The Truth About Laser Hair Removal in Pittsburgh | Happel Laser

The Truth About Laser Hair Removal in Pittsburgh | Happel Laser

Laser Hair Removal Tricks of the Trade You Should Know

10 Lies That Laser Hair Removal Businesses in Pittsburgh Tell

laser hair removal sign with a stethescopeLaser hair removal has become a super competitive business.

As a result, the number of places trying to take advantage of you is increasing.

New laser offices are opening all of the time.


Doctors and hospitals used to be the only options when it came to having laser treatments.

Not anymore.

Because of the total lack of regulations pertaining to laser hair removal, almost anyone can operate a laser for cosmetic purposes in most states.

It’s become extremely competitive. It’s difficult to be successful doing laser hair removal these days.

In fact, it’s become so competitive that the two largest national laser hair removal chains had to expand their services to survive. That smacks of desperation.

These additional services that they added include tattoo removal, cellulite removal, spider vein removal, and injectables and fillers for wrinkles and lip enhancement.

Different kinds of doctors are adding laser and aesthetic treatments to supplement their incomes.

Not just plastic surgeons anymore.

Family doctors, gynecologists, internists, and dermatologists have all jumped on the gravy train. Many are giving up their old insurance based practices entirely.

The reason that these other specialists are adding aesthetic services to their practices include:

  • Lower insurance reimbursements and stricter insurance regulations
  • Burdensome and expensive electronic medical records
  • Lifestyle disconnects including answering calls at all times, working on weekends, and holidays.
  • Increasing work-loads demanded by their employers since fewer doctors are self-employed than in the past.
  • Increasing job dissatisfaction dealing with profit motivated insurance companies

Their solution to these problems is to start a cash business where their patients pay out-of-pocket for their services. All of these problems can be solved when the doctors stop participating with insurance companies.

The average doctor finishes medical school with a half million dollars in debt.

As a result, many doctors are increasingly becoming entrepreneurs.

To attract clients, many new laser places have to pull out all of the stops to survive. Cutting corners to maximize profits is the first step to disaster.

The inevitable outcome is loss of reputation, loss of a loyal and committed customer base, eventual bankruptcy and end of days.

When you’re caught in the downward spiral of these kinds of operations, laser hair removal regret is the outcome.

Laser hair removal is totally unregulated in most states. There is no consumer protection agency or government department that has your back. That forces you to be extra careful when choosing a laser hair removal facility.

Five Tips to Avoid Laser Hair Removal Regret

Here are the hidden secrets of disreputable laser hair removal offices:

#1 They Turn Down the Settings on the Laser

Lasers settings can be adjusted depending on the situation.

Settings can be turned up when hair is not being reduced as it should.

On the other hand, it can be turned down when people are complaining of the discomfort of the heat.

Unscrupulous laser operators who are out for a buck can turn the laser down requiring you to come back for more treatments than what would normally would be required.

That costs you more money and lost time.

#2 They Treat All Comers Despite Their Hair Color

lady stroking her faceLaser hair removal works best on dark hair and light skin.

The laser targets the dark pigment in the hair follicles.

Lack of pigment as seen in red, grey, or blond hair makes laser hair removal ineffective and a waste of time and money.

Dishonest laser companies won’t tell people with light colored hair that it won’t work and take their money anyway. When these people complain, they’ll just be shown the contract that they signed saying that results are not guaranteed.

#3 They Advertise Laser Hair Removal as Painless

Pain is subjective during laser hair removal.

After you walk out of the office, it doesn’t hurt unless there is a complication.

Choose a laser office where the laser shoots a cooling pulse of Cryogen gas with each pulse right before each laser zap.

A laser without Cryogen is like Coke without its fizz.

Ask for an ice pack. Bring a squeeze ball. Talk to your laser operator during your procedure.

It will help to distract you.

Use numbing creams over small areas. Numbing creams should never be used without a doctor’s supervision or for large areas because of the risk of lethal toxicity.

#4 They Purposely Underestimate the Number of Treatments

Because laser hair removal requires a number of treatments for different body parts, it’s complicated and results can vary.

Desperate laser hair removal offices will deliberately underestimate the number of treatments that are required.

