Cosmetic laser treatment: 'There is no consistent standard'

Cosmetic laser treatment: 'There is no consistent standard'

EUGENE, Ore. --  After receiving several complaints from people undergoing laser procedures, the Oregon Health Licensing Agency sent a proposal to the State Cosmetology Board that would put some restrictions in place.

The procedures in question use lasers to remove unwanted hair, erase spider veins and reduce the appearance of wrinkles and acne scars. Some patients reported burns and permanent scarring after undergoing laser procedures. 

The complaints prompted the Oregon Health Licensing Agency to ask that the Cosmetology Board halt the use of lasers without doctor supervision for the next 180 days.

“The problem is some people think they have sufficient training, but there is no consistent standard,” said Holly Mercer, a spokesperson for the agency.

The proposal would exclude hair removal procedures.

Heidi Brancato, owner of brighter smiles, said 70 percent of her business comes from performing laser procedures. If the proposed laser ban for estheticians is approved, Brancato said her business would take a substantial hit.

“I have built this business from the ground up. I have poured my heart and soul into it and this is something that could potentially affect my family, livelihood, our employees, our clients,” she said.

Brancato said it’s not always the esthetician's fault. Clients fill out both a medical history and skin type evaluation form before undergoing procedures. She said that sometimes the clients leave important information out.

“You hear of people who want to get the treatment so bad, so excited to get their hair gone that they don't tell you that they went to a tanning bed prior, or they're going to go tanning a day after,” said Brancato.

Brancato said she doesn't think the practice should go away, but believes the solution could come from better supervision and continued education.

These temporary rules will be discussed by the State Cosmetology Board in a meeting on October 14. If approved, the state would then hear public comments about permanent rule changes.