Choosing a Laser Professional

Are you shopping for a laser procedure and can’t decide among your vast number of choices?

Do yourself and your purse/wallet the favor by doing your homework.  Some of the laser centers out there are fly by night and close shop without a moment’s notice leaving their clients with unfulfilled treatment packages and broken promises.  Ask how long the place has been in business and how long it will take to complete your package if you are buying several treatments up front.

Also, be weary of those all-in-one laser machines that can do it all!  Some practices will buy a machine and tout that it does a variety of treatments, wherein it does one thing extremely well, and the other applications are lacking in successful outcomes.  For example, I own a laser that does hair removal great, but skin rejuvenation that is an application on the hair removal machine is better done by my other laser.  I know it’s hard to be a savvy shopper in this regard because you certainly aren’t supposed to be a laser expert; you just want the treatment to feel/look better.  A laser from a business perspective is an expensive machine.  Shops that purchase a single machine and tell you it can do everything may be just thinking about their own return on investment.

Which brings me to my next point:  Know who is treating you, and whether they are following the local and state laws for owning/operating lasers.  In Illinois, for example, you must be a doctor of medicine in order to own a laser.  Dentists, chiropractors and aestheticians are not lawfully supposed to own lasers in Illinois.  See reference below from ftp://

Who is doing that treatment on you, and are they prepared to follow up with you should you have a medical complication?  Or, will they tell you to seek medical attention elsewhere if you run into a problem post treatment?  Personally, I have seen herpetic outbreaks from laser hair removal treatments that were performed at some of the big name franchises that have no doctor on site.

Finally, a lower price paid by you today is not always cheaper in the long run if you require additional treatments because your laser professional is using the wrong or weaker device.  For example, Picosecond lasers have been shown to remove tattoos faster with fewer treatments, but Nanosecond or Q-switch technology where the cost to operate the laser is less is still being used by some facilities unable/unwilling to upgrade to the superior Pico technology.  Hence, you may pay more for a Pico treatment session, but in the long run it will require fewer treatments than the Nanosecond lasers.

Laser treatments can do amazing things for the skin.  Just be a cautious shopper and know what you are getting and who you are getting it from when you get zapped!




Section 1285.336  Use of Lasers


a)         Definitions

For the purposes of this Section, the following definitions apply.  "An ablative treatment is expected to excise, burn or vaporize the skin below the dermo-epidermal junction.  Non-ablative treatments are those that are not expected or intended to excise, burn or vaporize the epidermal surface of the skin." (The Bulletin of the American College of Surgeons, Vol. 92, No. 4, April 2007)


b)         Use of Light Emitting Devices


1)         The use of a light emitting device, including, but not limited to, Class 3b and Class 4 lasers required to be registered with the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, Division of Nuclear Safety, under 32 Ill. Adm. Code 315, intense pulsed-light, radiofrequency and medical microwave devices used for the treatment of dermatologic conditions or cosmetic procedures that disrupt the epidermal surface of the skin, whether ablative or non-ablative, is considered to be the practice of medicine, which shall only be performed by a physician licensed to practice medicine.


2)         An ablative or non-ablative procedure that can potentially disrupt the eye (cornea to retina) may only be performed by a physician licensed to practice medicine in all of its branches and may not be delegated pursuant to this Section.


3)         The physician must examine the patient and determine a course of treatment appropriate to the patient prior to any ablative or non-ablative procedure being performed.  If the established course of treatment requires multiple procedures, a subsequent examination shall not be required prior to the performance of each individual procedure.


A)        A physician licensed to practice medicine in all of its branches may delegate the performance of ablative procedures to a licensed practical nurse, a registered professional nurse or other persons, with on-site supervision by the physician.


B)        A physician licensed to practice medicine in all of its branches may delegate the performance of non-ablative procedures to a licensed practical nurse, a registered professional nurse or other persons, with on-site supervision by the physician or the physician must be available by telephone or other electronic means to respond promptly to any question or complication that may occur.


4)         A licensed practical nurse, registered professional nurse or other person delegated the authority to perform any ablative or non-ablative procedures must have received appropriate, documented training and education in the safe and effective use of each system utilized.

