Laser Hair Removal

Parent Q&A

Laser hair removal Jan 8, 2020 (2 responses below)
Laser Hair Removal for teenage child Jul 5, 2018 (1 responses below)
  • Laser hair removal

    (2 replies)

    Does anyone have recommendations for facial hair removal by laser?

    Thank you in advance!

    RE: Laser hair removal ()

    I’ve had great results from the Skin Studio in Piedmont. (I have medium dark skin and dark hair)

    It’s not cheap. And I considered going to a place that has Groupon specials or something. But she’s a nurse practitioner and I’m in good hands. In two sessions I’ve had very little hair come back in the upper lip, chin, armpit and bikini areas. I have a few more sessions to go but am pleased with the results thus far. 

    RE: Laser hair removal ()

    Highly recommend Michele Menezes at Kaiser Union City. You don’t need to be a Kaiser member since it’s out of pocket.  I’ve been going for 5 years. She’s professional, kind, helpful and gentle. Plus knowledgeable about what she does. She gets rid of the hair!!!!  This is part of the Derm department. Prices also highly competitive since it’s Kaiser. 

    the only issue is she books out WAY in advance. But if you can schedule far ahead, no issues. 

  • Laser Hair Removal for teenage child

    (1 reply)

    Hello Parents,

    I have unfortunately passed down my 'hairy' genes to my child :) She has hairy arms and legs. Her hair is dark and she currently shaves her legs when she wears dresses/shorts. While she has made peace with the hair on her arms (though used to wax it earlier doesn't care about how it looks now) she is still extremely conscious of how her hairy legs look. 

    She has heard of laser hair removal and wants to look into it for herself. None of her friends have done it because they do not have the same challenge like my child so we have zero idea of what it is about. Is it safe? Does it hurt? How long does it take? I am looking for recommendations of places (Oakland, Berkeley, Pleasanton, Dublin, Walnut Creek etc...) and would also appreciate knowing if anyone knows of negative side effects of laser hair removal. 

    Much appreciation for your input/insight

    Laser hair removal does work for dark hair, Kaiser in WC had a derm center where they used to performed such procedures, open to the public as well, the fees were something like a cost for turning on the laser $100 and then $1 per hair? that could be outdated pricing--It's pricey, does the job, but is painful, I think you can use topical lidocaine before the procedure, and it is permanent for those hairs. It doesn't work on light hair or peach fuzz, so despite the issue, she's a good candidate.  Just to let you know ancient Egyptian Sugaring method is a less harsh than waxing. My skin was too sensitive for waxing, and sugaring is much gentler with the same results. 

    Good luck!

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Laser Hair Removal - East Bay

May 2011

Hello, I am looking to do laser hair removal on my legs and bikinki line. I have very dark, thick hair that grows very quickly and am so done with shaving every day. Cany anyone recommend a place in the East Bay with which she has had success? I also have no idea what it is costing these days so info on that would be great too. Thanks! Hopelessly Hairy

I did quite a bit of research and recently started going to Janet at Diablo Laser Center in Walnut Creek (925-932-6442). She has been doing laser procedures for something like 20 years, trains doctors and runs an extremely clean clinic. You have to make an appt. for a consult before you can begin is very detailed and costs $25 which is applied to your first treatment. During the consult, she will quote you her fee for each service and explains the different types of lasers. We've been in treatment for both upper lip/underarm hair ($175) and red spots on the face ($75). However,our hair is not very thick, so the price may vary. (We each have a different price range.) It can take from 5-8 visits and can be painful, but the numbing cream helps. (My daughter is much more sensitive.) I found Janet much more reasonable than the Drs in Berkeley and figured she does this all day long and probably has more experience. She has been honest about the probable results (ie: my upper lip has lighter hair and may only be reduced by 20%) mel

Laser hair removal for teen daughter's facial hair

Jan 2011

My teenage daughter is embarrassed by her facial hair (upper lip) and wants it gone. Can anyone recommend a good laser hair removal place? East bay location is best, SF is ok too. What should she expect in terms of pain, number of treatments, etc. and what should I expect to pay? Thank you so much!

My daughter and I just came home from our first laser treatment for hair removal. Last month, I had laser for removal of 'red spots' which involves a different laser. After doing a bit of research on pricing and types of laser, I chose Janet at the Diablo Regional Laser Center in Walnut Creek. #925-932-6442. You HAVE to go first for a $25 consult where she explains the lasers in great detail. The $25 is subtracted off your first bill. The office is immaculately clean, very orderly and timely. Janet has been doing this for years, I think originally for tattoo removal. The commute is a pain as there are places in Berkeley, but Janet pricing was almost half of some of the doctors around Berkeley. Feel free to contact me if you want further information! mel

Laser hair removal for bikini area

Jan 2011

I have been debating getting laser hair removal for the bikini area for a long time - tired of shaving/waxing embarrassing and uncomfortable regrowth etc. I was hoping to hear some stories about personal experiences with laser hair removal... Happy you did it? Disappointed? How much did you remove, how many sessions did it take? Also I was hoping to hear costs involved and clinic recommendations. I recently had a consult with American Laser Center in Berkeley who quotes a huge cost but then gives you a screaming deal if you sign up today, etc. They were nice, professional and not pushy, but I was put off by the amount of customer complaints on line (not about Berkeley specifically but as a corporation and other clinic sites - they have over 200 locations nation wide I think) Thanks for any advice/recommendations!

Did it 10 years ago, one of the best things I have ever done!! Works best if you have dark hair, light skin which is what I had. Did my whole legs and bikini area. Took about 5 times to get rid of 98% of my hair, now just a few left, I shave about once every 4 or 5 months and it takes just a second.

Don't worry if you can't afford all 5 sessions right now (they have to be spaced at least 6 weeks apart anyway). Even if you can do just one session this year, the second next year etc, DO IT!! Because it kills it during active growth stage and since the first time you'll have the most hair, you'll see the biggest result. So even if you can only afford to do one session this year, you'll have significantly less hair and it will be that much easier dealing with shaving etc.

I love it, I love having smooth silky legs, I NEVER thought I would have that!! No black nubs, no worry about hair for a last minute change to shorts or bathing suit. No having to shave before wearing capri length pants! Freedom!

