With the proliferation of medical spas and newer, more tech-savvy beauty treatments, laser hair removal might not seem like a big deal. However, to a growing number of patients who’ve undergone complications from the procedure, laser hair removal is more of a hot button issue.
According to a recent story in the New York Times, the percentage of lawsuits over laser surgery has increased from 36% to 78% from 2008 to 2011. Laser surgery used to be the domain of dermatologists and dermatologic surgeons, but because many states (including New York) do not view laser hair removal as a medical procedure, there is no legislation to ensure that these procedures are handled by licensed and certified medical professionals.
What is laser hair removal?
Laser hair removal is a process of removing hair from the body through pulses of laser light that destroy the hair follicle, making it difficult or impossible for hair to regrow in that area. Many women use this procedure to get rid of facial hair, leg hair, and underarm hair that they don’t want. The problem is that the machines and technology used to carry out these procedures are complicated and different types of skin can react differently to treatment. For technicians that don’t have a background in dermatology or even sufficient training, this can mean serious skin damage to the patient. According to Dr. Tina Alster, the results can range from burns to skin disfigurements and severe pain. In some small cases, the results can be deadly.
For those who want to benefit from laser hair removal treatment, but in a safe environment with trained and certified professionals, ask these questions before getting started:
- – Who will be performing the treatment?
- – Are they a physician or is there a physician on-site for any emergency issues?
- – What is the procedure in the case of an emergency?
- – What kind of training and licensing certifications does the spa and technician have?
Also, have them review your medical history, as well as your skin type, complexion, and hair color to make sure that laser hair removal will be safe for you, and will provide the results that you want.