The dangers of laser hair removal -

The dangers of laser hair removal

Laser hair removal is the second-most popular outpatient procedure in the country, and it's not cheap. The problem is, in some states, almost anybody can perform this service. And in the wrong hands, a laser can be a dangerous piece of equipment. 

A $99 Groupon or LivingSocial offer may seem attractive, but the money you save is no bargain at all if the person operating the laser doesn't know what they're doing.  

Anne Warren got one of those $99 specials for a day spa near her home in Virginia. 

"It hurt a lot and it continued to burn afterward," she said. "And when I looked in the mirror, I actually had blisters across the top of my lip."

Trisha Ip also claimed one of those offers to get her legs done. After all, she said, who wouldn't want to get half off of such a costly procedure?

"My skin had a terrible reaction. It erupted," Trisha said. "I was scared it was burns, because it looked like burns, and I ended up having to see a dermatologist to see what it was and get some relief." 

Dr. Suzanne Kitces Peck knows what she's doing. She's an M.D. and a board-certified dermatologist. The problem is that some state regulations are such that almost anybody, with very limited training, can be certified to operate one of these lasers. The cost is a little higher at Dr. Peck's office than most day spas, but as Dr. Peck points out - you get what you pay for. 

"Even in the best laser hands, there's always risks associated with it," she explained. "But in the wrong hands, there can be some devastating, permanent risks associated with using this machine."

As for Trisha Ip - there will be no more bargain hunting. She's done with laser hair removal. 

"I got very lucky not to get scarred. I don't know what would happen next time," she said. 

If you decide to have laser hair removal at some place other than the office of a board-certified dermatologist, be sure to ask the facility if its laser technicians are working under the direct supervision of a doctor, physician's assistant, or a registered nurse.

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