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The Facts About Phototherapy

By: Giora Fishman
Posted: September 25, 2009, from the October 2009 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
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The price of phototherapy devices varies broadly depending on applications and energy levels. For spas, low-energy devices average approximately $3,500 and for clinics, they can cost $45,000 or more. Laser devices can range from $80,000–150,000. On average, spas can charge $250 for a 75-minute microphototherapy treatment and, in a clinical setting, $400–600 is the average charge for a photofacial.

Accredited cosmetician Susan Harubin is the owner and operator of the Zen Glow Skin Care & Day Spa in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire. She recently invested in a small, multi-application phototherapy system for hair removal, pigmented and vascular lesion treatment, skin rejuvenation and wrinkle reduction. “If someone told me a year ago that I would be making a major purchase to add to my practice, I wouldn’t have believed it,” Harubin says. “ ‘Too expensive,’ I would have said. ‘I can’t afford it,’ I would argue. Well, guess what? I did, and I am thrilled to report that it was the best purchase I have ever made.”

Do your research

Harubin emphasizes the importance of doing research to find the right machine. In her case, she needed a results-oriented, easy-to-use, affordable system that would enable her to deliver photofacials and hair removal at reasonable prices. Due to the diverse ethnicity of her clientele, she also wanted a system that would safely treat a wide range of skin types and hair colors. Many machines can be used on all skin types, but light-based devices are typically ineffective in removing hair that lacks pigment, such as blond or gray.

Phototherapy treatments enable spas to upgrade and expand service menus to include a wide range of treatments. Each business and location has its own special needs and circumstances. Before investing in any system, do the research. Understand what your clients are seeking and how much they are willing to pay. Phototherapy is a wonderful tool to help maintain relevance and individuality in an already-saturated market, but is it right for your existing and potential clients? Look for a system backed by a reliable, established company that offers after-sales support covering both marketing and service.

Find the system that is right for you. Does it provide all the treatments you want in one package? Do you have to buy additional accessories for different services? What are the costs of maintenance and replacement parts? Does the price fit into your business plan? Keep in mind that today’s is a buyer’s market. Companies are eager to sell and may have more flexible financing and payment options than they did at this time last year. Market research is no guarantee, but it will help narrow down your possibilities and allow you to make the most informed decision possible.

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