How much does laser hair removal cost? (2023)

Getting rid of unwanted body hair using temporary hair removal methods such as shaving, tweezing and waxing can be tedious. If you're tired of the cuts from shaving or the burning pain of waxing and want longer-lasting results, consider laser hair removal.

One of the most popular cosmetic procedures, laser hair removal is a convenient way to finally get rid of unwanted hair. Those unfamiliar with the procedure often have many questions, including how much it costs. That's what you need to know about laser hair removal.

What is laser hair removal?

Laser hair removal is a permanent form of body hair removal that uses pulses of laser light to destroy the hair follicle. Waxing removes the tip of the hair follicle and waxing removes the hair at the root, and in both cases the hair grows back. Laser light, on the other hand, basically stops a hair follicle from growing back.

"Laser hair removal requires a true laser that targets the pigment," says Anna Guanche, MD, board-certified dermatologist and founder of the Bella Skin Institute in Calabasas, Calif., adding that the laser heats and damages hair follicles. "When the pigment in the hair bulb is heated, it subtly damages the surrounding tissue and prevents new hair from growing." In fact, research has shown that laser hair removal is an effective way to get rid of unwanted hair.

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During a laser hair removal treatment, you'll first have an appointment to assess your skin type, hair type, and general expectations, says Dr. Guanche. From there, the specialist determines whether you are a good candidate, and if so, they will move forward with the laser experience. There is the option of applying a topical numbing cream to the area to minimize discomfort from the procedure, and then the laser is applied. If you have thick hair, you can shave it before the treatment.

“Upon completion of the laser treatment, a topical soothing gel will be applied,” says Dr. Guanche. "Also, SPF is usually applied to the treated area (if exposed to the sun)."

The average cost of laser hair removal

Laser hair removal is often considered a beauty investment. It costs more money than shaving or waxing, but over time, when treatments are no longer needed, you can save money on body waxing costs.

Many factors affect the price of this procedure. “Laser hair removal costs vary depending on the area of ​​the body treated, geographic location, experience of the person performing the procedure, and the time it takes to perform the procedure,” says dermatologist Corey L. Hartman, M.D., founder of Skin. Wellness Dermatology in Birmingham, Alabama. . “Costs for individual treatment sessions are generally in the $100 to $800 range.”

In 2020, the average cost of laser hair removal without other related expenses was $389, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.[1]laser waxing. American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Consulted on 09/11/2021..

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Below, we look at the average costs of common areas of treatment. Keep in mind that the average prices listed below are per treatment, and you may need four to six treatments total, according to Dr. Guanche.

Average cost of laser hair removal for large areas

If laser hair removal is done on large areas of the body, such as the back or legs, the cost will likely be higher than removing hair from small areas. “Typically, a large area like the back or legs can cost upwards of $600 per treatment,” says Dr. Guanche.

Average cost of laser hair removal for small areas

Smaller body areas are going to be less expensive. This can include the bikini line, underarms and facial areas such as the chin, lips and sideburns. “The bikini can cost between US$250 and US$350 per treatment, depending on whether it is Brazilian [remove the hair from the labial area to the perianal region] or a regular V-shaped bikini [remove the hair from the groin area, leaving a V or a lock of hair on the mount of Venus],” says Dr. Guanche. She adds that lower face and chin can cost around $250 per treatment, and underarm waxing can cost $175 to $225 per treatment.

What is included in the cost of laser hair removal?

The cost of laser hair removal typically includes the office visit, application of topical anesthesia to numb the pain, laser treatment, and topical application of aftercare products such as soothing agents and sunscreen, according to Dr. Guanche and Dr. Hartman. .

How many laser hair removal treatments are needed?

Ultimately, it could be a more permanent hair removal solution, but laser hair removal treatment is not a quick fix. Just one laser hair removal treatment can be enough to make the hairs thinner, lighter and thinner, but to be completely hairless you will need to go through the procedure four to six times. In the first year, Dr. Guanche recommends touch-ups every four to six weeks, depending on how your hair is growing.

“Multiple treatments are needed [to be fully effective],” says Dr. Guanche. “Laser treatment can reduce the size and diameter of the hair, put it in complete remission, or not affect the hair at all. For this reason, multiple treatments are needed at four to six week intervals." You may even need yearly touch-ups for a few years after your first procedure.

Does insurance cover laser hair removal?

Most of the time, you shouldn't expect your health insurance to cover the cost of laser hair removal. The Doctor. Hartman notes that you can use a flexible spending account to cover costs.

However, insurance may cover laser hair removal in rare cases, adds Dr. Guanche. This could include patients with conditions such as pilonidal cysts or hidradenitis suppurativa (which are skin conditions that can be painful and can be treated with laser hair removal). But he adds, "In my experience, it's a daunting process to convince insurers to cover laser hair removal."

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Always ask the office receptionist if they offer package options or flexible payment plans.

The benefits of laser hair removal

Laser hair removal can be expensive, but it also has a number of benefits, including:

  • Remove unwanted body hair.This is one of the most permanent body hair removal/reduction solutions out there.
  • Makes skin smooth and even.Laser hair removal can "alleviate skin issues associated with hair growth, such as folliculitis and discoloration," and it can also "reduce pigmentation issues associated with unwanted hair," according to Dr. Hartman.
  • It reduces the time spent on removing body hair.Once you are done with laser treatments, you no longer need to spend time shaving or waxing. "There's no need to shave, shave, shave or the irritation that comes with these procedures," says Dr. Guanche.
  • No risk of ingrown hairs.The Doctor. Guanche notes that ingrown hairs, which often go hand in hand with shaving and waxing, are "a thing of the past after laser hair removal."

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Disadvantages of laser hair removal

There are also some disadvantages to consider, including the following:

  • Temporary discomfort with the procedure.Laser hair removal can cause side effects such as mild swelling, mild reddening of the skin and temporary irritation that leads to blistering, scabs, scarring or changes in skin texture, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. However, some research has shown that the side effects are limited and not serious.
  • Direct expenses.Laser hair removal costs more than other hair removal methods.
  • The possibility of pigmentation problems.Laser hair removal can cause pigmentation depending on your skin type. “Lighter skin types with darker hair are best,” says Dr. Guanche. “This is because the laser can more accurately target dark hairs. This also allows the practitioner to use more energy for more results.” If you have dark skin and hair, the laser can also target the pigment in your skin, which can lead to burns or hyperpigmentation. When lasers are applied to dark skin, energy levels need to be kept low to reduce these side effects, resulting in more treatment sessions to achieve the desired results. “Darker skin types may require more treatments as energy levels need to drop,” says Dr. Guanche. "On the other hand, lighter hair types may also require more treatments, as there isn't much pigmentation to absorb the laser energy."
  • Some drawbacks."It's very important to avoid the sun and protect yourself in the weeks before and after treatment," says Dr. Guanche, which is something to think about in terms of hot weather and a possible vacation.
  • Intermediate period of treatments.Between treatments, Dr. Guanche says you may need to allow the hair to grow back without shaving or pulling.
  • Potential for ineffectiveness:Experts point out that the effectiveness of the laser can be influenced by genetic predisposition, medications taken and nutritional factors. For example, people taking testosterone may not experience as effective long-term results due to the medication.


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