The Price of Laser Hair Removal in Pittsburgh: Straight Talk

The Price of Laser Hair Removal in Pittsburgh: Straight Talk

Ideal Image and Milan Laser vs Happel Laser

doctors under a magnifying glass

Let’s begin by talking about the cost and the total price of laser hair removal in Pittsburgh.

First of all, no one charges more than the two big business laser chains, Ideal Image and Milan Laser. Both have satellite offices in Pittsburgh.

The New York Times has previously written an exposé on Aug. 28, 2014 about Ideal Image with an article entitled When a Customer Has Two Reasons to Say Ouch.

While doing research, the New York Times reporter, David Segal, thought initially that the extensive complaints on the internet might be based on a just a few anonymous rants. The fact that the complaints were just so numerous made it clear that this chain has a real laser hair removal image problem.

The New York Times reported that both the customers and employees were not happy at Ideal Image.

In a second article in the New York Times by Mr. Segal entitled Zapped by the Hidden Costs of Laser Treatments, the author wrote that he is “certain many Ideal Image customers are being snowed”.

In a third article, Online Jeers, Strangely Giving Way to Cheers, Mr. Segal raised the question of fake reviews by Ideal Image.

On the other hand, according to an article in the Wall St. Journal from April 10, 2019, privately held Milan Laser, a hair-removal service provider in a steadily expanding industry, has retained Lazard Ltd., the world’s largest independent investment bank, to explore a sale.

Now that’s a big franchise.

Milan Laser and Ideal Image often advertise 50-70% off respectively. A disturbing number of laser places have fake “retail” prices or “list” prices at which the laser hair removal service has never been sold.

That is a psychological trick.

It is known as anchoring. Anchoring is where they make you think you’re getting a good deal. Your brain sticks onto the first piece of information you get about something.

Broken piggy bank with coinsLike an absurdly high price. In this case, it’s the fake “retail” price. Your brain sees this astronomic price, and “anchors” your expectations that this price is a legitimate one.

A good example of anchoring is seen when a department store lists the “regular” mattress at $2,427.00.00 but your special 70% off price is $1699.

Try to get a laser hair removal cost estimate or a price quote over the phone or on their web sites ahead of time.

It’s impossible.

That’s because they want to get you into the office to work you over on an expensive package price.

A major reason that laser hair removal cost is so high at these places is their enormous advertising overhead. This expensive advertising budget is another big reason why you have to pay so much more than a local physician’s office.

Do you know how much they pay for Google Ads?

A lot.

And your laser hair removal cost pays for their expensive advertising.

Their cadre of business administrators and sales people add to your cost. They have to eat too.

High end expensive decorators are hired to design their opulent, posh offices.

You pay extra for that too.

You pay for endorsements from celebrities like Danika Patrick (the female race car driver).

Fake endorsements are the broken flower pot on Mona Lisa’s head.

They employ marketing specialists. They are specialists in selling. They have one goal in mind. Their goal is to get you to sign up that day while you are excited. That contract is legal and binding. There’s no changing your mind later.

That could cost you dearly.

You just pay more and more for all of these huge operating costs.

Betting your hard-earned money on them giving you a good deal is like taking part in a back-alley dice game.

Why not just choose a reputable doctor’s office like Happel Laser with the longest experience doing laser hair removal in the city?

sign free lunch this wayDoesn’t it smell fishy that laser hair removal is always advertised for 70% off at Ideal Image?

Have you heard them advertise for $5000 off or $6000 off of laser hair removal in Pittsburgh?

Do you really plan on spending that much on hair removal?

I didn’t think so.

The Better Business Bureau cautions people about signing long-term deals or contracts with these types of businesses.

Prepayment Produces the Wrong Perception That You Are Getting a Good Deal 

When consumers prepay, the seller clearly benefits.

Our resounding advice is to never prepay for any service including laser hair removal.

Two big national laser franchises (Premiere Laser Spa and American Laser Skin Care) have already left Pittsburgh consumers in the lurch who prepaid for services that they never received. If a local branch office isn’t making their quota, the branch office may close in Pittsburgh like these laser offices did.

Their overall strategic national plan requires them to weed out unprofitable satellites. Franchises sell shares on the national stock exchanges.

They are accountable to their shareholders first and not to you.

The Hidden TruthHow Much Does Laser Hair Removal Really Cost?

ask your doctor signLaser hair removal cost is very affordable and safe in Pittsburgh if you just use the following common-sense rules to avoid the pitfalls:

  • Only choose a doctor’s office.
  • Don’t fall for huge fake discounts of 50-70% off.
  • Avoid places that advertise and employ marketers and closers.
  • Don’t buy outrageously expensive package deals.
  • Avoid med spas where the doctor isn’t around or is in name only in another state.
  • Don’t sign any contracts for future services.

