Following yet another laser hair removal horror story from a cowboy clinic, we look at the increasing need to regulate the laser treatment industry.
I’m always saddened and frustrated when I read stories like this one that surfaced in the Mail this week. In short, a London woman with dark skin went for laser hair removal on her face at a local beauty salon and received extensive first degree burns and permanent scarring for her troubles.
We’ve written extensively on our blog about how a well trained practitioner would prepare and treat a laser hair removal patient. In fact, the most obvious mistakes made by this beautician have all featured in our consumer advice here:
- no test patch was carried out prior to the main treatment – we covered this in our article on IPL and Burns
- there’s no evidence that the power levels were reduced to take account of the darker skin tone and increased risk of burns – something we discussed in February
- the treatment continued even after the patient voiced concerns about the pain she was in – something we flagged as out of date in an article on pain-free laser treatment
As the industry currently remains unregulated, there are no protections in place to prevent anybody from buying an IPL machine or laser and offering treatments to the public. Until this changes, my advice is the same as it has always been:
- find out what training and qualifications your practitioner has before booking a treatment
- ask about the type of laser that will be used, especially if you have dark skin or fair hair (ask what skin type you have on the Fitzpatrick scale)
- demand a test patch
- ask what insurance the clinic or salon has
- avoid providers without a permanent, clinical facility – especially mobile beauticians or anyone who can’t offer appropriate aftercare
- look for genuine patient reviews to see what other people think of the provider.
I hope that the Department of Health will eventually step in and regulate this industry so that all treatment providers are obliged to have the same level of training and expertise that reputable, medically-led clinics such as ourselves already take for granted. I’m cautiously optimistic that have said they are reviewing the education and training requirements, though unless they become required by law this may not have any effect.
In the meantime, though, I can only advise you to do your homework and choose wisely – for the sake of your skin.
Clinic Manager, Good Skin Days