Lack of training and licensing requirements for permanent hair removal practitioners is leading to clients being burnt and scarred says consumer watchdog CHOICE.
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.
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.
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
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.
For the full CHOICE report and to access images of burns suffered from IPL treatments, visit www.choice.com.au/laserhairremoval.
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.