Best money I ever spent!! I did it at Dr Berman's in Palo Alto 10 years ago. cathy

hi- i actually posted here to ask about laser hair removal and got some very helpful responses; they all basically said to go for it, so i did. at the time there was a groupon for aura skin care spa in sf- it was a hike to get there for each appt. but only 10 min walk from the montgomery bart station and well worth it. i loved the place. very clean and professional and they are very gentle yet efficient. i haven't done laser anywhere else so i can't compare it but as a business i was impressed. it was nicer than the fanciest doctors' offices i've been to. it feels like an upscale med-spa. in terms of the actual treatment, i think i got a package of 6 treatments. i would suggest getting 6-8 depending on your hair situation. i was/am thrilled with the results. i still get some hair growth but it is soft, sporadic, and totally manageable. i think if i went for another round of 3 treatments it would completely disappear but for now i am just so happy to have this not be an issue for me. anon

I've been to several places for laser hair removal over the years. Depending on your ethnicity and skin coloring, it will be laser hair reduction, not removal. I still think it's worth it. Of the 4 places I've been (one in Albany that no longer exists, one in Benicia, and one in Mill Valley), my favorite by far is Urban Allure, at 230 California St. in San Francisco. I also buy Groupons or other deals on Bloomspot when I see them, but mostly I go to Urban Allure. They are friendly, their prices are very reasonable, and they never try to sell me anything. Every other place I've been tries to sell me products constantly. Tell them I sent you; we'll both get 25% off, I think! Noel Plummer

I went to Urban Allure in San Francisco for bikini line lasering. At the time they had a 'buy one get one free' deal so I got four sessions of bikini work plus four free sessions for underarms. I LOVE the results. Four sessions isn't enough to make you completely hair-free, but it's drastically reduced the amount of shaving I do and the remaining hair is much finer and less noticeable. They probably aren't the cheapest but if you sign up for their mailing list they do have new specials each season that can save you a lot of money. They also have Saturday hours and are walking distance from BART. I found them to be very professional, and was so happy with the results that I bought my husband a package to get his back and shoulders done. Go for it! laser lover

Laser Doc in Montclair has the best prices and the most gifted estheticians. I did a lot of research Reen

I highly recommend Dr. Elizabeth Lee in Berkeley at I had both my underarms and bikini lasered in her office. Not only was she amazing, the results were incredible! I will be going back for hair removal on my legs and I have already recommended her to several of my family and friends. She is the best! Kristina

Dr. Elizabeth Lee offers laser hair removal. She's a wonderful, down to earth and talented a plastic surgeon with a full service practice including laser hair removal. Her office is super friendly, too. You'd do 5-8 treatments spread out over a year for 90% irradication (considered complete). 510-704-2170. 2999 Regent St, Ste 401, Berkeley CA 94705-2119 anon

Did laser hair removal NOT work for you?

Jan 2011

After a frustrating experience, I'm wondering if laser hair removal will ever work for me. Hoping to get advice from people with similar hair/skin type and experience.

I have very fair skin. And very dark, very THICK hair. I thought I was the 'perfect' candidate for laser hair removal. I mostly want it on my legs, but finally decided to take the initial plunge on chin/upper lip (less expensive, part of body exposed more often).

I had six sessions on my chin/upper lip with Dr. Brozowski in Berkeley. Not cheap. Big investment for me/our family. Initially I was told that this would work great on me. As time went on, I was told how chin area is toughest. After 6th session, here is where I am left.

I still get dark hairs on upper lip. Possibly as much as pre-laser (hard to tell). But I am still shaving there periodically (once/week or once/2 weeks). I was not told that upper lip should pose any problem. I still get LOTS of dark (and light) hairs on chin area. I was fine with the light hairs remaining. But I'm dismayed that I'm doing as much plucking as before (every day or two plucking LOTS of hair!). And as many as 50% of these hairs are dark. I'm really bummed at the lack of difference the sessions had. But I'm willing to give up on my chin area.

So, here are my questions. Is it possible that a couple more sessions would eliminate dark hairs on upper lip? Eight sessions seems excessive to me, but I'm curious if others with similar hair type (dark, very thick) have had to do this many and if it's finally been successful.

Also, if I ever decide to make the expensive plunge of doing my legs (I so often sadly avoid shorts, swimsuits - it's a bummer), would it be worth it? The hair on my lower legs is also very thick and dark (very fair skin). Would it also take 6-8 sessions? Yikes! If I did 6-8 sessions, would it actually make a difference. Cause again, after 6 sessions on face, I've seen little difference.

Why hasn't this worked for me? Should I give it up, continue to pluck my chin, and buy an electric razor for my legs? Bummed and Confused - and still hairy

Laser hair removal was not very successful for me on the upper lip but spectacularly successful on the legs. Not sure exactly, guess the hair on my upper lips is overall lighter and thinner. There were a couple dark ones, it helped a little but not at all the same results as my legs.

My suggestion is to ask them to do a small patch on your thigh or wherever it is particularly hairy - just 2 inches by 2 inches or so. They should be able to do that for free either next time you go in for your lip or just as a curtesy to keep a customer. Then see how it works. For my upper lip, it was very hard to tell what results I had.

But for my legs it was super clear. Your test-patch area should grow back with noticably less hair. Give it 2 chances and if you don't see a huge difference, then may it somehow isn't for you. anon

I would give it another try, but with another practitioner. Laser did work for me (about 75%), but it did take about 8 sessions. One thing you did not mention is the timing of your sessions. Hair has to be in ''growth'' phase for the laser to work, and only about 30% of the hair is in this phase at any one time. So you have to space out the appts to get maximum result. Maybe your appts were too close together? I went to Sandra (RN) at Dr. Aycock's office in Walnut Creek. Good Luck

I did laser hair removal on my legs with great success; however, it did take at least 6-8 sessions. You say ''Yikes!!'' as if that is a lot, but that's what it takes. I still get the occasional dark hair on my legs, which I just pull out.

For my chin and upper lip, which are much smaller areas than legs, I went with electrolysis. This was partly because I couldn't face the idea of shaving those areas--I'd rather have a few dark hairs there than constant stubble. Electrolysis is even slower than laser hair removal. I've probably had at least 20 (half-hour) sessions, and recognize that it will probably require life-long occasional touchups as advancing age results in new unwanted hairs on my chin. (Isn't aging great?

I highly recommend Hagar Orren (whose office is across the street from Monterey Market) for electrolysis. I also recommend using a numbing cream on your upper lip half an hour before you go in--that's a sensitive area! Fighting unwanted hair, and mostly winning

I have had the same experience - with the same doctor! A coincidence? I have 2 friends who saw someone else for their laser hair removal and who are ecstatic with the results. I gave up after 5 treatments with Dr. Brozowski because I was seeing absolutely no decrease in hair production or the thickness/coarseness of the hairs.

All that money, and I am still plucking 5 to 6 dark hairs from my chin every day (not mention all the gray ones)!! So I don't know if it's just me, or if there is another doctor who could actually help. Disappointed and Hairy

it didn't work for me either. afterwards they told me that because I have PCOS (hormonal imbalance that causes excess hair) it never would work. could have told me that before. an electrolysis practitioner told me that secondary hair (ie. not head/eyesbrows) gets worse with waxing/plucking and that electrolysis can mange but will never eliminate it. need to go to the source and manage the PCOS/hormone imbalance first. anon

Same here: I am very fair skinned with very dark hair, and laser hasn't worked for me much. Granted, hair goes through stages and the way I understand it they can be destroyed only when they are in the ''active'' growing stage. So, some of the hair you are seeing maybe those that were asleep and didn't get zapped, and are ''waking up'' now. You may need to have a few more treatments, whatever time needed apart, to see some difference.

Also, the new hair may be forming as our bodies go through hormonal changes. Even if the hair is destroyed, new may grow later.

