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Q&A: Are medi-spas safe for laser hair removal and other cosmetic procedures?

Consumer Reports News: April 22, 2013 10:08 AM

Q: I get a lot of Groupon and LivingSocial offers for medi-spas. What are they, and are they safe? —L.K., Oberlin, Ohio

A: Medical spas, also known as medi-spas, offer dermatological procedures such as chemical peels, laser hair removal, and microderm abrasion in a day-spa setting. They are popping up all over the place. There are almost 4,500 medi-spas now listed in the U.S., up from about 900 in 2007. Some are free-standing, others are affiliated with medical clinics.

There are no federal regulations for medical spas, and state rules vary, with most states having none. There's also no guarantee that service providers have adequate training or supervision. That could lead to serious risks, especially with procedures that involve anesthesia. Other possible complications (even from qualified providers) include burns, infection, and scarring. Until there are stricter guidelines, it's better to get your elective procedures from a qualified provider at a medical office.

Read more about other dangerous beauty trends, including hair extensions and tattoos. Got another question for our health experts? Ask it here. Please include the state you live in.

Joel Keehn

Read our Best ways to save when you shave for Consumer Reports' review of the No No hair removal system.

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