Ideal image - lifetime membership bogus

Hi, I am a male and had some laser treatments done about 3 years ago on my upper arms, shoulders, and half back. I had 8 treatments with the Lightsheer Diode and I would have to say 100% grew back. I do or did not take any unusual medications and have no abnormal hormone problems. My skin is about a 3 on the Fitzpatrick chart, and have dark coarse hair. I have ordered my medical records and will update further on treament intervals, joules, etc. I did have periods of reduced hair, but it just wasn’t permanent. Knowing my past, I called Ideal Image and asked them about their warranty. I explained my past and told them I would like to set up a maintenace program whether permanent or not. They explained that their lifetime membership kicked in after purchasing a 9 treatment package and that after the 9th I would only be charged a $1 per pulse or 10% of the package price PER Treatment. So, if I had 25% regrowth and my area was aproximately 2000 pulses upfront I would be charged either $500 per treatment or 10% of the upfront package per treatment (not total). They said I may need less pulses, but I told them that if I need less pulses it shouldn’t cost that much in the 1st place. They also have a $40 minumum. This is not a lifetime membership, but just a marketing scheme skewed in their direction. I am also going to turn them into the FDA because their web site claims permant hair removal not permanent hair reduction. . Does anyone know of someone who offers a fair maintenance program at a fair price? I am just looking for intervals of no hair even though it won’t be permanent.

yes, please let us know what settings, how many treatments, intervals etc were used. can you expand on what kind of reduction you saw after each treatment and how you saw this hair come back. was the area ever completely hairfree? if yes, how long did it last after your last treatment? if no, then how did this progress overall?

as far as i know, there are no chains that offer any lifetime package. you can shop around your area though and negotiate one with private clinics I am sure. I wouldn’t expect any clinic you deal with to necessarily stay in business during the entire time you need it, so definitely don’t pay for anything too far ahead up front or get into any committments where treatments would only get cheaper in a long time. Make sure the clinic is reputable and will actually be in business when you need it.

btw, have you checked your insulin resistance? are you leading a healthy lifestyle or overweight? or do you think this growth is hereditary?

