I’ve been noodling around on various spa and equipment websites and there’s one thing that always puts my back up. Just about every equipment-based treatment gets referred to as a laser treatment.

Lasers sound sexy. Think of James Bond, captured by the villain and facing a horrible death. Somehow the idea of a laser treatment sounds more high-tech, desirable and effective so let’s tell our clients that everything is a laser so they’ll be really impressed.

Why does this bug me? Setting aside such minor legal issues as false advertising and informed consent (yes I am being sarcastic), I refuse to dumb down the information that I give to my clients. My clients are smart enough to understand what a treatment is and how it works and sophisticated enough to appreciate the benefits of a treatment whether it is labelled as a laser or something else.

For example, the IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) technology I use, even though it isn’t laser, is still highly developed offering giant strides in improved effectiveness and safety compared with earlier models. My clients who have been treated with older technology comment that my treatments are way more comfortable and effective.

Next time you go to a medical spa with “laser” in the name, ask them how many lasers they actually have. And when they say they use laser for hair removal, removing brown and red spots, etc., ask them to clarify whether it is laser or IPL that they mean. You might find that a laser clinic doesn’t have an actual laser or that the staff don’t know the difference between laser and IPL.

Which is worse, someone who is deliberately misrepresenting their treatments or someone who doesn’t know enough about the technology to know the difference?