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Electrolysis permanent hair removal Halifax, Sackville, Windsor NS

The Dangers of Laser Hair Removal Technicians with Minimal Training

Woman with severe burns on her chin from laser hair removalBurning Issues: The Consequences of Inadequate Laser Hair Removal Training

A short while ago I learned about a hairdresser in HRM (Halifax Regional Municipality, for those readers not from Nova Scotia) who recently acquired laser machine for offering laser hair removal services. What caught my attention was the surprisingly brief duration of her training – a mere 2 hours, courtesy of the company that sold her the machine. This revelation raised some serious concerns.

Why, as a Certified Professional Electrologist, does this concern me? For many reasons. Just recently I had a very light skinned client who received severe burns after a laser treatment. This client is getting laser and electrolysis at the same time (appointments spaced evenly out), so I witnessed the burns first hand. His electrolysis appointment was 2 weeks after his laser appointment. He still had a large wound present. He showed me pictures of the burns the day after his treatment, they were horrific. This is not the first time I’ve witnessed burns. I’ve also had a client with very dark skin who has come in with burns. This should not be happening. But, it's not just about the concern about burns, but also about the lack of information provided to clients, regarding things like the potential risk of laser stimulating follicles to grow more hair - Paradoxical Hypertrichoses  - so that they can make informed decisions about laser hair removal. It's also about clients that aren't candidates for laser, because their hair is too light and they're sold laser packages anyway - and when the client complains that it's not working - telling them they need to buy more sessions.Woman with severe burn from laser hair removal

Let me be very clear – I am not throwing shade on the laser hair removal industry. Laser has its place and there are many very good laser technicians. What’s important is that all of us in the hair removal industry, have proper training (and no, you can’t get that in 2 hours or 2 weeks.) and provide proper information for their clients to decide if laser is a good fit for them. So for you, dear reader, it’s up to you to determine if the person you’re trusting with your skin, is properly trained.

Did you know….“Medical offices, spas, beauty salons — even the smallest strip malls — offer laser hair removal. In Canada, no license is required to operate the machine, and training is usually provided by the manufacturer. Only the machine itself is licensed by Health Canada. Therefore, anyone, trained or not, can legally operate a laser machine for hair removal in Canada.”

In recent years, the demand for laser hair removal has surged as people seek a solution for unwanted body hair. While laser hair removal can offer results when performed by trained professionals, there's a concerning trend emerging - the rise of technicians operating with only a few hours of training. This practice is not only risky but can also lead to severe consequences for clients. In this blog, we'll delve into the dangers of laser hair removal technicians with minimal training and why it's crucial to prioritize safety and expertise in this booming industry.

Severe burns to both thighs for client who had laser hair removal

  1. Lack of Understanding of Skin and Hair Types

One of the most significant dangers of technicians with minimal training is their limited understanding of different skin and hair types. Laser hair removal is not a one-size-fits-all procedure. Different skin tones and hair colors require specific settings and approaches to achieve safe and effective results. Technicians without proper training may not be able to identify these crucial distinctions, potentially leading to burns, scarring, or ineffective treatments.

  1. Inadequate Knowledge of Laser Technology

Laser hair removal devices are complex pieces of equipment that require in-depth knowledge to operate safely. A technician with minimal training may not fully comprehend the technology they're using, including the potential risks and how to mitigate them. Incorrect use of the equipment can result in severe injuries, including burns, scarring, hyperpigmentation, or hypopigmentation.Dark skin inner leg with burn scars left from laser hair removal

  1. Mismanagement of Pain and Discomfort

Laser hair removal can be a painful procedure, and technicians must know how to manage their clients' pain and discomfort effectively. Trained professionals can recommend pain relief strategies, adjust laser settings to minimize discomfort, and recognize signs of distress. Inexperienced technicians may not be equipped to handle these aspects, potentially leading to a traumatic experience for the client.

  1. Inadequate Safety Measures

Proper safety measures are paramount in laser hair removal to protect both the client and the technician. This includes wearing appropriate protective gear, ensuring proper ventilation in the treatment room, and implementing strict hygiene protocols. Technicians with minimal training may not be aware of these essential safety measures, putting everyone involved at risk. For example, not wearing protective eye goggles can result in damage to your eyes.

  1. Risk of Infections and Unsanitary Practices

Another concern with undertrained technicians is the potential for unsanitary practices. Cross-contamination can occur if proper sterilization procedures are not followed, leading to infections and other health issues for clients. Trained professionals are well-versed in maintaining a sterile environment and minimizing infection risks.