After many treatments, my laser person told me that some people just don't respond as ''well'' as others, for no obvious reason. So, I went back to electrolysis (on my chin and lip) and that worked better. Again, as my hormones change, I may very well get new ones in those areas. For now, I am happy to be less hairy. maybe try electrolysis instead??

sorry I don't have advice on hair removal, but in the end, if it never works for you I have this advice- You should NOT be shaving your upper lip! You should buy some Sally Hansens wax (get the microwave kind) and wax your lip. It leaves your skin smooth, not stubbly like a man's. Alternatively, go to Benefit, on 4th street in Berkeley and have them do it for you. I have thick dark hair and get it done about every 4 weeks. been there.

I am in the same situation as you, and it's a constant battle, and I'm desperate for a solution! I have Norwegian skin but greek hair patterns, wiry dark unwanted hair everywhere. Waxing worked for a couple years but over time I've developed a large number of ingrown hairs which scar and sometimes turn into keloids. It's very embarrassing and hard on my self esteem. I would love to share tips and advice if you are interested, and i am looking forward to the responses that will get posted next week. I have not tried laser yet mainly because i have heard stories like yours, that it would be a waste of money for women with our experience. Christine.

A few years ago I had 5 laser hair treatments with Dr. Brozowski in the bikini area. A year after the 5 treatments, all the hair had grown back. All of it!!! I recently read some reviews on Yelp, and it was very enlightening. Maybe it's the doctor's technique or equipment that is the problem. Trying another doctor

Bummed and Confused- I am the manager at the American Laser Center in Berkeley and many times I get clients in my consultation who have been misinformed about the realistic expectations of Laser Hair Removal. Honestly, there is no real way of being able to tell a client they will only need X amount of treatments. It is very difficult, until we actually start tracking your progress, how quickly you will respond to laser. Yes, the chin area can be a difficult area to treat. The whole face can be very resistant to the laser for a few different reasons-

1. For women, hormones and hormone fluctuations are the main reason for the growth and as women, go through many fluctuations (pregnancy,menopause,medications,etc.) It is very hard to guarantee against new growth from changes we go through the course of our lives.

2. In my clinic we are cautious with your facial treatments. It's your face and the face is always exposed to the environment so we use more conservative settings on the face to make sure you are getting a safe and effective treatment.

3. In some cases, the hair is not as thick on the face as other areas of the body. It should respond more quickly but, it is hard to tell until we can start tracking your progress.

With the experience I have had with my clients (of all ages, complexions, and amount of hair) I have seen very few 85%-95% reduction in only 6 treatments on the face. The face is a process. You WILL see reduction but you may have to be patient and it may take several treatments, as well as require sparatic touch-ups throughout the course of your life since it is most commonly hormone induced.

A lot of women will start with lip and chin because they are smaller areas and want to see if the laser will work for them before moving on to other areas of the body. The face is a whole different experience than the rest of the body. Underarms, Bikini,legs,arms see much more dramatic results than the face and much faster. If you have more questions please contact me I am more than happy to answer your questions/concerns. From someone who has worked with over 1,000 clients and had a great deal of laser treatments done on myself I can tell you that YES laser will work for you we just need to customize a plan for you and once we find what works it can change your life. Posting for Emily who I highly recommend. Emily Luna, American Laser Centers, 3017 Telegraph Ave 230, Berkeley, CA 94705 Phone- (510) 225-0064 Elizabeth

Laser worked great for me, but not completely-I still need to go back at some point for a couple of ''touch-up'' sessions. This is not unexpected from my perspective in that I have/had a lot of hair. I will say, though, that if you avoid shorts b/c of leg hair, that the best $ I have ever spent was for full legs laser. I went from shaving every day, to shaving every couple of weeks, and I don't really worry about it much anymore. It's not perfect, and I still need a touch up, but I'm no longer simian in my appearance. I don't know about your specific appearance. I did use Dr Brozowski, and I while I have nothign to compare it too, I was unable to convey to her that going over one spot on my knee but ignoring the other spots was not helpful (and while the knee seems hair-free, I seem to have that one strip of hair left on the leg where I coudln't convince her she'd missed it). But having gone through years of electrolysis, laser is by far the best thing I've ever done for myself. And in the next couple of months I may do a bit of touch up. Keep in mind too, that your hormone levels also determine how much new or regrowth you go through.

2009 - 2010 Reviews

Laser hair removal for hair on chin

Nov 2010

Does anyone have any recent experience with laser hair removal? I'd like to have hair removed on my chin, as I am constantly dealing with ingrown hairs and am now having some scarring. Can someone recommend a quality place to go that is not unreasonably expensive? Preferably in the Berkeley area? Also, I am interested in finding out whether anyone has had success with only 1-2 treatments or if this will be a long term commitment? wishing to be hair-free

Aesthetic Laser, 490 Post St. #1701, SF, 415 956-0111. Inexpensive (compared with other laser places that I investigated) and they do a good job. You may want to use anesthetic cream on your chin about 45 minutes before your appointment. You can arrive early and they will give you the cream and you can apply it and sit in a private room until your appointment time. Laser hair removal works best on people with dark hair and light skin, but I believe there are now lasers that also work on people with tan skin. You can ask them about that. It takes more than 1-2 treatments to get rid of hair. You will probably need at least 4. Happy and less hairy

I used the Tria home system of laser hair removal. It worked really well and now 11 months later, completely hair free. I know what a trying problem it is and I know how grateful and absolutely pleased I am with the results. Be aware that Tria is approved for use below the nose in Europe BUT in the U.S. it is NOT approved for use anywhere on the face. So, you'll need to decide what you're comfortable with. The Tria costs around $600 and takes 5- 8 months to complete. One last thing. Because of the way heat is attracted to dark pigmant, it is only safe for light to medium skin tones. Good Luck! Robin

Bikini-area laser hair removal

Nov 2010

Hi, I have been toying with the idea of bikini-area laser hair removal for years and am on the fence for a couple of reasons. For one, the cost. Have you done it? How much was it, all said and done? Second, I am bi-racial and y hair is dark and my skin is a light-to-medium brown. Would it work on me? Or would it scar my skin? Do you know a great person to go to/consult with? Berkeley/Oakland/SF would be the best. Thanks! Anon.

Hi, in regards to your question about laser hair removal, it is GREAT! I have had my underarms and bikini done and almost never shave. Plus the skin in soft and not prickly! Actually, I liked it so much that I opened up a spa with a partner (we are both physicians) in Santa Rosa. We do laser hair removal and skin rejuvenation and the results we see are amazing. I know Santa Rosa is quite a ways to travel (a little over an hour) but if you would like to come in for a consult we'd be happy to talk to you. There is a lot of new technology these days, and we can treat darker skin. I am sure there are good places in the Berkeley area too but I don't know of any personally. There is a larger chain that I would avoid. My recommendation is to call around, see what prices are like and what services they offer. You will likely need at least 3 treatments and all hair removal is really permanent hair reduction (although we can usually reduce it to almost nothing). Good Luck! And if you want to check out our services/web page it is

Laser OR Electrolysis for teen daughter's facial hair

July 2010

My 15 year old daughter has been waxing her upper lip for about four years now. But, her hair grows very quickly, and within 10 days, she has stubble. She ends up waxing every two weeks. It is simply too expensive to keep this up forever! I am looking for a more permanent solution for her, hopefully local (El Cerrito, Albany, Berkeley). I have three questions: 1. Which is better: Laser or Electrolysis? 2. Which is less painful? 3. Can you recommend a local business that will do a teenager? Thanks! Hairy mama, too!

