The photos show the reporter with large uneven red welts on her chest and areas of redness on her face also. According to the story the correspondent was seduced by the promise of a `fast and effective way of removing the visible ravages of time without surgery’.
This is the second high profile newspaper report in recent times (see also News anchor gets burned by photo facial). I wish this were even less common than it is, but I've seen a number of IPL & laser burns before. These are often the result of rogue operations (Mesotherapy Lipodisolve Horror Stories) poorly trained staff AND physicians who intimidate their staff.
If your a plastic surgeon or dermatologist running a skin clinic, med spa, or laser clinic and your staffs first reaction is not to tell you somethings going wrong or they're not sure about an IPL or laser setting, you're just setting yourself up to have problems.
These types of IPL and laser burns are almost invaraibly the result of a physician who has medical estheticians or laser technicians who are afraid of confronting them with a problem or question. The doctor's defense? They were told what to do... but problems always arise and doctors who don't want to be hassled are the ones putting both their patitent and their laser clinic at risk. It's just a numbers game. If you treat 1000 patients at least some of them will have problems. Your staff should never be repremanded or belittled for ANY question.
The technician told me she would use a strong setting to get better results. As she passed the handpiece across my face the feeling grew hotter and hotter. By the time the device reached my neck, I could barely imagine continuing with the burning sensation. When she started on my chest the pain was intolerable and I had to ask her to stop repeatedly before continuing with what felt like torture. I'd thought of "no pain, no gain" and I soldiered on.
I got dressed, with a burning hot chest and a face that looked as if I'd been pulled out of a forest fire.
I was scheduled to return in two weeks for the next IPL treatment, in a course of six that costs £1,200. I went to a make-up shop and was dusted with a mineral powder, suggested by the spa, to camouflage the redness of my face.
A woman at the same counter asked me what the hell I'd had done. When I proudly informed her I'd had an IPL photo facial – she looked at me with total horror. "I don't mean to worry you, but I've had a course and it never looked like that." I largely shrugged off her words of warning. Why would I question the skill of a technician at the high end of the market? It's not as if I'd taken a chance and visited a high-street beauty parlour.
When I got home and looked in the mirror at my chest for the first time since the treatment - only an hour later – I was horrified. Angry red rectangular burns covered my chest in a random grid. Little did I know when I'd set off that morning that I would return after my first exciting treatment scorched and traumatised. What made no sense to me was that the treatment had not been done uniformly which was more obvious on my chest where I looked like I'd been branded with a hot iron.
The next day, on the advice of a friend, I called a top dermatologist – Dr Nick Lowe – known as the god of dermatology. He is also the man the rich and famous depend on when they need to be fixed, without resorting to the knife.
Dr Lowe saw me as a medical emergency the following morning. He works at the Cranley Clinic, off Harley Street, London, has a private practice in Santa Monica, California, and is clinical professor of dermatology at the UCLA School of Medicine, Los Angeles. He has his own skin care range and is the author of many books, including, most recently, The Wrinkle Revolution.
He was horrified by what he saw and concerned that no doctor was present at the IPL treatment – but it didn't surprise him. Along with other doctors, he is lobbying to get these types of treatments regulated in the UK. He believes treatments including Botox, line fillers, laser and light should only be conducted by doctors or administered under a doctor's supervision.
"The UK is one of the few countries in Europe that does not have sound legislation. It is much more regulated in France, Spain and Italy where only trained doctors can administer these treatments. The UK has failed totally to protect the public in this arena," says Dr Lowe.