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The Expert's Guide to Buying Laser Equipment

More mature clients may prefer fractional laser wrinkle reduction.

By: Louis Silberman
Posted: December 31, 2009, from the January 2010 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

Vanity and the pursuit of looking younger are ever-present elements in many people’s lives. The practice of esthetics has been present for centuries and can be traced as far back as the days of the pharaohs in ancient Egypt. Just as a painter creating a portrait, a composer drafting a sonata or a dancer performing fluid movement with the body, the work of an esthetician is an art in its own right. Instead of oil paint and canvas, esthetic professionals let their creativity shine through by providing relaxing and restorative treatments that improve the confidence and self-image of their clients.

Early esthetic professionals only had the limited resources around them with which to work. Today, modern estheticians are able to choose from an overwhelming number of treatment options. New scientific discoveries and advancements in technology are common, with the largest leaps made in the field of medical aesthetics and cosmetic lasers. Although treatments such as laser hair removal and photofacial skin rejuvenation are some of the most popular available, shopping for the equipment necessary to offer these services can be tricky. For the professionals who are in the market to purchase cosmetic laser equipment, this article will help remove the guesswork by answering important questions and providing inside details about the shopping process.

Find a focus

The first step in the shopping process is to look at your specific client demographic to see what types of treatments would be most appealing to it. Younger clients are typically drawn to laser hair removal, and more mature clients may lean toward photofacial skin rejuvenation and fractional laser wrinkle reduction. Client skin type is also important to consider. If the majority of your clients are of darker skin types—Fitzpatrick Skin Type Classification 4, 5 or 6—they might be unable to receive certain types of laser treatments successfully. After categorizing your clientele, it is time to select the treatment modality best suited for its needs. See Top Laser Treatment Modalities for a list of today’s most popular laser-based procedures. Once you have made this important decision, it is crucial to take many details into consideration when making this purchase.

Budget. Shopping for a laser can be fun and exciting, but remember not to let the thrill of the moment get in the way of common sense. Determining your budget is critical and should be done immediately. This will help narrow the search and prevent you from wasting effort researching equipment that is too expensive.

New or used. There are pros and cons to both options. Similar to new cars, cosmetic lasers are depreciable assets and begin losing value as soon as they are out of the box. Buying new equipment costs more, but allows for the ability to offer the most effective treatments. It also provides the opportunity to market the latest and greatest services to clients. Used equipment may be more affordable, but will employ older technology, and will have experienced the wear and tear of previous use.