The Ideal Deal

Is your laser hair removal package less than an ideal deal?  Some spas advertise by making consumers think they are getting a tremendous deal by getting 50-60% off of the spa’s regular prices.  In truth, these spas raise their prices so that they can reduce them with these savings to give you the impression that you are getting a bargain.  Do your homework and comparison shop for your laser treatment.  I’ll save you the phone call to find out my prices for laser hair removal by listing them below.  And, by the way, I haven’t changed them since I started doing laser hair removal 11 years ago.

Keep in mind that Groupon looks like a good deal initially.  But will the spa continue the pricing for you after completing your Groupon deal, or does your pricing revert to the unaffordable pricing they first discounted to lure you in?  Don’t be fooled; be savvy and smart with your money; that is the true way to get your ideal deal.


Dr. O’Young’s Laser Hair Removal Prices

Underarms                               $125/tx

Lip                                              $99/tx

Chin                                           $125/tx

Lip & Chin                                 $150/tx

Legs (upper or lower)             $299/tx

Full Legs and Feet                   $499/tx

Full Back and Shoulders         $499/tx

Prices quoted are for single treatments.  You’ll need on average 6-8 consecutive treatments every 4-6 weeks to be initially treated.  Touch ups may be needed months or years later.  Packages of buy 4 get 5 are available if you pay up front at the first visit.  On the 6th treatment of that body area, that area becomes half price forever in my office.

Example:  Underarms-  Package of 5 purchased at 1st visit = $500/pkg.  On 6th underarm treatment and all later underarm treatments, price is $62.50

What Happened to the UPC Tattoo?

When I first designed my tattoo removal website, I shopped online for a photo of a tattoo for my homepage.  Some of you will remember the photo a young woman’s neck bearing a universal product code (UPC) symbol.  That photo remained on my tattoo removal website for a couple of years until I recently changed it after I discovered what the UPC meant in the realm of human trafficking.  UPC symbols are a form of branding placed on people who have been enslaved by their perpetrators in order to claim ownership.

Human trafficking is likened to be a form of modern day slavery.  Servitude is often in the form of prostitution, but can also be forced labor or even the removal of organs.

Whereas some victims are young runaways born in the U.S. who are sexually exploited by a pimp, other victims are brought from outside of the U.S. and forced into servitude to repay debts incurred by entry into the United States.  I don’t think it should matter which side you stand on with regard to deportation/immigration.  Human trafficking is inhumane.  We all need to do our part to combat this horrible crime.

And, yes, it is occurring in our own communities without our knowledge.  How can we recognize it?  Here are the indicators from the website of Homeland Security:

Human trafficking indicators include:

  • Does the victim possess identification and travel documents? If not, who has control of these documents?
  • Did the victim travel to a destination country for a specific job or purpose and is victim engaged in different employment than expected?
  • Is victim forced to perform sexual acts as part of employment?
  • Is the victim a juvenile engaged in commercial sex?
  • Does the victim owe money to an employer or does the employer hold wages?
  • Did the employer instruct the victim on what to say to law enforcement or immigration officials?
  • Can the victim freely leave employment or the situation?
  • Are there guards at work/harboring site or video cameras to monitor and ensure no one escapes?
  • Does the victim have freedom of movement? Can they freely contact family and friends? Can they socialize or attend religious services?

The number to report suspicious activity is:  1-866-DHS-2-ICE

While the photo has disappeared from my tattoo removal website, the research I did in investigating these tattoos has not disappeared from my thoughts.  I have a hard time wrapping my brain around how such heinous treatment of people can occur in our communities.  Therefore, I am going to start removing these UPC symbol tattoos free of charge in my office.  If you, or someone you know, need my laser services to help free the external manifestation of this heinous crime done against them, please call me.

Individual Pricing Versus Package Pricing: Your Cosmetic Purchase Dilemma

I am always impressed by the savvy aesthetic shopper; maybe because I consider myself a well-educated shopper who is always on the lookout for a true deal.  In that vein, don’t get me started about couponing or we will be talking all day!

Many people who come into my office for a free laser consultation, whether for tattoo removal, hair removal, skin revitalization or body sculpting, etc., have done their homework, usually research on the internet, but oftentimes they are well informed because they’ve gotten a consultation/pricing done at another shop.  As savvy consumers, they are comparison shopping to see where they can get the most bang for their buck.