I shouldn't reveal my sources ( because then when I call and try to get an appt., they'll be all booked up), but I suggest you contact Janet at Diablo Regional Laser Center. She'll give you a consult for $25 applicable to your first visit. Usually red or blond hair needs electrolysis. The other colors need laser, but let her be the judge. Does it hurt? Yes. What does it feel like? It feels like someone is putting a red hot needle into your skin. I have had a lot of bikini and leg work done and this is what it feels like. Janet says other parts of the body are not as sensitive. They do give you a scrip for a compound pharmacy numbing cream that works better than anything I ever got from a derm, but there is still discomfort. The number of treatments will vary based on how hairy. Diablo Regional Laser Center 1981 North Broadway #270 Walnut Creek, CA 94596 Phone: 925-932-6442 Janet Fan

I have done laser and electrolysis and feel that laser is by far the way to go. It can be more expensive up front but less painful, more efficient and very effective. Electrolysis is hair removal one by one which I find more painful. Both can leave scars if the practitioner is not experienced. I think the lasers are even better now with darker pigmented skin than they used to be, and laser equipment is better than when it first came out. I have used Kaiser and Laser Center of Marin and both were good. Laser Center has periodic specials. Good luck.

If the hair is dark, definately go with the laser treatments. Laser will not work on blonde (or gray) hair. I have had both - electrolysis years ago, which is a slow and painful process, and laser more recently. The upper lip is very painful, but at least the laser treatment goes fast. It felt like someone snapping you with a rubberband. Ouch. But better than each individual hair being zapped by a needle. Your daughter will need 3 - 4 sessions, so look for a ''special'' at one of the laser centers. I would also suggest she uses numbing cream before the treatment. been there - done that

Is laser hair removal permanent?

March 2010

I would love to hear from people who have had laser hair removal from Laser Center of Marin. Mostly, did you find it permanent after a year or more time has gone by? What kind of laser did they use (if you know)? They seem competitive price wise, but want to make sure it is really lasting. Thanks much!

I didn't go to Marin but part of your question was if laser hair removal is permanent and I wanted tell you - yes! it is permanent! And if you have any embarassment or shame issues around your hair like I did I would encourage you to do it ASAP! I wish I had never waited!

Even if you can only afford to do one session a year (it usually takes 4-6 times to get all the hairs because it only kills the follicle during the growth stage)you will notice a big difference particularly with the first and second sessions as this is when you have the most hair - so begin now!

A big benefit with laser removal is my leg is now silky smooth - I never thought I'd have that!

Laser hair removal was a life changer for me, I used to be embarrassed about my legs and even wearing capri pants required daily shaving (with still that stubby feeling) now I shave about 1 time every 6 months to get the strays - I could just go back for that 5th session but haven't bothered. anon

MD. who does laser hair removal

Feb 2010

I am looking for names of MD's in the area who do laser hair removal who folks recommend. I know about Dr. Brozowski...anyone else? thanks.

You do not need to go to an MD to have this done. My experience is that the MD's - including the one you already know about - charge you about 40% more and don't understand pain management. Please check Diablo Regional Laser Center in Walnut Creek. Janet is the best there is in this area. She is extremely detail-oriented and very very good at what she does. For $25, you get a consultation and the fee is applied to your first visit. You get a 'scrip for special numbing creme from a compounding pharmacy in Concord -- about $50. After 10 years of serious contemplation and investigation, Janet is going to be the one to treat the Rosacea on my face. I don't trust anyone else. Good Luck

I am a plastic surgeon on Pill Hill in Oakland, and we have a full array of lasers in the office, including the GentleMax, a state-of-the art machine for laser hair reduction. One of its nicest features is that it has built-in cold spray that briefly numbs an area a few milliseconds before the laser zaps the hair. This machine can be used for all skin types, although very pale hair does not usually respond as well. Most people need 5 or 6 treatments, although each treatment can make a nice difference. While I do treat patients with this laser, Jude Rowe, RN, in our office is terrific and very gentle. Michael

We provide laser hair removal in my office. I was asked to do this by my patients who wanted access to this service, but were concerned about the safety of going to a spa to have it done. I work with a nurse, Marilyn, who has the experience of 8 years of working with various lasers. I see every patient in consultation before providing any laser treatment, Marilyn does the actual lasering. She is much more expert than I, as a plastic surgeon, would ever be as she does only this and I prefer to be operating rather than zapping. She is the only person I trust my patients to; when she is on vacation, we do not provide laser services in the office. Elizabeth

Laser hair removal East Bay - Hourly fee?

Dec 2009

I have had laser hair removal performed on my legs in a place in Santa Clara, and they charged by the limb. Now I just have some small areas here and there that need touch up, and I just want someone to treat those areas, rather than charging me for an entire 2 legs. Has anyone had a good experience with a laser hair removal place in Berkeley or East Bay that they could recommend? Do you know of any places that charge hourly fees, rather than by limb? Hairy legs

I just read in Good Housekeeping that the pad that you rub on your leg for hair removal was not that great. They gave it a thumbs down. I think they said it was spotty, and most preferred sticking to whatever removal system they already had.

You have already had the majority of your hair removal done, so what you need now are touch up treatments. In my office, we do not charge by the hour, but we do have a touch-up fee schedule where we charge a small office visit fee and then by the pulse. That way, if you need 10 hairs zapped, you pay for 10 zaps, not the whole treatment area. Elizabeth

Laser hair removal at Kaiser

Sept 2009

I received a few laser treatments with Nurse Marilyn at Kaiser in Oakland. My understanding is that Marilyn visits other salons and doctor's offices. Kaiser charges $150 for the visit and $1/zap. Does anyone else receive laser treatment with Marilyn? Can you share the cost at the other location? Thanks!

Also for laser hair removal, I am a big fan of the Laser Center of Marin. They specialize in lasers and are very competitive price-wise, especially if you compare them to kaiser which I did. Also you can get in with short notice unlike kaiser. sara

2007 - 2008 Reviews

Laser hair removal

August 2008

Does anyone know of a physician office where I can get laser hair removal and treatment of the small vessels around my nose? I have had experience with spa laser services and have not been comfortable in that environment. I also would like a place where the same person treats me each time so there is consistency. Thanks for your help in advance. Anon.

