Permanent hair removal pain

Untrained operators hurt more than the hip pocket

CHOICE says that lack of training and licensing requirements for permanent hair removal treatments is leading to clients being burnt and scarred.

The people’s watchdog says there is a need for national regulation to develop standards for laser and intense pulsed light (IPL) use.¹

Western Australia, Queensland and Tasmania are the only states to regulate the use of lasers for hair removal while no state or territory regulates IPL. CHOICE says this means that anyone who wants to set up a hair removal business has access to the technology.

“Laser and IPL machines used to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and were operated by doctors and dermatologists; now you can buy them for only a few thousand dollars. With treatments averaging $65 per five minutes and a series of sessions required, permanent hair removal businesses are being set up in shopping centers and beauty clinics,” says Ms Just.

The NSW Statewide Burn Injury Service recorded six patients who required treatment for serious burns in the last year, whilst the office of the Victorian Health Commissioner has received complaints about inexperienced operators.

A CHOICE shadow shop of six salons and clinics in Sydney found four had no training, while two had training from the equipment manufacturer only. None of the clinics asked our shopper about her medical history, current medication or recent tanning; information that may affect results.

“We have heard from people who have experienced severe burns, blistering and scarring after undergoing laser or IPL. Medical practitioners have told us they are seeing more patients presenting with complications caused by inexperienced laser and IPL operators,” says Ms Just.

CHOICE also says that some operators are being loose with the truth when they use the term ‘permanent hair removal’. Medical experts say that, even after treatment, some hair follicles remain, with 10-20% of hairs continuing to grow after treatment.²

CHOICE says anyone considering hair removal treatments should:

• Check the provider’s qualifications and not be afraid to ask questions.
• Avoid sales offers and pre-pay options - experienced medical professionals are more likely to give the best results.
• Insist on a full consultation where skin type and hair colour are assessed.
• Ensure a medical history check is done, including discussion of any medication that could affect the treatment or its outcome.
• Walk away before or during the treatment if they feel uncomfortable or unsafe.

Read the full CHOICE report on permanent hair removal. 

¹Lasers and intense pulsed light (IPL) devices involve the use of either a laser or a flash of light to target the melanin within the hair follicles, heating and damaging the follicles in an active growth cycle. Only hairs that have colour can be treated. White and grey hairs won’t respond.

²Dermatologist, Dr Phillip Artemi.

Media contact:
Ingrid Just, CHOICE, Head of Media and Spokesperson: 0430 172 669

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