- Doctors and other practitioners are salespeople, too. Many of them want to recoupi an investment in equipment that cost a lot.
- Anyone can be fooled: Practitioners can fall for marketing hype or can be too busy or lazy to read clinical studies before buying a device.
- What if it doesn’t work? No “permanent” method works for every consumer. Can you financially afford to take that risk?
- Read published clinical data.
- Talk to your doctor, but remember that not all doctors are familiar with hair-removal issues.
- Talk to clients: Ask relatives and friends, keeping in mind it’s hard for someone to judge long-term results. Preferably, talk with someone in person who’s been done 12 months and is happy. Remember, this is no guarantee of your own results.
- Keep records: Note the date and where it appeared for both print and broadcast. promotions. If you seek a refund later, you may need this information.
- Get some information over the phone
- Make sure the pracitioner is licensed in your state (if applicable)
- Brand and model of method used and how long they’ve used it.
- Make sure they’re not selling a doubtful method like electric tweezers.
- Name and credentials of person performing treatment.
- Number of clients treated
- Set up a consultation and test patch with the practitioner. Ask if both are free.
During the Consultation
- Check out the office appearance. Are office and practitioners clean and professional?
- Get a test patch done
- Be sure that their claims are supported by published clinical data.
- Check on pain-relief options
- Discuss costs. Fees for waxing and laser usually vary with body area. Electrolysis is usually based on time.
- Discuss treatment schedule and office policies
- How often you’ll need to come in
- How long each treatment will take (subsequent treatments may require less time)
- How many treatments you will need
- Office days and hours
- Policy for missed appointments
- Find out what to expect after treatment:
- How long until hairs fall out after laser (it often takes a few days).
- Ask about their recommended post-treatment care.
- Possible side effects, and their assessment of your skin type.
- Estimated time between treatments.
- Get everything in writing
- Any results they claim
- Their policy if your hair comes back
- Get every question answered. Anyone who avoids answering does not deserve your trust or your money.
- Get more than one consultation if possible.
- Do not sign up for treatment at the consultation! First see how your skin responds to the test patch, and take home the info you get to do more research.
- Read and understand anything you sign, and keep a copy
- Waivers and “informed consent” forms
- Agreement if you’re paying in advance for multiple treatments
- If possible, pay with check or credit card.
- If not, get signed and dated receipts for cash payments
- Make sure your records of time or sessions remaining match the pracitioner’s records after each treatment.
Ms. James is a Chicago-based writer and consumer activist who owns hairfacts.com.
This article was posted on May 13, 2001.