The safe and long-lasting results of laser hair removal have made it the primary choice for eliminating unwanted body hair. It doesn’t damage the surrounding tissue and is done with minimal pain and recovery time.
However, you should always make an informed choice by comparing the cost and benefits of laser vs. other hair removal systems, then choose whether to have it professionally done or with at-home devices.
This ensures you will make the best decision according to your circumstances.
- 1 2019 Laser Hair Removal Cost Statistics Report: Results
- 1.1 Figure 2. Diagram of laser hair removal treatment areas.
- 1.2 Table 1. The average professional laser hair removal prices in the US per treatment area.
- 1.3 Figure 3. Overview of the US national average fees for laser hair removal.
- 1.4 Table 2. The average professional laser hair removal prices in the US per state, per treatment area
- 2 Initial Consultation
- 3 Cost & Pricing Factors
- 4 Pricing Structure
- 5 Insurance Coverage
- 6 Methodology
- 7 Frequently Asked Questions:
2019 Laser Hair Removal Cost Statistics Report: Results
The cost of professional laser hair removal is mainly determined by your geographic location, the size of the treated area, specific patient needs, and the quality of practice. (Jump to: Cost & Pricing Factors)
Laser hair removal is not a one-off process. Results require multiple treatments spaced 3-6 weeks apart due to hair cycle phases. How many you will ultimately need depends on your genetics, race, and individual factors (eg. hormones). It also relies on the body area and the device used.
According to the 2018 Plastic Surgery Statistics Report, the national average surgeon or physician fee for laser hair removal is $285. Assuming you go in for the minimum required six sessions, it adds up to $1,710. These fees generally do not include anesthesia, operating room facilities or other related expenses.
Our 2019 Laser Hair Removal Cost Statistics Report, which includes the average fees of IPL services performed by laser technicians in medical spas and clinics, marks it down to $143 per treatment. If you go for a minimum of six treatments, it would total $858.
As it is considered a cosmetic procedure, most health insurance plans do not cover cosmetic surgery or its complications. (Jump to: Insurance Coverage)
Figure 2. Diagram of laser hair removal treatment areas.
Common body areas covered by laser skin clinics. You can use this as a general guide for the treatment’s extent of coverage.
The treatment size and body area location are another major determining factor of prices. Larger areas with thicker hair tend to be more expensive.
Table 1. The average professional laser hair removal prices in the US per treatment area.
This is priced on a per session basis. Depending on your current skin and hair condition, full treatments may range from 6-8 sessions, at 3-6 weeks interval. These may come as a package or can be bought as separate treatments.
Male prices are 25%-30% higher on average because of coarser and more concentrated hairs that take more treatment time and laser energy.
There are many variables that can affect your treatment, but most people would need 6-8 sessions for full results. For more accurate pricing, contact your local provider.
|wdt_ID||Laser Treatment Area||Treatment Area Description||Female Price||Male Price||Unisex Price||Laser Area Size||Body Region|
|1||Face, Full||Usually customized per client and can include any of these areas: forehead, above and between the eyebrows, cheeks, sideburns, nose, upper lip, chin, jawline||188||297||274||Medium||Face|
|2||Eyebrows||Usually used in contouring or shaping the eyebrows||83||79||83||Small||Face|
|3||Glabella (Unibrow)||Between the eyebrows, for correcting unibrows||63||63||62||Small||Face|
|4||Cheeks||From dark, coarse hair to light peach fuzz on the cheeks, usually gets in the way of makeup application||93||97||95||Small||Face|
|5||Sideburns||Lateral cheeks, close to the ears and hairline||90||87||91||Small||Face|
|6||Ears||Usually done on men who develops excess hair on their outer ear in their 20s to late 30s||72||70||70||Small||Face|
|7||Nose||Targets visible nose hairs around the nostrils||62||59||57||Small||Face|
|8||Upper Lip||From mustaches to peach fuzz above the lips||74||75||75||Small||Face|
|9||Chin||Hair below the lower lips||83||84||84||Small||Face|
|10||Beard/Jaw||Area from the chin extending to the ear and upper neck||145||158||154||Medium||Face|
Figure 3. Overview of the US national average fees for laser hair removal.
Table 2. The average professional laser hair removal prices in the US per state, per treatment area
This includes aggregate fees of plastic surgeons and laser technicians in medical spas. N/A is where not enough data is collected.
Again, these are on a per session basis. Most people would need 5-10 sessions to get full results.
