According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), laser hair removal is the second most common nonsurgical aesthetic procedure that patients seek (the first being botulinum toxin Type A injections). This popularity puts laser hair removal in the middle of a growing debate: who is qualified to perform a service that struddles a fine line between medicine and aesthetic treatment?

Plastic surgeons and dermatologists say patients should seek laser hair removal from medical specialists who understands skin and healing.

“People with dark skin need to be especially careful,” says Rhonda Narins, MD, past president of the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery. “They are most likely to get burned because dark pigment absorbs more laser heat (a fact that also makes dark hair on pale skin the easiest to destroy and very light hair the most difficult to remove).”

Although patients may be tempted to choose who performs their treatment by price alone, plastic surgeons warn that some clinics lure consumers with a one-time price, but then make their money on package deals for more visits than may be needed.