Laser hair removal left exotic dancer with unsightly marks, lawsuit alleges

VANCOUVER – An exotic dancer has filed a civil lawsuit against a popular Vancouver spa after she claims a laser hair removal treatment left her with white cheetah-like marks all over her legs and bikini area.

“I honestly would not wish this on anyone, it’s been such a horrible five months,” said Danielle Nadeau from her Coal Harbour condo.

Tired of shaving and waxing for her job, Nadeau decided to have a series of laser hair removal sessions at Ideal Image MedSpa on Granville Street. But her eighth appointment in June felt different than the previous ones.

“It always kind of feels like a rubber band being snapped, that’s what most people equate it to. I was used to that, I expected that. And this time it just was incessant pain the entire time, and at one point I was biting my fist,” Nadeau said.

She says she complained, but the person performing the procedure didn’t seem concerned. She left the spa with her legs feeling swollen and hot. “I said to my partner, it feels like I’m standing in boiling oil. I have never had this experience.”

Over the next several days, Nadeau says hundreds of welts began to appear on her legs and bikini area. “At first it was just a bunch of red nickel-sized dots all over my legs, and they were puffed up and tender and it hurt,” said Nadeau. “Eventually, over time those flaked off, and now I’m left with hypo-pigmented white dots all over my legs and my Brazilian area.”

Nadeau says the marks are difficult to hide with make-up, and they’re impacting her job as an exotic dancer.

“Every time I go for a dance or present myself at work, there’s always the comment: what happened to your legs? What is that?” said Nadeau. “Of course that decreases my wages. People are turned off by it, they’re put off by it.”

So Nadeau has hired a lawyer, and she’s suing the spa in civil court for lost wages and general damages.

In a statement to CTV News, Ideal MedSpa says: “As with any elective medical treatment, there are occasionally adverse reactions driven by a variety of issues, including exposure to the sun, allergic reactions, and using certain lotions and medications. We understand that adverse reactions are difficult and we are here to offer any support we can. In our experience, most cases of adverse reactions resolve in time. We are looking into what happened in this specific case, will respond through the court process and are committed to resolving this matter.”

The company has yet to file a formal response and Nadeau’s allegations haven’t been tested in court.

Nadeau says she’s trusting her lawyer will help her get a fair settlement, and has spoken to a dermatologist about the white marks on her legs and groin.

“He said really the only thing you can do is wait and time will tell if the colour comes back.,” said Nadeau. “Now we’re at the five month mark and that hope is kind of waning a bit.”

She says she wishes she‘d done more research before committing to laser hair removal and hopes her story gives other women pause, adding that “shaving is better than scars.”

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