  1. Legal and Ethical Implications

Operating as a laser hair removal technician without adequate training may also have legal and ethical implications. In the US, many regions require specific certifications and licenses to perform these procedures, and practicing without them can lead to legal consequences. However, this is not the case in Canada. As you can see from the links below, some clients who have been injured have gone through the courts to get some sort of recompense for their injuries. However, I did find articles where the clients had no recourse.

  1. Adequate Insurance Coverage

A significant issue within the beauty industry is that some laser technicians may fail to inform their insurers that they are providing laser hair removal services. As a business, it's important that we all carry adequate insurance. When you run a business out of your home, you are required to inform your home insurance provider that you do operate a business out of your home. In the beauty industry, you should also carry commercial property & liability insurance (it's good business sense!). While many estheticians may report to their home insurers that they are operating a business, they may not disclose (possibly not realizing they need to) that they offer waxing, electrolysis or laser. I found this out when information my own home insurance provider. It turns out, in Nova Scotia, none of the home insurance providers permit waxing, laser or electrolysis to be offered as a service (I was grandfathered in on my policy, but no new policies issued through my providor will allow it) in a home-based business. So, for those who do run their businesses from their home and offer laser, electrolysis or waxing - and haven't disclosed to their insurers that they do - they may find that their insurance policies may become null and void in the event of a claim, leaving clients with no recourse for compensation or redress.

This lack of transparency to insurers regarding the nature of services being offered can have severe consequences for both the technicians and their clients. If an incident occurs during a laser hair removal session, such as skin damage or injury, and the technician's insurance is invalidated due to non-disclosure of the specific services rendered, clients may find themselves without any means to cover medical expenses or seek compensation for damages. This situation not only places clients at risk but also reflects poorly on the professionalism and integrity of the technician.

Laser hair removal is a popular cosmetic procedure that can offer results when performed by trained and experienced professionals. However, the emergence of technicians with only a few hours of training poses a significant danger to clients' safety and well-being. It's crucial for individuals seeking laser hair removal to do their research, verify the qualifications of the technician, and prioritize safety above all else. Additionally, regulatory bodies and industry organizations should continue to advocate for stricter training and certification requirements to protect both clients and the reputation of the laser hair removal industry. Ultimately, safety and expertise should always be the top priorities in any cosmetic procedure.

Client with legs medically wrapped to aid in healing from burns received from laser hair removal. Scarring is evident.'I felt like it was on fire': Woman burned by laser hair removal warning others to do their research’ https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/laser-hair-removal-unregulated-dermatology-1.5419923

This article discusses why darker skinned people need to take extra precautions with laser hair removal. https://abcnews.go.com/US/darker-skinned-people-urged-extra-precautions-laser-hair/story?id=99838836

A Vancouver woman is suing Ideal Image Group of Canada and an unnamed technician for damages after a "painful" laser hair removal treatment left her scarred https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/laser-hair-removal-injury-vancouver-1.5364277

Another Vancouver woman sued a laser clinic for "negligence" after a laser hair removal treatment left her with burns and scars (note – laser hair removal should never be done over tattoos) https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/hair-removal-laser-tattoo-burn-lawsuit-silky-laser-doctor-1.3588769

Training not mandatory https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/beauty-industry-regulation-bc-1.5367369

This article argues for the need for training standards for people who work in the laser hair removal business in Canada. It highlights the risks associated with the procedure and emphasizes the importance of proper training for operators. https://www.ctvnews.ca/mobile/laser-hair-removal-needs-training-standards-journal-1.501304

This article discusses how in Canada, no license is required to operate the laser hair removal machine, and training is usually provided by the manufacturer. It highlights the need for proper training and licensing requirements for operators. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2871192/

This article discusses how laser hair removal is largely unregulated in Canada, and can be performed by almost anyone with as little as one hour of training. It highlights the need for stricter regulations to prevent injuries. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/dermatologist-concerns-laser-hair-removal-canada-1.5370388

This article provides guidelines for facility owners and operators in Canada to ensure the safe use of lasers for hair removal. It discusses the risks associated with the use of lasers and emphasizes the importance of proper training for operators. https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/environmental-workplace-health/reports-publications/radiation/laser-hair-removal-safety-guidelines-facility-owners-operators-health-canada-2011.html

 

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