Selecting a Laser Hair Removal Center

By Amy Candrl

Laser hair removal is one of the most highly sought after cosmetic procedures in the U.S. with over 1 million treatments performed each year. In St Louis there are many laser hair removal providers but very few under the direct supervision of a physician. If you are considering having this procedure performed there are several things you should understand regarding the procedure. Additionally, you need to do your homework before selecting a laser hair removal provider.

Important Facts Regarding Laser Hair Removal

  1. Laser hair removal is more correctly called Laser Hair Reduction. As a general rule, 60-90% of follicles are  destroyed. Darker, coarser follicles absorb more laser energy and are more easily eliminated. Fine, villous hair does not absorb sufficient energy and is usually not destroyed. White, grey, blonde, and red hair will not respond well to laser reduction treatments.
  2. There is a small percentage of non-responders (3-7%) who simply do not respond to the lasers.
  3. Hair grows in cycles and at any point in time approximately 25-30% of remaining follicles are in the growth phase such that they will respond to laser treatments. Thus, it can take 5-10 treatments to get optimal results.
  4. Fine villous hair under hormonal influence can convert to terminal hair which becomes coarser. This may necessitate an occasional follow-up treatment. Women who suddenly notice the appearance of course facial hair are the most likely to identify with this problem.
  5. Laser hair removal should not be performed for 4-6 weeks following significant sun exposure because energy level on the laser need to be set to sub-optimal levels.
  6. When appropriately educated during the consultation, most clients are happy with their laser hair reduction results.

Some of the important facts to consider when selecting a provider:

  1. Laser hair removal is a medical procedure and should be performed under the direction of a medical director. Ask who the medical director is and what their affiliation with the clinic is. Many medical directors are paid a fee but are never on-site and have little to do with the day to day operations of the clinic.
  2. Laser hair removal centers come and go. Look for a center that has been in business for 5 years or more and check their ratings with the Better Business Bureau. Online reviews can be helpful but are often biased as there is no screening of the postings. Hence, competitors and former employees can post negative reviews or current employees can post positive reviews.
  3. Laser hair removal should be very affordable. Since there are a small percentage of non-responders, consider purchasing 1-3 treatments before committing to an expensive package. This will help you determine your response to the treatments as well as whether you can tolerate any discomfort associated with the procedure.
  4. Over the years, several laser hair removal centers have abruptly gone out of business including the largest laser hair removal provider in St Louis at the time of their closing. For this reason, the St Louis Better Business Bureau recommends against purchasing large, expensive laser hair removal packages.
  5. If offered a guarantee, check the language. Usually, there is an on-going charge that can be quite significant for additional treatments. Guarantees will usually not guarantee a hair reduction result since there is variability in response from one person to another.
  6. There are numerous lasers that have been cleared by the FDA for laser hair reduction. Longevity in providing services is probably more important than a claim that a provider has superior equipment.
  7. Avoid centers that use high pressure techniques to get you to sign up immediately for a significant savings or that portray their competitors in a bad light.

The Lifestyle Center is located in Clayton, Missouri just west of downtown St Louis. We have been providing laser hair removal services for 11 years under the direction of Richard Moore, M.D. We offer a free consultation that is tailored to educate you regarding laser hair removal. I encourage you to schedule a free consultation to learn more.

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