully stop hair growth.

As we mentioned, laser hair removal offers a more permanent solution to hair growth in unwanted areas. If you like hairless skin, it’s a more efficient method compared to years of shaving or waxing.

Here’s a breakdown of how much it can cost you (per session) to remove hair using laser technology, based on the area being treated:

Treatment may cost $50 for these areas:

  • Ears
  • Eyebrows
  • Fingers
  • Toes

Treatment may cost $75 for these areas:

  • Elbow
  • Chin
  • Upper lip
  • Forehead

Treatment may cost $100 for these areas:

  • Hands
  • Underarm
  • Feet
  • Navel
  • Areola
  • Basic bikini
  • Inner thigh
  • Knees

Treatment may cost $125 for these areas:

  • Extended bikini
  • Lower back
  • Upper lip and chin
  • Cheeks

Treatment may cost $150 for these areas:

  • Shoulders
  • Neck
  • Brazilian bikini

These areas cost at least $175 per session:

  • Buttocks
  • Half legs
  • Half arms
  • Beard
  • Stomach
  • Chest

It will cost more to do full arms, full legs, full back, full face, and upper back and shoulders.

Some providers even offer special discounted packages for clients who purchase several sessions at once. Speaking of sessions, you’ll likely need at least four to six sessions, spaced about a month apart.

Keep in mind that since laser hair removal is an elective cosmetic procedure, it won’t be covered by insurance. But, since it’s non-intrusive, you should be able to return to work immediately.

Things to Do Before Your Appointment

Before your hair removal session, your doctor should advise you on what to do to prepare. However, there are several guidelines to follow:

  • It’s advisable to shave the area beforehand.
  • If you can, arrive at your appointment with fresh, makeup-free skin.
  • Avoid sun exposure a few days before treatment since laser hair removal doesn’t work effectively on tanned skin.
  • Avoid aspirin or anti-inflammatory drugs, or herbal remedies that may increase bleeding. 
  • Don’t wax, tweeze or bleach your hair at least a month into your session since the root needs to stay intact to allow the laser to work effectively.

Risks Associated with Laser Hair Removal

The FDA states blistering, redness, and discoloration as possible risks of laser hair removal. Your hair could also grow back, which doctors note that you may require yearly treatments to stop the new hair from growing.

The process is not painful, but most clients describe feeling “a light, warm pinch.” One important thing to keep in mind is that you need to attend every session. Most patients are known to stop the process once hair growth slows down. The only way the laser hair removal procedure works effectively is to follow it through to the last session.

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