What are the risks of laser hair removal by pulsed light (IPL) and permanent hair removal? Are there cases of malpractice? What regulations should be met by the practitioners?

When you enquire about a cosmetic or beauty treatment, they should inform you of the risks of any medical or aesthetic treatment, including the risks of hair removal.

The doctor or cosmetologist has to report the risks. In the case of wax, it must be disposable or heated to a temperature that kills viruses. One gynecologist warned about the risk of infection with pre-used wax; literally, he tweeted: “It’s forbidden to be plucked with used wax! High risk of infection, today I saw a patient with molluscum contagiosum”.

In another case, a girl reported having damage to the pudendal nerve. As always, in advertising, they mention the benefits of the product or service, but they do not clarify the risks.

Requirements for aesthetic and hair removal centres

To take into account and prevent such cases, whoever performs these treatments must be suitably qualified and experienced and carefully inform the client about any risks. Advertising is allowed, but it should also state any possible complications. In cases where there is a failure to do so, they may be liable to compensate the client if issues arise.

Among other requirements for aesthetic and hair removal centres, it is strictly forbidden to use diffused light or to irradiate any type of photochromatic effect that prevents or hinders observing all or part of the hygiene and aseptic conditions of the centre. In addition, all surfaces that are in contact with the skin of the client should be isolated by using sheets similar to those for surgical use, which should be discarded, along with the rest of the waste.

The materials must be disposable or sterilized according to clinical norms, and the countertops or any other or surfaces which comes in contact with the involved tools must be constructed with non-porous material and allow for easy hygiene and sanitization.

Finally, the client has the right to see the label of any product to be applied. When in doubt, and for irregularities, consult the Cosmetics Directive, which covers the use of such products in the UK.

If you have a problem …

If you believe you have been the victim of malpractice, negligence or have suffered burns or other injuries as a result of a hair removal treatment which turned out badly, you should first consult a doctor for medical advice about treatment of the condition.

However, you should also seek legal counsel from an expert laser burn lawyer with experience in such cases, in order to establish if you have a basis to claim compensation for any personal injury sustained.

Many people are familiar with the concept of compensation for personal injury in, for example, road accident claims in Gloucester, but the number of compensation claims for badly performed beauty treatments, and the personal injuries sustained while undergoing them, has been steadily on the rise in recent years as a result of the high demand for such treatments.

Getting the right legal advice will protect your consumer rights and ensure you are justly compensated.