Laser hair removal is a treatment wherein laser light is used to impair hair follicles and induce permanent hair reduction. The cost of laser hair removal is affected by several factors, including the clinic location and specialty, hair density, body area and number of areas for treatment, skin tone, and time required. Price plans are available for most clinics, but may be adjusted depending on one or more of these elements.
All other factors excluded, clinic location alone will greatly affect the cost of laser hair removal. Local costs of real estate and utilities are computed when prices for services are set. Rate of living and economy also affect the costs when comparing clinics internationally. The specialization of the clinic in question will also affect the cost. Plastic surgeons and dermatologists generally charge more for laser hair removal than do clinics that specialize strictly in this practice.
The patient's physiology will affect the cost as well. Certain clinics adjust their prices based on the density of the hair in the area to be treated. Hair follicles growing closely together mean that more time must be spent treating the area, which in turn means more sessions.
The specific body part to be treated also factors into the cost of laser hair removal. This is largely based on the difficulty of treating the area, and the amount of hair to be treated. For example, treatment of the back will generally cost three times as much as similar treatment for the upper lip. It should be noted that patients with more than one area to be treated will often be able to get a package deal if they have several areas treated simultaneously. Obtaining such a bulk discount will therefore also affect the cost.
Another element to consider is the patient's skin tone. The cost of laser hair removal can be affected if the individual has dark skin, due to the way lasers work. The skin has a natural ability to absorb light, which allows the laser to do its work. Dark skin, however, tends to absorb more light than average, due to the amount of melanin it contains. This means that there is an increased chance of burns or skin discoloration.
For this reason, laser hair removal results are unpredictable for dark-skinned individuals. Greater care must be taken when treating darker skinned patients, and more sessions are required as milder forms of treatment are used to avoid possible injury. The increased number of sessions then increases the cost.
The time required for the treatment is an additional variable in computing the price. This can refer to either the time for each session, or the total number of sessions that were needed to complete the treatment. This is generally based on the factors enumerated above, with the basic principle being that the cost goes up proportional to the difficulty of treating the area. It also includes any other elements that may lengthen the time needed to treat the patient, such as the patient delaying between sessions and allowing hair to begin growing back.
Laser clinics will take one or more of these factors into consideration when computing for the cost of laser hair removal. Due to the varied pricing plans available at each clinic, it is advisable for a patient to scout out several treatment facilities and do background research before committing to anything. Laser clinics generally offer a complimentary consultation, at which the patient can discuss estimated treatment costs in depth.