Laser hair removal clinics unregulated

Experts warn women who visit clinics for laser removal that they could be putting themselves at risk

Women who visit beauty clinics for laser hair removal could be putting themselves at high risk of scarring or blindness due to the lack of regulation, experts have warned.

There are around 10,000 private clinics offering the treatment across the UK but few outside of London are regulated in accordance with guidelines.

Beauticians are able to set themselves up in business with a laser machine costing as little as £1,600 without safety training.

‘If used inappropriately the laser can inflict significant damage,’ says Professor Harry Mosely, president of the British Medical Laser Association.

Both Professor Mosely and and Graham Hart from the Society for Radiological Protection say they are aware of many cases where people have been scarred by lasers operated by poorly trained beauticians.

A Department of Health assessment in 2008 concluded de-regulation of laser hair removal treatments would carry minimal risk and the regulations surrounding the use of laser machines for cosmetic procedures were scrapped in 2010.

But Professor Mosely says a single flash of a laser could cause blindness if it burnt the retina. Other cases have included a woman left with a hole in the skin of her forehead.

‘What concerns me more is the impact on the client, scarred for life,’ says Professor Mosely. ‘This is not a cost that anybody should have to bear.’

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