Please read this important article that we wrote to find out the truth about laser hair removal. It will save you a lot of money.

Of the reasons listed, the biggest way that you can save money is not to buy expensive packages costing thousands of dollars.

We refuse to air kiss with laser hair removal package places that cost you more than you need to spend.


  • What if you don’t like it?
  • What if it doesn’t work?
  • What if they go bankrupt?
  • What if you move?
  • What if you miss payments and your credit is ruined?
  • What if you lose your job and can’t make the payments?

You’re in trouble if you signed a contract.

Your lawyer can’t help you.

It’s like signing for a car loan or a mortgage.

You’re legally obligated.

Don’t do it.

Does your nail salon or your hair stylist make you sign a contract?

contract on a hook

Contracts handcuff you from a legal standpoint if you need to cancel them for any reason.

You don’t sign contracts for treatments at your dentist or your doctor’s office either.

Be wary of a clinic that will not give you pricing per treatment on the phone and instead requires that you come in for a consultation for pricing. That is just a sales tactic to get you to sign a long-term contract.

Their hard sell tactics are as tenacious as a debt collector.

Don’t fall for the financing options either. Once you sign, the provider is paid in full for all future treatments whether you complete them or not. There’s no getting out of them either. Remember that financing always comes with a larger cost, and those costs will make a procedure even more expensive.

The number of treatments varies on the body part, your hair color, and your skin type. Results vary so don’t buy cookie cutter deals.

And above all, don’t fall for fake discounts of 70% off like you see in the windows of places that sell mattresses.

Everyone wants a deal. No matter how big or small. It’s instinctive.

Be careful. Knowing how to manipulate that drive is how marketers take advantage of the unsuspecting average person.

The key when doing laser hair removal is finding who to trust.

You’re Screwed If You Buy a Package “Deal”

Most laser centers in Pittsburgh try very hard to entice you into buying package deal because they market only packages. Why?

They make more money when you buy a package. Why? It keeps you coming back no matter what.

What if they skedaddle?

You may have to go to another city to have the rest of the 8 or 9 treatments done because you bought a package. That is the best-case scenario.

Read reviews of furious people who have hired an attorney and still haven’t seen a full refund to this day.

We believe that you save money if you only buy what you need.

We proudly publish our prices unlike the places that hope to get you into their offices to work you over with fake promotions and deals that will cost you more.

Happel Laser & Vein Laser Hair Removal Prices

  • The cost of laser hair removal in the smaller areas like the bikini area is between $225 to $250 (Brazilian).
  • The cost of treating a larger area like the full back will average between $500 and $750 per treatment.
  • Treatment of the chest will vary between $350 and $500 per session.
  • For the full legs, patients can expect to pay from $800 while half leg is $400 per session.
  • The arms, on average, will cost only $400 per session.
  • The underarms are the least expensive area to treat at $225 per session.
  • On the face and neck, laser hair removal is $175 per session and $150 per session for the lip only.

Reliable and Experienced Laser Professionals Make All the Difference

ddoctor holding medical ethics cardLet me take the opportunity to talk about integrity.

We all have a moral code. It is up to you to decide whose you will accept when seeking laser care.

As a privately owned doctor’s office, your privacy is taken very seriously and is protected by HIPAA laws.

Our medical practice is well established and reputable.

Nearby dermatologists, plastic surgeons, and family care doctors refer patients for laser hair removal regularly.

Two huge national laser chains with satellite offices in Pittsburgh recently went out of business. They had horrible reviews.

Always read the Better Business Bureau reviews first before your initial consultation.

A laser is a medical device and not a commodity that can be used by anyone.

More and more, electrologists, estheticians and non-medical personnel are seeking approval to perform laser hair removal without any type of medical supervision.

They argue that these are not “serious” procedures.

Do a search on laser hair removal burns to see the images of people who have been scarred for life by incompetent, untrained and inexperienced laser operators.

Finally, beware of the closer at the national laser franchises.

The “closer” is the salesperson that big chain laser offices use to upsell and trick you into buying a more expensive package. This high pressure sales tactic effectively changes a medical practice into a business model.

Laser hair removal requires a series of treatments.

Make sure you seek a reputable laser center that won’t turn down the settings which will require more money and more treatments than necessary.

Be careful.

Laser hair removal is totally unregulated. There is absolutely no oversight.

Don’t go on cheap dates at med spas that offer laser hair removal.

When you compare the differences, it’s high school t-ball (med spas and franchises) vs the New York Yankees (our doctor’s office).

Call us at 724-969-0600 to experience affordable laser hair removal as it should be performed in a reputable physician’s office.



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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