Click the (+) to expand. For easier viewing, you can use the search box on the upper right of the table and type in your state.
|wdt_ID||US State||Face, Full||Glabella||Cheeks||Sideburns||Ears||Upper Lip||Chin||Beard/Jaw||Neck, Front||Neck, Back||Shoulders||Underarms||Arms, Full||Arms, Upper||Arms, Lower||Hands||Chest||Pero-Areola||Abdomen||Linea Nigra Line/Happy trail||Back, Full||Back, Upper||Back, Lower||Brazilian||Bikini, Full||Bikini, Basic||Buttocks||Legs, Full||Legs, Upper/Thighs||Legs, Lower||Feet|
Your initial consultation with will usually involve: setting your goals and expectations for the treatment, discussing your medical condition and history, your current medications, an explanation of the various aspects of laser hair removal, a physical evaluation including a skin and hair assessment, any risks or potential complications, and a recommendation of a course of treatment.
When choosing a provider, consider the following:
- Quality of the practice – This can range from board-certified dermatologists to laser technicians in clinics. Always ask for before and after photos from their other patients. (They should be showing these off.)
- Pricing – Is it within your budget? (Compute by your estimated total no. of sessions. Packaged pricing comes with a discount but are paid up front.) Is it covered by your insurance? (Cosmetic procedures are unlikely, but some plastic surgeons have financing plans.)
- Convenient location – you’ll need multiple visits to complete your treatment
- Equipment and technology used, especially for Fitzpatrick skin types (FST) IV-VI, as they usually require certain types of machines
Here are some guide questions you can ask your laser provider:
- What are my options for hair removal, and which procedure is the best one for me?
- Can you walk me through the process of the treatment?
- What is the estimated cost of the procedure per session and overall? Do you have packages and do those come with a discount? Is it covered by my insurance? (Unlikely, but no harm in asking!)
- How long is one appointment?
- How often and how far apart are should my treatments be?
- What are the risks, common side effects or complications of this procedure?
- How can I prepare for the treatment? Do you have a list I can refer to as a reminder?
- Does the treatment hurt? What are my pain management or anesthesia options and how much do they cost?
- What should I expect after the procedure? (e.g. recovery time, short-term and long-term effects, activity restrictions, etc.)
- Do you have before-and-after photos from your previous patients to help me prepare for what to expect?
Cost & Pricing Factors
The cost of laser hair removal can vary according to the business locality, standards of practice, extent of areas to be treated, current skin and hair condition, as well as the frequency of visits.
- Practice Location – The cost of living varies per state and impacts goods and services, including aesthetic procedures like laser hair removal. Prime locations tend to be more expensive as they also bear higher overheads and real estate expenses.
- Local Market – Larger markets and those with a greater cultural emphasis on aesthetics tend to have more competition. For example, California is far more competitive than Ohio.
- Expertise & Quality of Practice – Some practices may be equipped with more advanced laser removal technology and may offer personalized services to their patients. Ideally, the best choice are qualified cosmetic surgeons because they follow the same medical standards for non-invasive laser hair removal as they do medical procedures. They are usually in dermatology and plastic surgery practices and charge more than laser clinics and medical spas.
- Luxury brands also tend to charge more for the same service as a regular medical spa. The most expensive laser hair removal provider will be an in-house physician for a luxury brand.
Pricing can vary but these are the industry standard for professional laser hair removal. These can be tailored to your needs after an assessment.
- Body Treatment Area – You are usually charged a flat fee according to body areas. The price increases with the area and thickness of hair.
- Size Categories – Another common pricing method is grouping treatment areas according to their general size.
- Small (approx. $75) – Areola, Brows, Cheeks, Chin, Ears, Feet, Hands, Happy Trail, Knuckles, Nose, Sideburns, Toes, Upper Lip
- Medium (approx. $125) – Back Neck, Bikini Line, Breasts, Buttocks, Front Neck, Full Face, Lower Arms, Lower Back, Shoulders, Underarms, Upper Arms
- Large (approx. $175) – Abdomen, Brazilian, Chest, Full Arms, Lower Back, Lower Legs, Upper Back, Upper Legs
- Extra Large (approx. $300) – Full Back, Full Torso, Full Legs
- Full body (approx. $1200)
- Packages – Because laser hair removal needs multiple treatments to be effective, clinics tend to offer treatment packages at a discount and to make you pay in full, up front. These start at 6 treatments up to 10. Custom packages can also be offered that bundles specific areas one treatment. Eg. Women’s Swim Package (approx. $2000) – Bikini, Underarms, Full legs x 6 treatments.
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, laser hair removal is the #4 cosmetic minimally invasive procedure done in 2018 with over 1 million done in the United States.
Laser hair removal is considered cosmetic surgery, so is not usually covered by insurance. If you have a medical condition such as hirsutism, a hormonal disorder, you can contest this to your insurance as a medical necessity.
Some plastic surgeons have patient financing plans, you can ask during your consultation. (Personally, I wouldn’t go into debt for this as there are medi-spas and at-home devices can be effective and affordable solutions.)
