You’ve probably heard of the hair removal phenomenon that’s taken the country by storm. Laser hair removal businesses have exploded in recent years. What used to be an expensive procedure only conducted by select physicians is now becoming cheaper and more readily available to the general public.

If the prospect of permanent hair removal sounds tempting to you, it’s important to educate yourself on the procedure—and its risks—before you sign up.

What is laser hair removal?

Laser hair removal is a way of removing unwanted body hair by treating it with pulses of laser light. After several sessions, the laser destroys the hair follicles and prevents the hair from growing back.

Are there risks?

When performed improperly, laser hair removal can lead to injury—including burning, scarring or infection. There has even been one reported case of death in a patient due to over-application of topical anesthesia.

Additionally, as this procedure has grown in popularity, many new businesses have popped up offering the service. However, the procedure is unregulated at the federal level. And since it’s not technically a medical procedure, you don’t have to be a medical professional to operate the laser. Lawsuits against non-physician operators have risen dramatically in recent years.

What can I do?

If you’re interested in getting laser hair removal, it’s important to do your homework on the clinic you’re considering:

  • If you’re not having the procedure done by a licensed physician, make sure that a licensed physician will be supervising the procedure.
  • Also, make sure that physician specializes in the skin—a dermatologist or plastic surgeon are good bets.
  • Check the clinic’s ratings and reviews on sites such as the Better Business Bureau and Yelp.

If you suffer injury from a laser hair removal mishap, it’s important to consult with an experienced medical malpractice attorney to understand your legal recourse.