As far as the insulin thing, I definitely lead a healthy lifestyle and am checked up on by my primary care physician as well as a dermatologist. Since the hair on my body bothers me and I didn’t have good results, I have done further research on lasers including forums, talking to physicians, laser companies, lumenis, candela, sciton, etc., as well as talking to a person at the FDA. I had 8 treatments at a place that is very reputable in my area and am in the process of trying to get some kind of resolution from them. There is actually nothing legal to them I can do as far as the poor results unfortunately, but they asked me to send in some pictures and we will go from there. I actually saw my dermatologist again on Tuesday, and he had me take my shirt off to take a look. I also get many ingrown hairs or folliculitus when shaving or removing body hair. The laser was supposed to help this too, but it didn’t. The place I went is a well know doctor in my area that also performs lasik and has been in business for over 20 years. They also did hair removal for at least 9 or 10 years, but no longer do it. When I asked why, they said it was because of new tougher laws on requiring a doctor to always be present. This may or may not be true. There are about 5 opthamologist involved, some from Harvard, etc. that are all highly trained in lasers. Unlike other places, hair removal would be almost inconsequential to their incomes. Getting back to me, I did see intervals of hair reduction, but in the earlier stages, it didn’t last very long at all because, hair cycles, etc. I am going totally on recollection without my charts, but I would have to say I probably went about 75% clear for about 6 months after 8 treatments. Then, it all came back within several years, most of it pretty quickly. I would be happy with those kind of results if I could find an affordable maintenance plan. The problem is the dishonesty out there and people not being upfront. The guy at the FDA was very nice and told me that originally a laser had to only show a % of reduction for 30-90 days to get clearance. He now said they have to show a small % of reduction for 12 months following 6 months of treatments. So, they could in essence, take a perfect candidate, a lady treating an area known to have better results, example lip, with light skin and dark hair and laser her every week for 6 months and only have to show a percentage of reduction over the next 12 months for clearance. I talked to a laser center in my area, and the guy seemed somewhat honest compared to most. He explained that men’s backs, arms, and shoulders are very tough to treat and that he has had mixed results. They have a lightsheer, a gentlelase, and a gentleyag. What amazes me is that hair removal has been out for a long time and you can’t find any clinical long-term studies. I asked the guy at the FDA and he said they are only showing 12 month studies, because that is all they have to. Hair removal is a $4 billion a year business. If you call almost any hair removal place even the ones that have been in business several years, they will all tell you they have the best laser, the best results, etc. Yet none of them will show you any clinical data to back up their results, especially on men. I would be happy to release my information or medical charts, when I get them, if it saves someone else a headache. And from reading these forums, searching the internet, etc. there are thousands of good people who would be willing to do the same. Yet laser companies are only going to show you testimonials or the good results, not the bad ones. By the way there were thousands of posts of success stories and no side affects for phen-phen also the guy at the FDA reminded me. Phen-phen was also approved by the FDA. I am very sick of laser centers or laser specialist, telling me that I was probably treated at the wrong settings, I have had hormonal changes, insulin problems, the company used the wrong lasers, etc. I am not getting on you, because I have read some of your earlier posts and can see you spend a lot of time trying to help people. It’s just that I have seen or heard countless stories of people, from petite women to bodybuilders, Fitzpatrick type I-V, coarse dark hair, to fine hair who have had bad results or complications from lasers. These thousands of people don’t all have hirsutism, medical problems, hormonal problems, etc. Lasers have been around long enough for approval for long term “hair removal” not reduction, but they can’t get it because there is no long term evidence. By the way, my dermatologist said he goes to conferences all the time and that more doctors are getting into cosmetic treatments like laser hair removal, botox, etc. purely for the money. He is probably in his 60’s but said he didn’t get into medicine for the money. He does not do any laser hair removal because he said quite frankly he has seen many patients including myself with poor results and would not undertake something with no long-term clinical evidence even though there has been ample time for this evidence.

thanks for the detailed reply. i’m not trying to judge why you didn’t get good lasting results. i’m just trying to gather some information because as you say since there are no serious studies, it’s helpful to hear various people’s reports and experiences on these forums to try to make some kind of hypotheses.

you are right btw, men’s upper arms and backs are some of the hardest areas to treat (and unfortunately some of the most popular). also, i went into this knowing that i will need a maintenance, touch-ups 1-2 times a year or so after I’m done with my initial 6 treatments or so. I would be really amazed if nothing comes back at all after I’m done with the initial treatments. It has been also noted that there is a certain percentage, some say about 10% of people for whom laser doesn’t work at all. Of course, without medical studies, it’s hard to take that as a fact. It’s definitely something that we’ve seen on these forums. In my situation, I would be very happy to have those touch-ups though since no other hair removal methods gives me this kind of results.

By the way, through all your research, have you met anyone who was happy with their results and the results lasted? I know there are lots of negative experiences on these forums (you say that you haven’t seen a lot of them), which is expected because satisfied people don’t seek out forums for help, but not that many success stories (probably 5-7 total that I’ve read about from those who actually came and posted several years after treatments).

Also, how long do you think your clearance would last if you maintained the treatments 1-2 times a year after you were done with the initial treatments?

If you can still indicate laser used, settings, etc it would be helpful as well. I think 3 years ago technology was slightly different too, and a lot more clinics used IPLs that have seen then become obsolete.