I have been pleased with Diablo Laser Center in Walnut Creek. I've had broken capillaries on my nose and chest treated with great results. The treatments are ususally adminstered by an RN, Janet, but there is an MD associated with the practice. I have not had laser hair removal there, but Janet says that is a large part of her business. Janet is no-nonsense and the environment is 100% medical office and 0% spa. The treatments are uncomfortable - this is not a photo-facial spa treatment - but they are immediately effective and lasting. I found the cost really reasonable too. Hope this helps. rb

If you prefer to do laser hair removal at home you could try Good luck! Dawn

June 2008

I'm wondering if anyone has done laser hair removal on areas other than legs? I have super hairy belly and around my nipples. End up plucking the latter which is painful and looks/feels not that great as they grow back. Is it safe? Super expensive? Fuzzy

Several years ago I had laser hair removal on my legs, armpits and bikini area. It was expensive but I'm very happy with the results. After 3 treatments, I would say that 95% of the unwanted hair in my bikini area and lower 1/2 of my calves (brown hair) was gone. It also got rid of ~50% of my armpit hair and ~50% of the hair on the upper 1/2 of my calves (which is blond). Basically the dark hair absorbs the laser energy better which kills the hair follicle. So the darker hair you have, the better.

Some people can get changes in skin pigmentation. I got this only in my bikini area. You can use bleaching creams but it didn't bother me and it's slowly faded away.

In answer to your question about laser around your nipples--you can do that and it isn't painful.

I had my laser done at Dr. Elizabeth Lee's office in Berkeley. I was happy with the results but I did feel like it was quite expensive. I would suggest calling around for prices and then having consultations a couple places. anon

I had laser hair removal on my bikini areas, it wasnt painful. however, it wasnt very effective either. I have PCOS with excess hair, after 6 sessions I was told that it wasn't going to make much more of a difference. so, before you try it, make sure you don't have PCOS anon

I have been told by doctors that really understand pain (OB/GNY, Endodontist) that I have a very high pain tolerance.

I found laser hair removal to be pretty painful even with the topical anesthetic. It felt like someone was sticking both hot and cold pins into my leg. But, the good news is that there is no lingering pain. Once the laser moves off the area, the pain is immediately gone. I also had no sensitive areas after the treatment was over. But there was the scent of burnt hair and I looked like I had just gotten waxed....reddened hair follicles.

No matter where you go, I encourage you to find out what type of laser they will use. IPL is NOT good. Also, find out exactly how big the treatment area is going to be. Really, what is the bikini area? Ask. Make sure they are specific in the answer.

As an aside, I was very pleased with the result. Zapped That.

May 2008

I would love to get updated recommendations for somewhere to get laser hair removal on my chin. I'm a fair-olive complexion with v dark hair. The most recent posting here is two years old... I am in SF but am also open to Berkeley/Oakland/Emeryville clinics that stay open off-hours (weeknight or weekend). I have heard Kathleen Welsh in SF is good but that they always run very, very late with appointments and try to upsell stuff. Anyone familiar with this place? Does this sound fair?

I am seeing some places in SF that advertise really cheap services, like, $60 per session for chin. Is that too good to be true? Maybe not real laser?

Also, I am totally befuddled by some clinics that say, it seems, that you have to let hair grow out WEEKS before your first appointment. I don't think I could go even one week without plucking without looking like a gorilla. Anyone have any insight into this waiting time?

Thanks! Hair Despair

Aesthetic Laser, 490 Post St. #1701, 415 956-0111. Inexpensive (compared with other laser places that I investigated) and good. It won't work well if the hair is plucked because the laser works by heating up the root. However, you can shave the area (in fact, you're supposed to shave before the laser treatment). You may want to use anesthetic cream on your chin about 45 minutes before your appointment. You can arrive early and they will give you the cream and you can apply it and sit in a private room until your appointment time. Less hairy than before

Dr. Elizabeth Lee's office is the best in the east bay for this. The service is top notch and you need to be careful when you have olive skin (I believe it can cause some temporary but not so beautiful pigmentation if not done right). I'm not sure about those $60 treatments in SF. That sounds sketchy. Call her office and ask about it-- they are super friendly so I'm sure they can explain the difference. The office number is 704-2170. maureen r.

April 2008

Does anyone know of a good Lazer Hair removal practice. I have used one office and the lazer was not strong and it did not improve my problem. Berkeley, Albany, El Cerrito area. Judy

Check out the Laser Center of marin ( They have been around a long time, have a nice clean facility and have good prices. They also have a bunch of different lasers for different skin types. Taylor

March 2008

Has anyone had any experience with permanent hair removal? I have very thick hair on my legs and an wondering: a)would it work on thick hair, b)will it last, and for how long? c)Does it hurt, and d), does anyone have any places to recommend it be done? Oh, and is it very expensive? Thanks anon

Laser hair removal works on dark hair on lighter skin. The laser has to ''recognize'' the hair. I've had facial hair removal done and it's been FABULOUS. I wish I'd been able to do it when I was a teen... It covers a lot more ground than electrolysis. YES IT HURTS!!! It feels like a rubberband being snapped on your skin...but it's quick and if the practitioner puts ice on it right away it eases the pain. There is a new machine that doesn't hurt. Dr. Kawai used it in her Albany practice(she was murdered last year) but I don't know who bought her equipment. The zapped hairs/roots do not grow back, but if there is lighter hair around it, those hairs will grow back (you have to shave before or else the heat burns the hair and it smells like burnt hair)...You have to go a bunch of times for touch ups till it's all done. I highly recommend it. I now go to the Skin Care Center on Apian Way at Terra Hills Rd. It's not cheap....Typically $150.00 for 15-30 minutes, depending on the place. I found the Skin Care Center to be pretty reasonable (it's been a while since i''ve been there so I don't remember how much I paid). Good luck. hairy no more

I did laser hair removal in 2003-2004 and was really pleased with the results. I did it on my legs and bikini line. I had done electrolysis before that, but found it extremely painful and extremely slow-going.

My understanding is that your success rate with laser hair removal is determined more by the contrast between your skin and hair color than by the thickness of the hair. I'm pale and my hair is relatively dark, so I was an ideal candidate for it.

For some reason the effects have lasted a lot longer on my legs than on my bikini line. In fact, I was noticing the other day that I really only have a few hairs left on my legs and went from having to shave every other day to once a week, maybe. I could really go weeks without shaving, but those individual hairs get long after a while.

The laser doesn't feel great, but that all depends on your tolerance for pain. For especially sensitive areas I used LMX lidocaine cream (bought it at Costco, through the pharmacy, but doesn't require a prescription). To get the cream to work properly you have to occlude it, which basically involves putting it on an hour before the laser session and then wrapping it with plastic wrap to get it to soak into the skin. That part's a total pain and can be very messy, but for wimps like me it was the best solution. The LMX cream is also pretty pricey.

The laser itself was expensive, but so, so worth it in the long run. I do think it's getting cheaper and plan to get more of my body done when I'm not pregnant as I am now. I did it at Kaiser in Walnut Creek. The nurse who did it said you didn't have to be a Kaiser patient to get the service done there but I've read that Kaiser has since dropped laser procedures altogether. I have no idea how accurate that info is. Good luck! Anon

I have gone through quite a bit of permanent laser hair removal with the company Hair Today Gone Tomorrow (unfortunately, they're only located in the Midwest) on different parts of my body.

