June 16, 2019

Cosmetic Hair Removal Procedures and Chemical Peels Injuries – Who Is at Fault?

Chemical peels and laser hair removal are some of the most commonly performed cosmetic procedures in the United States. They are considered non-invasive, and they are all outpatient. These procedures are not always done by medical professionals either. In fact, local spas and beauty clinics will have in-house technicians performing laser hair removal and applying chemical peels to their clients without the supervision of a physician.

Are Laser Hair Removal Procedures Safe?

For the most part, hair removal is safe.

However, to do the hair removal procedure, a specialized piece of equipment is used to remove hair through pulses of light. The equipment is pressed against the skin, and the light is supposed to penetrate into the skin’s layers and inside the hair follicle. The follicle then heats and burns away.

Typically, you need multiple procedures over the course of a few months to complete a full treatment and be hair-free.

Intense Heat Can Lead to Serious Injuries

Laser equipment relies on light and heat to penetrate into the hair follicle and remove it permanently. Because of this, a client could receive anywhere from second to third-degree burns when the device is not calibrated or used properly. The light intensity can be too much for certain skin types, too. For example, if the client has sensitive skin, a second-degree burn is more likely if the technician does not do a skin test assessment before administering the light procedure.

Second-degree burns are serious. A second-degree burn means that there is damage past the outer layer of skin, and a person may have blisters and permanent scarring. Likewise, they are at higher risk for infection because the underlying layers of skin are now exposed.

Third-degree burns are much more serious and often require immediate medical intervention. With a third-degree burn, multiple layers are damaged and so are the nerves and blood vessels. A person may have permanent scarring from this type of burn versus second-degree burns.

Why Do These Injuries Occur?

Laser technicians, in most states, are not required to have any licensing to perform these procedures and they are not required to have a medical physician oversee them either. Therefore, local spas, salons, and wellness clinics are free to offer the service. Some staff members of these facilities have had only one day of training before they are allowed to give treatments. Even worse, no one might supervise them after training – ensuring they are using the device correctly.

Also, laser technology is not foolproof. While advances have made the use of the light and heat resources safer, when the machine is not maintained well or properly calibrated, it can give off more heat than it should – leading to severe burn injuries.

Chemical Peels – Are They Safe to Have?

Chemical peels are a non-invasive cosmetic procedure done by wellness clinics, dermatologists, and spas. They are supposed to be safe, but this is not 100 percent. In fact, the U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Heath found in one 2012 study that superficial and medium-depth peels can lead to everything from a minor irritation to life-threatening complications.

Just some of the injuries that were found from this common procedure include:

  • Incorrect Solutions Used – Chemical peels require a delicate balance of the chemical solutions in them to gently remove the first layers of dead skin cells and promote new, healthier skin growth. If the chemicals are mixed incorrectly or the wrong peel is used, a person could suffer from significant burns and scarring.
  • Infection – Infections can occur because the peel is designed to remove portions of the skin, which allows bacteria to enter – especially if the facility administering the peel does not sanitize their equipment. Common infections include herpetic, bacterial, and candida.
  • Blistering – Within minutes to hours after the peel, a person may notice that their skin starts to swell, becomes irritated, and blisters begin to form. They may have continuous irritation and pain from the chemicals. This often occurs when the sensitive skin test was not done properly or when the wrong concentration of chemicals were mixed the first time around.
  • Pigmentation Changes – Pigmentation changes can occur, including hypopigmentation and hyperpigmentation. These changes are often permanent, which can leave someone disfigured the rest of their life.
  • Loss of Cutaneous Barrier – When the peel is too concentrated, tissue injuries can occur, especially once the cutaneous barrier is removed.
  • Ocular Damage – Another common injury happens to the eyes, especially if the solution accidentally enters the patient’s eye or the mixture is applied too close to the sensitive eye area.

Compensation for Spa Injuries

If you received a chemical peel or you were injured during a routine hair removal procedure, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Often, these injuries are preventable, and the wellness clinic or spa administering the procedures are negligent for not using the right equipment or training their staff accordingly.

As the victim, you have the right to hold these parties accountable and to seek compensation for your permanent injuries.

Some compensation you might receive includes:

  • Medical Costs: You should not have to pay for the medical expenses associated with your injury. These may include hospitalization, plastic surgery, and any physician appointments or medications. Instead, you can require that the facility pay these medical costs.
  • Lost Wages: You may have to miss days or weeks from work while you recover from your injuries; you can receive compensation for those missed hours.

If you or a loved one has suffered a serious injury from a routine beauty procedure, you should contact an attorney right away. An attorney at Koonz, McKenney, Johnson, DePaolis & Lightfoot, LLP, can assist you with your claim. We offer free, no-obligation consultations to all clients. Call us at one of our three convenient locations or request more information online.