Million Dollar lawsuit in laser hair removal burn case

Be careful who you decide to use when you get that unwanted hair burned off.

A 34-year old investment banker in New York filed a lawsuit in 2001, claiming she received second- and third-degree burns on her face and neck from laser hair removal treatments at the Greenhouse Spa chain’s midtown Manhattan office. She says the scarring has caused her to become a virtual recluse who doesn’t date anymore and is embarrassed at her job.

“I could smell the burning, I could feel my face on fire,” she said. “It was so painful, I could have screamed. I kept wondering when it would be over with.” When she told the spa’s beauty technician to stop because of the pain, the attendant rubbed ice on her face and “asked me if I was ready to do the other side.”

She said a doctor at the spa looked in and told her to buy some salve and go home. According to the complaint filed in Brooklyn Supreme Court, she was diagnosed with serious second- and third-degree burns that plastic surgery cannot repair. She now wears coverings on her face while at work to hide the deep scarring from her laser treatments. Her complaint states she continues to experience “depressed mood, loss of confidence and self-esteem, sleep impairment, anxiety and shame over facial scars.” She says she was told that the treatments were safe and conducted by trained technicians.

Use of these devices by non-physicians is currently being reviewed by FDA due to injuries such as these.

Despite claims by laser promoters that some kinds of lasers are “perfect” for darker and tanned skin, the likelihood of injury is much higher for darker skin tones.

To help protect yourself, insist on having a physician, preferably a dermatologist or plastic surgeon with lots of laser experience perform the treatment. If this is not an option, learn the qualifications of the person performing the procedure. In some states, they require no formal training of any kind. See my section on choosing a laser practitioner for more suggestions.

Finally, avoid excessive use of painkillers during the procedure. This can alert you to the fact that you are being overtreated.

Locally there are a few places that have clean records including Avanti Med Spa and a few others. This is not an endorsement for them and I urge you to due your own background check.

5 Responses to “Million Dollar lawsuit in laser hair removal burn case”

  1. Laserburnt Says:

    I too received a severe 2nd to 3rd degree burn at Dermacare. It is very depressing. No one seemed to care. They ignored my requests for help. I too am now in the care of a plastic surgeon. My scar is mid face. Their web-site says SAFE, NO DOWNTIME, PHYSICIAN-BASED,all over it. Their nurse messed up somehow during a GENESIS laser treatment?No physician ever even called after the burn.

  2. Sam Says:

    I am a brown skinned South African who went in for laser therapy to a reputable Cape Twown laser clinic. The therapy was conducted by a beauty therapist however the clinic claimed to be backed by reputable dermatologists and plastic surgeons.

    I have been burnt quite badly on my face and neck and when I went to talk about the legal implications, I was told things like this happen and it’s one of the side effects of laser.

    I urge all women to note that this is not a side effect of laser! I went in for hair removal and came out with permanent scarring on my face and neck!

    Please be careful who you go to! Make sure they are well trained!

  3. jesse perkins Says:

    could you tell me the manufacture of the laser or IPL?

  4. Barry Cox Says:

    My wife had laser therapy probably about 5 years ago. Same thing, she got burned pretty bad. It took 3 or 4 months to totally heal. Ouch!

  5. Sean M Says:

    My fiance of 2 years had a similar treatment done and received 2nd and 3rd degree burns on her face. She is a dark skinned woman and we are also currently involved in a lawsuit against the Plastic Surgeon that did the treatment.

    I urge everyone that has received scars as a result not to sit there and just take it. That is not what you paid for.

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