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Professionals Face Safety Issues with At-home Treatments

Posted: December 5, 2008

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“It is important for consumers considering any at-home cosmetic treatments to first discuss these products with their dermatologist,” advised Dr. Hirsch. “For example, a person using a retinoid could be at risk for an adverse skin reaction from a chemical in these at-home products that should not be used simultaneously.”

Perhaps the most sought after new at-home cosmetic procedure that has been introduced recently is in the realm of laser hair removal devices. Unlike the laser hair removal procedures performed in dermatologists’ offices and which offer a long-term solution to unwanted facial and body hair, laser hair removal performed at home is intentionally temporary. Despite giving consumers only a temporary remedy for unwanted hair, Dr. Hirsch added that these types of devices can be expensive, ranging in price from approximately $800–1,000. These devices also can pose a safety concern for people who are tan or have darker skin.

The concern for people using an at-home laser hair removal device or for those opting to receive cosmetic treatments outside of a dermatologist’s office, such as at a spa or mall-based establishment, is that many factors could adversely affect the outcome of the procedure and pose unforeseen side effects.

“Knowing who not to treat is extremely important, and that is why consumers should remain highly skeptical of cosmetic procedures offered at local malls or venues where packages of treatments are sold,” said Dr. Hirsch. “In these cases, there is no motivation to turn anyone away, and the consequences could be very serious. To ensure the highest level of safety and efficacy, see your dermatologist or skin care professional for all your skin care needs.”

For more information on aging skin, go to the "AgingSkinNet" section of, a Web site developed by dermatologists that provides patients with up-to-date information on the treatment and management of disorders of the skin, hair and nails.