What color is the hair on your legs and what color is your skin? Generally, the thicker and darker the hair is, and the lighter your skin is, the better the treatments work. Permanent hair removal isn't completely permanent. Even after you complete your treatments, they usually recommend that you do a touch up treatment once every year/ half a year. However, I finished my treatment on my legs over a year and a half ago and I still haven't had to do a touch up.

Your leg hair grows in approx. 7 cycles (each one takes 1-3 months to grow depending on the person). This means that you need about 7 treatments (spaced out) to see a significant difference. So, it does take time. But you DO see a great difference. I considered myself pretty hairy before and now I have very ''normal'' looking arms, and legs that need shaving only now and again. If I don't shave, you can really only see the remaining fine hairs if you take a good look. (The hairs that remain after laser hair removal are only the most light/most fine hairs).

If hair has been a constant source of annoyance/agony/etc. for you, I say do it. Even though it was expensive, I am so very glad that I did it. In the long run it will save you a lot of time and can actually save you money. If you wax, for example, the cost for full legs would be $60-$100. And then, depending on how fast your hair grows you have to continue to go back again and again for your whole life. You can get the full set of laser treatments on your legs and see a huge (practically) permanent difference for around $1000 (maybe more, maybe less) so in the end it can cost much less than waxing. I'm not sure about the exact price because I purchased my package around 4 years ago (I think prices have gone down since then) and I had multiple areas done, all included for around $5000: full legs (including feet), full arms (including hands), and extended bikini.

It does hurt, but not any more than waxing. It feels like someone snapping you with a rubber band, lighter or harder, depending on how sensitive the area is. For me, it barely hurt on my legs, the only part that was sensitive were my ankles.

I hope this information is helpful! anon

a)would it work on thick hair: Yes, especially if you have dark hair and light skin (the contrast helps the laser target the hair more effectively. b)will it last, and for how long?: It's permanent, but you have to get it done a bunch of times (at least 5). After each time, you will have less hair; some people do it a few times and the reduction in hair is good enough and they stop. c)Does it hurt: Yes, but less than labor. :-) I go early and put anesthetic cream (which they sell) on the areas to be treated, which helps. It hurts less than waxing. d), does anyone have any places to recommend it be done?: Aesthetic Laser (in SF, a few blocks from Powell St. BART): 415 956-0111. Tell them the formerly hairy mother of two from BPN referred you.

Do the laser hair removal--you won't regret it. I just wish it had been available when I was younger. It would have saved me a lot of angst about my hairy legs. No longer hairy

Jan 2008

Can anyone recommend a good laser hair removal place (preferably in the East Bay that doesn't cost an arm and leg)? I am currently going to a dermatologist in Walnut Creek and she is charging $350 per appt. which is too expensive. thanks

I am having great -- and very affordable -- results at a place in SF called Neoskin, which is just outside the Montgomery BART station. I take the BART there every 6 weeks or so for a treatment and I am quite happy. I'd gotten an estimate at a clinic in Berkeley and was quoted $2,300. Neoskin is doing the exact same job for $675, which covers 12 treatments with no expiration date. I'm durrently on my 6th or 7th treatment with them and have seen dramatic reduction. Check the alt-weeklies for ads from Neoskin. They are having a price special right now. You can email me offlist if you have any questions. Lisa

Sept 2007

Has anyone used one of these ''inexpensive'' laser hair removal clinics like, for example, Neoskin, for the bikini and/or legs? They offer packaged deals at a single price for up to 12 treatments. Most of the recommendations on BPN are at doctors offices which are substantially more expensive. If anyone has used an inexpensive alternative, I'd love to hear about it. Also, does anyone know if the techniques/machines used the same? End of Summer Thoughts

I am in the middle of a 12-session treatment at Neoskin and I am very very happy. I am paying a flat rate of 75 for what a clinic in Berkeley wanted to charge me ,300 for. Yes you read that right. - dariwali

March 2007

I would like to have the fine hairs on my upper lip removed, but am not sure the best way to have it done. I don't want to do wax or bleach. Can anyone recommend someone for laser hair removal for this type of procedure? anonymous

I've been going to Aura Skin Care on San Pablo ave in Albany in teh Alta Bates medical building. The treatements have been SO effective for me. It works best on dark coarse hair medium to light complexion. The finer hairs take a little longer. At Aura they now have a new and better laser machine that doesn't hurt. WHat a difference. The number there is 527-3739 Good luck no more moustache

I saw Dr. Laurie Schweitzer in Berkeley her office is just behind Alta Bates for laser hair removal. Her office number is 510-548-1717 Aniesha

Epi Center at 450 Sutter St. in San Francisco is very reasonable and professional. $99 for lip & chin hair removal. Go in 1/2 hour early to put on free numbing gel and you'll only feel a hot zap for a few seconds and VOILA! You'll have to go back a few times, but it's so worth it! I can't believe folks still suffer thru electrolysis and waxing when this is so much easier and cost-efficient. 415-362-4754. Hair-free & Happy

2005 - 2006 Reviews

March 2006

Hi- I am a woman in my mid-30s and would like to get the facial hair above my lip removed permanently and wondered if anyone can provide me with good recommendations for this- probably a laser hair removal place?. Cost is an issue for me as well and I'd love to hear about your experience with the person you send me info. about. Also I have a patch of little mole-like tissue which looks to most people like acne but is not- I have had it since I was a child and would finally like to get it removed. Is this what laser resurfacing is for? What exactly IS laser resurfacing and is it painful? I'd love recommendations on this as well! Thank you so much BPN friends. Kathryn

Try contacting Myrna Taiariol, at Tribez Salon. She's been doing skin care for years and is deeply knowledgable about all matters dealing with skin. Her number in Danville is (925)212- 3150. Please don't be put off by the distance. She's worth every minute of your trip! Julie

I've been getting laser hair removal on my face at Aura Skin Care (they're in the phone book). They are on San Pablo avenue in Albany in that big medical building before the plaza(west side of street). The woman I see is Deirdre but there are others who do it too. I've been extremeley satisfied. I have an olive complexion with dark hair. My upperlip and chin hair have plagued me most of my adult life. I've done electrolysis (too painful and time consuiming) and bleaching over the years. I''ve had 4 sessions so far. I paid for 6 in advance to get a discount. It takes 4-6 sessions to do a complete job. It's not cheap, but cheaper than it used to be. It's $150.00 per session at Aura. It was worth it to me to get this taken care of. I LOVE not seeing dark hair on my uper lip and chin (and cheeks). Go for it!! happy to have hairless face

For laser hair removal, I recommend The Laser Center of Marin in Corte Madera. I have done my face, legs and bikini and have had great results. The prices are competitive, the staff is great and the facility is very clean (pet peeve). Check out their website at They also do a lot of other services including Restylane, skin tightening and chemical peels. I have had treatments at another facility before and had a bad experience. I suggest you visit the clinic and make sure you are comfortable before committing to a treatment package. Also, stay away from the chain clinics like Sona. I had a friend that got screwed when the clinic she was going to (Sona in SF) went out of business without warning. Taylor