I have seen posts of people with good results, some say they haven’t had to shave for a couple years, etc. I am not here to dispute them, but I think if the laser companies truly had great results a large percentage of the time, the studies would be published. These laser companies have billions of dollars and a lot of their money comes from avenues other than hair removal, some of the stuff not all cosmetic in nature. I talked to someone today at a local laser hair removal place and he was one of the people that actually said something that made sense. He said that hair removal, especially in young men, usually doesn’t produce good results because these men haven’t matured yet, and future hair growth is certain. By this logic if a lady has hair on her lip at age 30 she is more likely to have more hair at age 35. So if I was treated in my early 30’s when hair was just starting to bother me, I would certainly be more dense at the age of 33 or beyond. This new growth, combined with whatever wasn’t reduced with the treatments would combine to look like 95-100% regrowth. It is the lack of published results plus this regrowth that scares me. I am not sure what results I would get if I tried laser again. He told me he has had much better results in older men and women, and that he honestly warns against younger people getting treatments unless they can afford to keep getting them for a long time. I haven’t done much investigation on the affects these lasers have on your body in the future either, but this is very scary. You can pull up a huge list of FDA approved drugs and procedures that have harmed or killed people. As far as the hair, I am in the same boat as you, there are no other options. In all honesty, I should be able to accept body hair and go on with life, but I hate it. My educated guess (based on research)is that the more hair you have, the more likely you are to have regrowth. So if you take a woman who at age 33 has a few hairs on her lip treated versus a woman who has a faint mustache, the lady with the few hairs is likely to have better results, just like a lady is likely to have better results than a man. I think this is one of the things that skewes results. I haven’t decided if I will try laser hair removal again, but if I do I will set up a plan where I pay for a package and then pay a very reduced rate for retreats, maybe 20% of a single treatment. I will make sure that I get everything in writing, and somehow get somekind of guarantee in writing that if I don’t receive long enough intervals of reduction of some pre-determinded amount I could at least get some pro-rated amount back. I don’t expect people to work for free, but at some point if it isn’t working for me, it isn’t working. I know this sounds crazy, but I will also have a lawyer friend of mine look over the contract before I give any money or sign anything. I with then make sure to keep plenty of copies. It may take me awhile to find this place, but I am very persuasive. If I would have done something like this in the first place, I would have covered my butt. I, like you have realistic expectations and really don’t even care if the results are permanent. I just want long intervals of a large % of hair reduction at a fair price. Why does hair removal cost so much in the 1st place? I can go on e-bay and purchase a used gentlelase (of course with a doctor friend of mine) for under 30K. I go to the dentist and get my teeth cleaned and x-rays taken on equipment that probably costs in excess of 500k and it runs about $65-$70, for over an hour, but over an hour of hair removal runs me $300 - $500 dollars.

I go to two places in North Texas with a “warranty” policy. They differ and I have yet to complete my packages, so I cannot comment on their usefulness, etc. Both of these offers assure (as best they can) that I can extend my initial package of 5 treatments to double that (or more) for a minimal further investment. They don’t promise results, but they do offer a reduced investment if I require more treatments (and I will).

At Smooth Solutions, they offer one free additional treatment after the package of 5 (#6 is gratis). Then, they are from 25% to 33% of the full price for as long as you need them (and they are in business).

At Laser Perfect Network, they offer free treatments for one calendar year after the last paid visit.

Thanks Tex, I too live in the D/FW Metroplex and will check out those 2. There is also a place in Frisco that gives you free retreats for a lifetime but I want to look at their contract and talk to them to make sure they will stay in business, and they are qualified. I will get back to you once I have found out. I will also look at the contracts of the 2 you mentioned. Since I have already spent a lot of money I am very careful now to have a lawyer (friend of mine) look over any contract before signing anything or giving any money. If a clause is wrong or needs to be added I will try and let you know. Results can not be guaranteed, but future treatments or discounted treatments can. It is also important to have a clause if you are dissatsfied based on percentages of hair. I would also advice you to keep very accurate records, in addition to the one’s the clinic uses with pulse durations, joules, treatment dates, and lots of pictures. I am not sure if I will ever try laser hair treatment again, but if I do, I can promise you I will have lots of pictures and records. I am fortunate to have a very honest, reliable dermatologist that will also help me track my efforts. It is always helpful to have the opinion of an objective expert. I will see him after every treatment ($20 copay thankfully).