Calls for industry regulation after laser hair removal gone wrong
VANCOUVER – When she ended up with painful red marks all over her legs and bikini area after laser hair removal, Vancouver exotic dancer Danielle Nadeau did some research, and was shocked to learn the industry isn’t regulated.
“You think these companies have someone overseeing them," Nadeau said. "To hear that it’s kind of like, for lack of a better term, a free for all, it’s kind of concerning."
A board member of the Beauty Council of Western Canada says most patients have no idea there’s no oversight of the lasers or the technicians who perform the procedure.
“Not only do you not have to have any experience to operate one of these machines, you don’t necessarily have to purchase one from a reputable dealer,” said Kirsten Engel. “You find these machines on Craigslist.”
That hasn’t always been the case. Up until 2003, the beauty industry was regulated in B.C. But the provincial government decided to step away, believing it to be safe.
“Unfortunately that has not worked out the way they thought it might, and it's led to a number of cases in lots of different services with many different service providers where there’s a lack of training and there's a potential for injury,” said Engel.
With the industry now using more complicated technology, CTV News Vancouver asked the health minister if it’s time to considering regulating again.
“It’s something we could look at the in future, but it’s not something we have right now before us to re-regulate the decision (that) was made in 2003,” said minister Adrian Dix.
He thinks the onus should be on the industry, adding, “it’s is the obligation of the owners, the businesses to ensure the safety and training of employees.”
Engel worries that’s not working.
“I don’t believe that voluntary is enough when it comes to this," she said. "I believe there should be regulation from government or mandated certification and ongoing checks to make sure people are up-to-date with best practises."
In a statement, the company that performed Nadeau’s laser hair removal – Ideal Image MedSpa in Vancouver – said:
“To ensure the best outcomes, all of our procedures are performed by medically-trained professionals, clients are counseled about pre and post treatment care, and our medical staff are always available for post-care questions.”
The company has not filed a response to Nadeau’s civil lawsuit. The exotic dancer claims she’s lost income because of the white marks that remain on her legs from the procedure five months ago. Her advice for anyone considering laser hair removal?
“Really do your research, and maybe even put it off until there’s more regulation in the industry," she said.