Beware some cosmetic treatments carry health risks!

According to a consumer group in the UK people who undergo some cosmetic treatments put their health at risk by going out in the sun too soon.

The consumer magazine Which? has revealed that 39% of consumers believe cost is the most important factor when deciding whether to try laser hair removal and only a mere 14% consider the risks involved in the procedure.

A survey conducted by Which? found there are more than 3,000 unlicensed and unregulated outlets in the UK currently offering treatments such as laser hair removal which can cause scarring or blisters to skin which is exposed to the sun soon afterwards.

The consumer group says many people are not aware of this and people considering laser hair removal need to ensure that the clinic is licensed and the practitioner properly qualified.

Which? says otherwise, there is the risk that staff are untrained and may not explain all the possible risks.

The British Association of Dermatologists says a qualified dermatologist carrying out laser hair removal will advise consumers to minimise sun exposure before and during the treatment course, and for at least a month afterwards and then to use a sunscreen that offers adequate UVB protection, such as SPF 30, as well as high UVA protection, sometimes indicated by four or five stars on the label.

Which? says a number of people have been left badly burned, scarred or blistered when having laser hair removal and those undergoing the treatment while tanned or just before going out in the sun, could suffer burning, scarring, blisters or changes in skin colour.

Laser hair removal targets the pigment in the hair in order to destroy it and when the skin is tanned, the deeper melanin colour of the skin can also become a target.

This can result in the patient’s skin being left patchy and mottled.

Laser hair removal is the most popular non-surgical cosmetic treatment, with 166,000 treatments carried out in 2005 in the UK.

Which? is now calling on the government to ensure there is stricter regulation in place so that people are better protected.

Which? says those considering laser hair removal should only use trained and qualified operators with at least a BTEC qualification in light based treatments, or the equivalent, or be a qualified health professional.

They should also ask to see the clinic’s Healthcare Commission registration number; if they are not registered, walk away.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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