Laser Hair Removal: FSA Eligibility

Laser Hair Removal: reimbursement is not eligible with a Flexible Spending Account (FSA)
Laser hair removal reimbursement is considered a cosmetic procedure and therefore not eligible for reimbursement with a flexible spending account (FSA), health savings account (HSA), health reimbursement arrangement (HRA), limited-purpose flexible spending account (LPFSA) or a dependent care flexible spending account (DCFSA).

What is laser hair removal?

Laser hair removal is one of the most commonly done cosmetic procedures in the U.S. Due to its cosmetic nature, it is not eligible for reimbursement with any of the accounts. Laser hair removal is a procedure done to remove unwanted hair for long periods of time if you prefer not to deal with the hassle of shaving, tweezing, or waxing constantly.

A concentrated beam of laser light is beamed at your hair and travels down to the root of the hair. The light is absorbed by the pigment which damages the follicle enough to slow future growth. Laser removal can prevent hair from growing anywhere from several months to years. The results vary based on the individual (WebMD).

What should you expect during laser hair removal?

During the actual session you will be asked wear eye protection as well as protect the outer layers of your skin with a cold gel or cooling device. The technician will give a pulse of light to the treatment area and watch the area for several minutes to make sure the best settings were used and to check for bad reactions. After the procedure, you will be given Hot & Cold Packs or anti-inflammatory creams to ease any discomfort. For a day or two afterward the treated area of your skin will look and feel like it's sunburned. Cool compresses and moisturized can help to ease the sunburnt sensations.

What are the advantages?

Since the procedure prevents hair from growing for a while, you do not have to constantly shave and wax which also presents costs over time. Even with the pain factor, if the technique is performed properly, laser hair removal can still be less painful than other methods. It is also more effective for removing hair from certain large areas like the backs and legs (Self).

What are some drawbacks or factors to be wary of?

The procedure itself can be slightly painful depending on your pain tolerance. The lasers can either feel like a gentle pinch or the snap of a hot rubber band. In addition, the procedure is not permanent and is somewhat reliant on the hair's life cycles. You need to catch hair at the growth phase in order for the procedure to be effective. A post laser removal procedure breakout is also common because the treatment leaves hair follicles open for days. The procedure can also be quite costly - up to $1,000 or more per session for large areas, with three sessions needed to thoroughly zap hair (LiveAbout).

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