The clinic: Make sure that you go in for a "free" consultation to see if you are happy with the way the clinic looks and feels (clean, up-to-date and informative) and avoid being pressured by sales reps to sign up on the spot (often prevalent at chain clinics). It’s recommended to sample 3-4 places before committing. You will probably find that prices can vary as much as 100-200% (and some will have options of paying up front for a package of treatments, while others won’t). Make sure you feel that they showed more interest in how the treatment will work for you and your personal results instead of being more interested in how much you will be paying.
The laser technician: Make sure that the person treating you has extensive experience of hair removal and has knowledge of how to best kill the hair (Ask a lot of questions about this at a chain clinic as you might get a different tech every time you come for treatment. Chain clinics vary by location, so make sure you are comfortable with everyone there and they don’t have a high employee turnover if you do decide to go with it). Ask questions and make sure they answer them based on your research. If you are an informed consumer, you will be able to better judge whether what they’re saying is in your best interests or not. Keep in mind that whether a person treating you has an MD or not does not necessarily reflect their laser hair removal skills. Hair removal is not taught in medical schools, so what you should be looking for instead is specific knowledge of and experience in hair removal.
The laser: Make sure that the laser being used is best for your skin and hair type. Do not fall for “marketing hype”. Every laser can technically be used on any skin type, but you should be looking for one that will produce the most efficient results for YOU.
Alexandrite long pulse and diode lasers are very effective when the skin type is light (I-III - see question #11 to determine your skin type) and the hair is dark enough to attract the laser within the follicle. Just because it is an alexandrite, does not make it the best on the market. Precision cooling of the skin prior to laser application, exact delivery of an effective energy beam deep into the tissue, and proper training can make all the difference between maintenance or permanence. Some of the most popular alexandrite lasers include GentleLASE by Candela Corporation and Apogee by Cynosure.
Diode lasers work best on skin types I-IV. The most popular on the market is the LightSheer laser by Lumenus.
Nd:YAG long pulse lasers are best for treating darker skin types (IV-VI) or patients of color such as: Afro-American, Asian, Hispanic, Mediterranean, European and Middle Eastern.
Alexandrites and diodes are generally more effective on finer hair given higher settings than Yag lasers. So, if your skin type falls into types III-IV and the hair is finer, an alex or a diode is preferred. If your skin is darker than a type V and the hair is fine, the hair might not have enough pigment to be treated, so a test spot might be necessary before committing to a treatment.