With a huge boom in the laser and skin industry in the last few years, we have seen an influx in clinics offering these services. Along with this boom has come an increase in treatments being performed incorrectly, leaving clients dealing with the sometimes-permanent side effects.
In Victoria, there are currently no governing regulations for the skin & laser industry. This means that to operate, or even buy a laser or IPL, you do not have to have any qualifications. The same goes for paramedical skin treatments. This means that many operators lack adequate education about the technology, which is when things go wrong.
This month’s blog is not intended to scare you away from these procedures or treatments, only to educate you in knowing what to look for and the right questions to ask. After all – knowledge is power!
Laser hair removal & laser skin treatments
In our humble opinion, laser hair removal may be one of the greatest inventions – possibly ever. Not having to worry about taming that unwanted hair saves so much time and stress.
So, with a zillion laser clinic’s around, what do you need to look for?
What type of machine is it?
Is it a laser or IPL machine? Lasers have a superior depth penetration into the skin, as well as a better concentration of energy. This means that a laser for hair removal produces better and longer lasting results.
There is a big difference between laser machine qualities between clinics. Some will invest a little, some will invest a lot, as the saying goes; ‘you get what you pay for’. Did you know you can research the laser brand and type before a treatment to find out how well it works?
Who is performing the treatment?
Do they have any formal qualifications? – At the very least, the laser operator should have a laser safety certificate. Currently in Victoria, many clinics are hiring staff with no education in laser technologies. Even if you do not know about the treatment, you can generally tell when someone knows what they are talking about. Make sure to ask questions, test their knowledge, even ask what their qualifications are!
Do they perform a detailed consultation?
It is extremely important that you understand how the treatment works, what to expect during the treatment and what you need to do/not do in between treatments. This is an integral part of any laser or paramedical skin treatment to ensure a safe and effective treatment. If the clinic is skipping this part of their service, what else are they skipping on?
Is the treatment safe for your skin type?
Most lasers are attracted to something in the skin, that’s how they work so well. With hair removal lasers, most of the time they are looking for dark pigment in the skin; i.e a hair. However, for those of us lucky enough to have a lot of colour naturally in their skin, these types of lasers are not suitable because the laser will target your skin too!
The skin types that must be wary include people from specific ethnic backgrounds; Mediterranean, Asian, Middle Eastern, African and Aboriginal. Being treated with the wrong type of equipment for these skin types can be dangerous. For hair removal, the safest type of laser (yes, there are many types of laser) is an Nd:Yag 1064nm. This type of laser targets deeper into the skin and is less attracted to the colour of your skin.