Over the past 12 years doing free laser consultations, I’ve discovered from talking to patients that my office is one of the few that will allow you to do individual treatment pricing, to “pay as you go” so to speak; most other shops try to rope you into a package for a set number of treatments, otherwise they are done talking to you.  Many laser centers take on the attitude of buy now and buy big or you are wasting their time.  Admittedly, at first glance, the package pricing can save you serious cash, but only if the laser center upholds their end of the agreement and gives you the agreed upon treatments.  I will also sell packages at a discount at my office to generate goodwill for agreeing to be a loyal customer.

However, the problem I see with packages from these larger laser center franchises is that some of them have gone out of business with clients’ packages still in progress.  These spas sold laser packages to the unsuspecting consumers and then left the clients uncompensated when the spas shut their doors and declared bankruptcy.  In many cases, the clients are referred to another center, but the already purchased package is not honored at the other shop.  The result is a lot of angry laser customers.

Let’s face it, when you put your hard earned money forward to do these aesthetic procedures you want not only results, but you want the number of treatments that you purchased.  When I do my free laser consultation with you, I will generally offer you an individual treatment price, but if I know that the result you want will require more than one treatment, I will put together a package for discounted pricing.  I try to avoid you having to prepay for any more than a year’s worth of treatments at a time, not because I think that I’ll go out of business by then, but because I don’t see myself as your bank.

I had one of my patients ask to give me money each month until she had collected enough to purchase a laser package from me.  She said that she couldn’t trust herself to put aside the money and not touch it.  I politely refused her offer to be her “banker”.  My role in my office is to be the provider of your care, whether it be medical or laser.  I will not serve as your banker, and I don’t really think you should let any laser center serve that role either.

When you ask about pricing from me or any other laser center, be sure that you will get all the treatments you paid for before you swipe your credit card.  That’s just being a savvy shopper.

When You Need to get an STD Check

I wanted to clarify what tests I order if you request a Sexually Transmitted Disease screen at my office.  I typically recommend that you have a screen before you become sexually involved with a new partner, so that you will be able to have a hard copy of your results and your partner should also share their results with you before the first sexual encounter.  I also recommend that you get screened if you, or your current partner has been involved sexually with someone outside of your otherwise monogamous relationship.   Some of my patients desire testing on a regular basis, for example, at their annual exams.

Generally, my testing includes a cervical swab check for Gonorrhea and Chlamydia, a slide test for Trichomonas infection, and blood laboratory testing (done either at a hospital or Quest or LabCorp) for HIV, Syphylis, Hepatitis B and C, and Herpes.  I usually tailor these tests for your specific concerns and medical history.

Some of you may have heard that the US Preventative Task Force has recently (August 2016) announced that they recommend against testing asymptomatic patients, both pregnant and nonpregnant.  I disagree with their guideline, and will continue to offer complete testing if you request that everything we know of be tested.

How Weight Loss and Body Contouring Can Impact Your Health

I’ve been doing body contouring on patients with my new SculpSure laser for several months now, and one of the questions that always seems to come up is can this body contouring laser help a person with weight loss?

My answer to this question is both no and yes.  First, the laser is only helping you lose pockets of fat tissue, so it’s not overall contributing to weight loss, nor does it actually make you healthier.  The laser is not designed to make you lose weight, and you must actually be around a BMI of 30 or under in order for the laser to work optimally. 

Here’s the Yes part of my answer:   Most of us have a hard time staying on a diet or exercise plan, especially when we see little change from the efforts we’ve been making to exercise regularly and eat less.  If we don’t see the scale budge downward or the waist belt loosen a bit, we get frustrated and stop following the diet/exercise regimen.  This loss of motivation is where the body contouring laser can help.  Most of us like to see RESULTS and seeing them motivates us to continue. So, allowing that laser treatment to smooth that hip curve or diminish that bulge in your belly is motivating to continue the healthier lifestyle you resolved to live as part of your new year’s resolutions.  So what, if you get a little help from a laser to achieve your goals?  If laser body sculpting can get you motivated and on your way to a better you, why not do it?

Even better, the fat cells lost by the laser do not get replaced; they are permanently gone.  So, if you maintain your weight, the size of the remaining fat cells remain constant in size, leaving less fat in the area post laser.  Better yet, if you lose weight after doing the laser body sculpting, not only do you lose the fat cells from lasering but the remaining fat cells shrink from having less lipid in them because of your weight loss, thereby making you even smaller in that area.