April 2006

Has any one tried Laser hair removal or any other cosmetic services at Kaiser San Francisco? Let me know how your experience was . Thanks Tia

I've been to a few laser centers and Kaiser was my first. They charge by the pulse which sounded good, but it turned out to much more expensive than going to one of the laser centers. Also, the doctor that did the procedure did not seem real comfortable with the laser and, after talking to him, realized doesn't do that many procedures. The treatment ended up not being that effective. Now after having treatments with an RN, I would choose an experienced RN over a non-experienced physician in a heartbeat. Taylor

Kaiser has a very good center for these treatments. Good prep and education. Good staff. The laser hair removal process has improved over the last three years, but keep in mind several facts. Several treatments will be necessary, and the elective min. charge is quite high ($500.) for even a small area. They may allow you to combine several areas to meet the minimum. In addition, light hair will not be affected! If you have a combination hair color, light and dark hairs, for removal, current lasers will only affect dark/darker color, leaving the light hairs intact. It takes six weeks between treatments, and you have to be treated with the hair to be removed at 1/4 '' length. For dark haired men or women, this is quite effective. For fair haired individuals, not as effective and more expensive, due to even more multiple treatments. Plan to go when you don't have to socialize prior to treatment for a week, as you have to let hair grow out. Fair haired

July 2005

I'm very interested in getting my facial hair treated with laser. I have semi-dark skin, and I have hair practically all over my face. Does anyone know if all the facial areas can be treated with laser? Any recommendations for a good place? Has anyone tried Aura Skin on San Pablo for hair removal? Any ideas what it might cost me? Thanks a lot. Toni

I highly recommend Advance Laser Clinics on 2397 Shattuck Ave. 486-1460. My husband is having his back done, 2 sections so far they recommended 6 for him. It is looking great, he gets red for maybe 24h. After that you can't tell it was done except for less hair. Hairless husband

May 2005

I am interested in having my bikini line hair permanently removed using laser treatments. The last recommendation I found on this subject was more than a year ago. I live in Oakland and would be willing to go to Berkeley for the service. Anyone have a good recommendation?
hoping to be hairless down there

I know you said you were looking for somewhere in Oakland or Berkeley, but I found a place in SF that is way cheaper than any of the places I called in the East Bay. Aesthetic Laser Concepts, 450 Sutter (Suite 2433) @ Powell, 415 956-0111. You can pay extra to get anesthetic cream that you apply about an hour before the lasering; I definitely recommend doing that unless you have high pain tolerance. Hair today, gone tomorrow

Hi! I've been going to The Laser Center of Marin - Their prices are very reasonable, the procedure is done by an RN, the office is quiet and clean. If you have any questions about the procedure feel free to contact me. Hairless and loving it! ritter

I have been going to Advanced Laser Clinics. They are a franchise opperation and their prices are resonable and they use the newest laser technology. THey just opened an office in Berkeley, but I've been going to Sausalito (which I'd recommend just because the atmosphere there is like a spa!). Go to the website and then click locations and search for Berkeley. Beware: It HURTS! Get some numbing cream and take a vicodin before you go. Rebecca

The office of Elizabeth Lee, MD, is the best place you can go in the East Bay for laser hair removal. Her office number is 704-2170. Everyone I know who has gone to her has had a very positive experience. Maureen

I recently went to a new laser hair removal salon in SF, called Sona MedSpa. I did the first treatment (in what will probably be 5-6 treatments) for bikini and underarm. Thought it's too early to tell you the final results, I was very happy with this initial visit. They are extremely professional, informative and pleasant. I was a little nervous because of previous pain-managment issues with electrolysis. This was MUCH better and will ultimately happen much more quickly. Already, one treatment has made a difference. SonaMedSpa is at 415-986-9100 and you can check them out on the Web at Hirsute No More

Earlier reviews

Feb 2004

I am interested in having my bikini line hair permanently removed preferrably through laser hair removal rather than electrolysis. Right now I have to have it waxed often, leaving me with ingrown hairs, not to mention the pain of the waxing itself. I'm wondering if anyone out there has had this done (I'd like to hear about results), and if anyone can recommend a good place to have it done. Any information would be very helpful... thanks

FYI, it may take more than one session. but after that, it is permanent. i do not have a recommendation about where to go however. anon

I had laser hair removal done a year ago, and would do it again in a minute! The results are amazing: my skin in smooth and hair free, and I've had no regrowth. Now I go swimming or on vacation and don't even think about it. I'm so glad the hassle of waxing, ingrown hairs and regrowth are over. I honestly wish I had done it years ago, but the technology was not very good until recently. For me, it took five treatments to get get all the hair, which, while not cheap, was certainly less expensive than a lifetime of waxing or shaving. It's also a LOT cheaper than electrolysis, which takes forever and is painful. The laser can be uncomfortable, but hurts less than waxing, and you have the option to use a numbing cream if you want.

Kathryn Carron at Avenue Electrolysis ~ is highly recommended 4331 Piedmont avenue 94611 510.658.1010 Blossom

Laser hair removal on dark skin?

Oct 2004

I am a light-skinned African-American person who is considering laser hair removal. Years ago, I read that dark-skinned people were bad candidates for laser hair removal because of the increased risk of scarring. Are there any darker skinned people who've had laser hair removal that can tell me if it did or didn't work for them? Where did you go? Tired of the hair war

Hi, I don't have dark skin but have had extensive laser hair treatment on my bikini line and underarms. I had this done at the doctor's office. Just wanted to let you know that it is quite painful (like a rubber band snapping on your skin) and requires 3-6 sessions to be effective. The doctor warned me that since I tan pretty easily, it is possible to get some dark pigmentation/scarring. I got a few marks that were darkish but have faded away with bleaching cream and time over the past few years. I now am not hairless in these areas but do have very thin, sparse hair that is really easy to shave and/or wax. I probably need a couple more sessions but it is costly and I'm pretty satisfied with what I have for now. Also, I don't want to deal w/ any more discoloration.

So, after babbling on, my recommendation would be to see a really good dermatologist and discuss it with them. Maybe do a test patch in a discrete area. I now go to Dr. Katie Rodan in Oakland. She is the co-creator of Proactiv Solution and is an EXCELLENT doctor. I highly recommend that you go to a doctor w/ a good reputation. Hope this helps. Feel free to email me with any questions. jackiez

I am a carmel complexed african american & I have had laser removal on my bikini area. I had a great response to the laser. It worked well & now my bikini area is as soft as a baby's bottom. I went to Dr June Engle. Her number is 925-284-3764. She just moved so I don't know if that number is the same, but her new address is 3799 Mount Diablo Blvd, in Lafayette. She uses a new laser machine that I have yet to experience, but I know for a fact that the old one worked, so I'm sure the newer does & improved. The process was a year, I went once a month, it cost about $500 each time, but it was truly worth it because I was real hairy. There is some scaring after the procedure for a few days, but it does fade away. If you have any more questions feel free to email me. Shelly

Laser hair removal can cause hyperpigmentation or darkening of the skin in treated areas, particularly in darker skinned people. A new laser called the Gentle YAG has been developed just for this problem. This laser is much kinder to dark skin than the Alexandrite laser, and pigmentation problems after treatment are much less common. In my practice, I also pretreat patients who are darker skinned with Hydroquinone which helps prevent hyperpigmentation caused by the irritation of the laser.

