An Auckland woman left her first laser hair removal session feeling excited that she had found a hair removal solution that had worked.
But by the end of her second session, the excitement was gone.
She said she received burns so bad during the two-minute session that she needed medical attention.
The woman, who doesn't want to be named, was having the popular beauty treatment on her chin and jawline.
She had expected some level of discomfort during the session, but when it became too painful, she asked the beautician to stop.
The two-minute session caused burns on her face and neck. She stayed at the clinic for an hour after the session holding an ice pack to her face in pain, before going to Smales Farm's Shorecare urgent care clinic.
She was bandaged up and sent home with painkillers and instructions not to go outside in the sun for a week.
She's not quite sure how the burn happened but suspects the machine was used on a higher intensity than it should be for her skin type.
She decided to tell her story to bring attention to the fact that laser hair removal can go wrong.
"I don't want anyone to go through this," she said.
"I'm suffering. The burn was really severe. But according to the doctor, it hasn't reached the underlying layers of the skin. But it was a pretty bad experience for me."
Four days after the incident, she was still in pain.
She struggled to sleep in the days after the appointment, positioning a fan by her head at night to relieve the pain of the burn.
She said she can't see herself getting the laser treatment again in the near future.
Laser Clinics New Zealand yesterday offered the woman an apology.
Michelle Taylor, the company's New Zealand country manager, said it offered "its sincere apologies" over the incident.
"Each one of our clinics follows strict protocols and procedures for all therapists, nurses and doctors," Taylor said.
"While it is highly unusual for an incident like this to occur, a thorough review is being conducted with the clinic and our management.
"We have contacted the client so that our medical director can determine what treatment would assist in their recovery, in consultation with our Medical Advisory Committee of specialist dermatologists. We are deeply sympathetic this incident occurred and wish them a full recovery."
Meanwhile, the customer has laid a complaint with the Auckland Council.
Under the Health and Hygiene Bylaw 2013, businesses that provide pulsed light and laser treatments are required to have a licence from the council.
Auckland Council's alcohol and environmental health manager, Mervyn Chetty, said there are currently 56 businesses providing pulsed light and laser treatment registered with the council.
"These businesses are inspected annually by Environmental Health team to ensure compliance with the bylaw and code of practice," he said.
The council has received two complaints in relation to laser treatments and breaches of bylaw this year, which are under investigation.
Laser Clinics New Zealand said its clinic adheres to Auckland Council guidelines and the company went "above and beyond the requirements of the code and the clinic has implemented extra safety measures, which adhere to the most stringent standards across both Australia and New Zealand".
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