Woman suffers severe burns from laser hair removal

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KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) - One woman is hoping her cautionary tale will encourage people to do their homework before they buy a procedure.

Jennifer Pearson of Copperas Cove was looking forward to receiving laser hair removal treatments on her legs. She signed up with a spa, which is no longer in business, and paid $1,920 for six sessions of laser hair removal.

“You know it’s quick, it’s easy, and it’s not a big deal,” Pearson said.

Before her first treatment, she said the technician performing the procedure told her to expect some scabbing over her tattoos. Pearson said she thought this was probably normal so she proceeded with her appointment.

During the procedure, Pearson said the laser was relatively painless except when the technician ran the device over her tattoos during the treatment.

"It was painless everywhere else and I told her, ‘You know it's a noticeable pain whenever you go over my tattoos,’" Pearson said.

Owner Krista Greene of Nu Body Med Spa, another spa that does laser hair removal, said that Pearson was right to be alarmed by the pain.

"At no point in time should it be overwhelmingly painful, that would be a red flag,” Greene said.

At her spa, Greene said each employee goes through extensive training and licensing before they ever touch a client.

Laser hair removal expert Katy Beck is the Clinic Director at the Texas Laser and Aesthetics Training Academy. She said the laser should have never been within one inch of the tattoos on Pearson’s legs.

"If I were to go over a tattoo with a laser hair removal device, it would burn the tattoo thermally," Beck said.

That is exactly what happened to Pearson’s legs. Doctors told her she had third degree burns on her legs and ankles. The burns became infected and required antibiotics and daily cleanings which Pearson said were excruciatingly painful.

"It felt like someone had a Brillo Pad just scraping my skin off and you could watch my skin fall off and go down the drain,” Pearson said.

Pearson now hopes her scars will teach others to do more research before they sign up for a service.

"People think it's just a simple procedure and that's what I thought but those lasers are dangerous,” Pearson said.

If you are considering a treatment, Greene said you should ask to see the technicians license to ensure their training is up to date. Also, she said to be sure to set up a consultation before your treatment is scheduled so you can ask any questions you have and clarify exactly what will be done during the procedure.

Read the original version of this article at kwtx.com.