They also underestimate the realistic degree of hair reduction after each treatment.

#5 They Use Disingenuous Laser Hair Removal Package Marketing

contract on a hookSuspect marketing techniques in this industry include binding contracts that force you to buy a series of treatments that may not work for you. That is just plain unethical.

The best advice is to never prepay for any service including laser hair removal.

Signing legal contracts locks you into returning even if you are dissatisfied for any reason. Many laser hair removal offices have gone bankrupt. Unbelievably, bankruptcy doesn’t cancel your obligation to pay for unused treatments when you purchase a package.

Beware of the closers in offices that market these laser hair removal packages.

Phony discounts of front-loaded package “deals” often include the magic word “free”.

They often throw in small areas like underarms for free to get you to sign up for a package.

How Laser Hair Removal Package Marketing Really Works

#6 They Use IPL Instead of a True Laser

ddoctor holding medical ethics cardIPL stands for intense pulsed light.

IPL is widely accepted as not as effective as laser for hair removal.

Often places that use the less expensive IPL machines will falsely advertise them as laser.

It’s purposely deceptive and unethical to misrepresent IPL as laser.

Make sure that you ask for and demand only a true laser when you have your laser hair removal procedures.

#7 They Advertise Ridiculously Low Prices

Running a laser hair removal office is not cheap.

People expect the offices to be clean, attractive and convenient.

On the other hand, many people just look for the cheapest place.

There’s always an underlying reason that it’s cheap.

Discerning consumers place value over price when all other things are equal.

Prices that are too low are a red flag.

#8 They Offer Fake Discounts of 60% Off

free in a trapEveryone wants a discount.

The word, free, is the most powerful word in advertising.

No on wants to pay the sticker price.

Not paying sticker price is in our DNA.

Have you ever driven past a mattress store without seeing a huge mark down?

Laser hair removal has incorporated this approach to its detriment.

#9 They Claim of 100% Permanent Hair Removal

Reputable places tell people the truth to get return business.

Laser hair removal is hair reduction and not permanent hair removal.

Realistic expectations result in clients who are content with their results. Fly-by-night or hit-and-run laser operations do exist.

They fly under the radar.

That’s why it’s important to find an established location that’s been successful for years in the same location.

That’s where you’ll find happy and satisfied customers.

Remember, don’t expect for all of the hair to be completely gone after your treatments. After each treatment, less hair will come back. And it won’t be as thick or as dark.

#10 Pricing and Groupon Offers

Running a successful laser hair removal business these days is more difficult than ever because of the costs of doing business.

Laser leases, maintenance contracts, and clean professional office spaces are costly.

Because results vary from patient to patient and on the different body areas treated, accurate estimates and pricing is a complex process.

Groupon couponAdd to that the different lasers used at different offices, difference in contracts and packages, and different prices, it becomes difficult to compare laser offices.

Places that offer Groupon are often struggling to survive or just starting out.

After Groupon takes their 50% off after the services have already been deeply discounted, there is little or no profit for the laser operator.

The low rate of return customers and high incidence of bad reviews on the internet makes Groupon a bad business decision.

Dissatisfaction from customers runs high when they do not commit to follow up appointments at the regular price after a high-pressure sales pitch.


Laser hair removal remains a great advance and is one of the most popular cosmetic procedures performed in the United States.

Complete honesty and disclosure is important to the long-term success of a laser hair removal office.

Because laser hair removal has become so competitive, sketchy operators are proliferating.

If people knew what was happening behind the scenes at these places, they would be furious.

Despite this, there are plenty of honest and qualified practitioners who practice with integrity.

Laser remains the best solution for unwanted facial and body hair despite the shortcomings of some laser establishments in Pittsburgh.

Call us at 724-969-0600 to learn more.

About The Author

Dr. John Happel

Dr. John Happel has been in practice as a surgeon since 1986 in the Pittsburgh region. He specializes in vascular surgery and has subspecialized in the treatment of varicose and spider veins since 1999. Dr. Happel is board certified in vascular surgery and recertified in vascular surgery in 2012. He was chosen in 1985 to fulfill the position for the vascular surgical fellowship at the world renowned Mayo Clinic.

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