Sample, Questionnaire and Interviewing. The universe for this study is the service fees for laser hair removal in the continental US. This does not include anesthesia, operating room facilities, and other related expenses. The sample was selected in two stages. In the first stage, the sampling frame was a list of medical and aesthetic practices that offered laser hair removal as part of their service. The second stage of sampling was on data viability. In practices where sufficient data collection was reached, the data then was deconstructed to fall in line with our categorical sets.
The survey consists of 1,020 interviews. All sample surveys are subject to possible sampling error; that is, the results may differ from those which obtained if the entire population under study were interviewed. The margin of sampling error for the entire survey is plus or minus 2.5 percentage points at the 95 percent level of confidence. This means that in 95 out of 100 samples of this size, the results obtained in the sample would fall in a range of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points of what would have been obtained if every practice in the U.S. had been interviewed.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Are the results permanent?
Yes, there is a permanent reduction but it’s not a one-off series of treatments. Some people will have to go back for another series at some point to keep it at bay.
Those that need follow-up treatments usually have hair growth that is hormone-driven. 10-20% of females have PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome), which is very common. This can cause hirsutism, which excessive hair growth. If you have it (like I do), laser hair removal doesn’t work as well when it comes to permanency. You might need to return 2-3 times on the first year, and annually thereafter. (Quick medical tip if you have PCOS: You can include a TVCS or transvaginal ultrasound on one of your OB visits to just to make sure that those cysts are kept in check. If you’re predisposed, it’s better to be safe than sorry.)
For men, who have a lot of testosterone, hair tends to be thicker (especially on the back). They will need more treatments, sometimes up to 10. And because its testosterone-driven, sometimes it returns much quicker than normal.
What should be done before any laser hair removal treatment?
- Shave the area prior to treatment. Some medispas also offer this as a service for an extra charge.
- Do not apply or remove any lotions, creams, perfumes, deodorants, or any potential irritants in the treatment area
- Avoid aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs, and herbal supplements to decrease the risk of bleeding
What are the things that should be avoided prior to treatment?
For 2-3 weeks prior to your first treatment and throughout, avoid:
- Plucking & Waxing – the hair root is needed for deactivation
- Tanning & Excessive Sun Exposure – this can interfere with the absorption of light and cause unusual lightening of the skin
- Artificial tanning lotions – can also interfere with light absorption and cause unusual bumps and burns
- Chemical peels
- Collagen Injections
- Depilatory Creams
- Medications that make you sensitive to light – this makes the skin more susceptible to burning and scarring
What should you expect during treatment?
A handheld device flashes concentrated light to the skin. If needed, a cooling air, gel, or spray is applied. You may feel a stinging or tingling sensation, but this is usually minimal.
Duration of the treatment can span anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour, depending on the area.
What is to be expected post-treatment?
There may be a mild sensation similar to a sunburn and possibly some minor swelling of the hair follicle. This is a normal occurrence and usually lasts for about 2-24 hours after treatment. If it becomes a bother, the area can be soothed by applying cooling gel packs or over-the-counter pain meds. You may also be given topical antiseptic cream after treatment.
Avoid direct sun exposure for at least a week after the laser procedure.
7-30 days after, the treated hair will slowly be expelled from the follicle. It may seem like growth, but it’s just the remaining hair slowly being pushed out from the skin.
Some of the hair that’s not in the ‘active’ phase during the treatment are missed during the first session and usually covered in the next one. This is one of the reasons why consistent timely appointments are necessary for an effective overall treatment.
How long is the interval between treatments?
Hair grows at different intervals, so they will need to be treated accordingly:
- Face – 6-8 weeks
- Chest & Back – 8-10 weeks
- Bikini – 8-10 weeks
- Legs – 10-12 weeks
Diseases, medication, and hormones can affect the outcome of your treatment.
Did you know: Doing sessions more frequently doesn’t increase the success of your treatment. For best results, it’s best to follow your laser technician or physician.
What are the possible risks of laser hair removal?
As with any medical or cosmetic treatment, there are risks associated with it.
These can include:
- Burns or blisters
- Skin pigmentation issues
In one study on the side effects of long-pulsed Ruby, Q-switched Nd:YAG, and Alexandrite lasers; there are some undesirable effects on tanned skin and Fitzpatrick skin phototypes III and higher. No scarring, infections, or long-term complications occurred.
When will I see results?
Results vary for each patient depending on the thickness and color of your hair, treated area, type of laser used, and the color of your skin. Most people can expect a 10-20% hair reduction after the first treatment.
Most people would need 6-8 laser treatments for full results. Some continue to be hairless for several months or years, while others may need regular maintenance. When it does grow back, it will be thinner, finer, and less in volume.
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