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Trade body calls for regulations over laser treatment after Ilford woman was ‘scarred for life’

17:25 03 September 2014

Vanda Thomas, 55, just after her treatment. Picture: Vanda Thomas

Vanda Thomas, 55, just after her treatment. Picture: Vanda Thomas

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A trade body is calling for tougher regulations for laser hair removal after a woman claims she was scarred for life from the treatment.

Vanda Thomas, 55, seven months after her treatment.Vanda Thomas, 55, seven months after her treatment.

The Association of Independent Healthcare Organisations (AIHO) said it is lobbying the government to introduce an official register of approved practitioners to prevent injuries.

It comes after Vanda Thomas, 55, of Chelmsford Gardens, Ilford, said she went to a salon in Redbridge earlier this year to receive the treatment and was not “patch tested” beforehand.

The woman received burns to her chin and neck with the scars still visible more than six months after the alleged incident.

Ms Thomas said: “The first time I felt the laser I thought ‘this is terrible’, I jumped off the table because the pain was excruciating – it didn’t feel right.

Vanda Thomas, 55, seven months after her treatment.Vanda Thomas, 55, seven months after her treatment.

“Now I remain scarred, and I don’t think the scars will ever go away – I don’t know how this was allowed to happen in this day and age.”

AIHO regulatory and operational director Sally Taber explained: “There isn’t any regulation at the moment and that puts people at risk, so always background check a practitioner and ask if they have had the training before considering treatment.”

Ms Taber added: “It was found that there hasn’t been as much risk with lasers, hence why the government does not support regulation – yes this is a problem but it’s the responsibility of the patients to find out about the practitioner.”

Laser hair removal – the application of laser lights to kill hair follicles – was once regulated by the Care Quality Commission until 2010 when it stopped approving licences for non-surgical procedures.

A Department of Health spokesman said: “We want to make sure everybody who undergoes laser hair removal receives good standards of care and is aware of the risks.

“We are working with Health Education England (HEE) to review training and qualifications for providers of non-surgical interventions – including laser hair removal.”

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