It is important to know that different types of skin problems are handled best by specific types of lasers. However, lasers are expensive and many offices and spas try to purchase a laser that is versatile and can treat many conditions. These lasers often treat none of these conditions well. It is therefore important to make sure that you are getting treatment where the Gentle-YAG is available to minimize your risk of hyperpigmentation.

We are providing hair removal services in my office, and bring in the specific laser required to treat a specific condition. We work with the Gentle YAG. Please feel free to call the office for more information.

510 704-2170 Elizabeth Lee, M.D.

I also have dark skin so when I went of a few clinics in San Francisco they told me laser hair removal would not be very effective. Then I went to Dr. Usha Rajagopal at 490 Post St. (suite 430) in San Francisco.

The doctor is east-indian herself, so she specializes in hair removal for dark skin types. I found out that there is a special type of laser called a Lyra laser that works on dark skin types - and that only a few doctors in the area have that type of laser.

My experience was great - her staff were all very caring and knowledgable, and they were open evenings and weekends. I ended up having laser hair removal on my chin, lip and underarms and it only took me 8 treatments. I've had a little bit of growth on my upper lip - but I just go back once every 3 or 4 months and get it zapped again. It's been 3 years and I am so satisfied.

Anyways, you should check out Dr. Rajagopal's website - it explains the laser proccess better than I can. Its

Also, they're phone number is (415) 392-3333. They are right by union square so it's very easy to get to - you can take the Muni to Powell St. Station and just walk up Powell to post. Good luck! Kristiane

Sept 2004

Does anybody have a recommendation for laser hair removal in Berkely/ North Berkeley area. I used to go over to the city, but don't have the time anymore. Thanks

We will be providing laser hair removal services in my office in Berkeley starting next month. Please feel free to call for more information. 510 704-2170. Thank you for your interest Elizabeth Lee, M.D.

April 2004

I'm in my second year of electrolysis for hair removal on my chin. I have some hairs on my upper lip area but understand that electrolysis in that area is extremely painful. I wondered if anyone has had a good experience with laser hair removal on the face. Is it painful? I'm concerned about scarring as well. Please let me know if you have someone to refer me to. thanks Lauren

I've had electrolysis on my upper lip and laser hair removal on my legs. I think they are about equally painful. Both are bearable if you use anesthetic cream (e.g. Emla) first. Apply to upper lip about 20 min before treatment; to legs about an hour before. Electrolysis is a better choice if you have scattered dark hairs. Laser hair removal is appropriate if you want an area completely bald. You have to shave the area before laser treatment--I wouldn't want to shave my upper lip; I just want to get rid of the scattered dark hairs. Also, laser hair removal is more expensive--about $200-$250/hr vs. ~$60/hr for electrolysis. If you are interested in laser hair removal, I've used the place in SF at 450 Sutter (Suite 2433) @ Powell, 888 846-5273. Getting less hairy

February 2003

I am chagrined to say, that I am growing dark hair on the fair skin of my chin and neck (ICK!) I understand that I am a good candidate for laser hair removal. I would love recommendations for good, reputable practitioners (doctors okay, too). I figure that the high up- front cost of this will more than make up for the mental anguish and expense of the other chronic, long-term solutions. (I am an experienced patron of waxing and other services, so no need to provide insight there). Thanks.
hairy and hating it

I went to the office of Dr. Rajagopal in San Francisco (415 392-3333), with reasonably good results. I now have just peach fuzz on my upper lip, though I also developed some slightly increased pigmentation with resulting darkened patches in the treatment area. I am olive-skinned to begin with, which I think may have made me more susceptible to that: if you are fair-skinned, it may not be such a risk for you, but it's a good idea to ask about it.

Dr. R is a plastic surgeon and she met me for the initial consult, but the treatments were performed by staff technicians, who are aestheticians of varying skill and experience. I was happiest with Eunice, who was very gentle and knowledgeable. One of the techs was rather trigger-happy - apparently she ''zapped'' herself with the thing whenever she saw the slightest shadow of unwanted hair - and urged me to use higher potency levels to get the quickest results. I was eager to rid myself of the upper lip hair, but reluctant to go too fast, so I did not take her advice. That may be why I ended up taking twice as many sessions as I was initially told I'd need, but then the doctor did not tell me there was flexibility around how strong the treatments would be. I'd ask about that as well: who decides on the potency-setting of the laser? I think the MD shoul be involved.

I know of another SF MD named Kulyk, who performs the laser removal himself. A friend of mine with an especially stubborn problem went to him, and was impressed at first with the methodical approach, before and after pictures, and the fact that he does not delegate to techs, but when he insensitively joked to her that she was a ''hairy beast,'' she'd had enough!

I wish I could rave about someone but all I have to offer is my experience with these two. Since I never had the patience or pain-threshhold for electrolysis, I was really glad when this technology came along. It's not perfect, but for me it was really worth it and I'm happy I did it. If I need more I'll go back to Eunice at Dr. R's office. I hope this is helpful. Good luck. anon

I tried laser hair removal to remove the hair on the nape of my neck. Two very expensive treatments (one followed up by the recommended waxing which was said to guarantee success)resulted in no long term improvement. This may just be a tough area to treat. However, when I'm ready to address this again, I'll be using the much more time consuming but predictable method of electrolysis. (At the prices I paid, I'm betting the two treatments will be of an equivalent cost in the end.) Good luck. Anon

Jan. 2002

Can anyone give me feedback on laser hair removal? I'm considering this procedure, but don't know where to start. How effective is it? How long does it typically last, and are there any specific doctors you would or would not recommend? Thanks

I recently had my bikini line and underarms done. It does hurt a bit but it is tolerable. It feels like a rubber band snapping on your skin but you can ease the pain by icing the area before its done(cold coke cans applied to the area!!). From what I understand you need to have it done 2-3 times before never shaving again. I was told that hair grows in stages so one time won't work. I have some hair growing back (since I have only had one appt) but it is definitely less. I think it's not cheap ( a few hundred dollars each time) but probably not horrible if you add up the waxing prices over the rest of your life!!! My father-in -law is a Dr. out of state and did it for me -so sorry I can't recommend anyone. anon.

I had my bikini line done at UCSF Laser Center, (415)353-7878, and highly recommend them. To ease the pain they recommend to apply topical cream ELA-MAX with lidocaine 1 to 2 hours before the procedure and it does not hurt. One time I was not careful in applying the cream and the difference was enormous. I got this recommendation from my dermatologist, who told me that they have top quality equipment. Personaly, I cannot compare them with other centers since they are the first and last for me so far, but the nurses and doctors I met were all very nice and professional.

[Editor Note Feb 2010] Some reviews on this page were removed per this policy: