Zola-Quao thought it was going to be a routine laser hair removal treatment, but says she was severely burned during the procedure at the Danielle Marie Day spa in Stratford.
“It was painful. It was more painful than anything,” Quao said.
NBC Connecticut obtained exclusive pictures of her injuries.
The 26-year-old told us she bought a $99 Groupon for three laser hair removal treatments at the salon in the summer of 2017. The Better Business Bureau said 10 customers filed complaints about the salon when they weren’t able to schedule an appointment for their pre-paid laser hair removal services.
But Quao did receive her service.
“I was excited to get laser hair removal,” said Quao.
She wishes she didn’t. She said it was the first time ever undergoing the procedure and she had no idea what to expect until she arrived home and noticed a significant change in her skin.
“I just didn’t realize how extensively I had been burned until the blisters started and the skin started peeling off,” Quao said.
Quao admitted she signed the consent form which outlined the possible risks of getting laser hair removal. She said she contacted the owner, Danielle Donfrancesco, about her burns.
“She was apologetic and she started offering all of these other things, like a facial or what have you,” said Quao.
NBC Connecticut spoke with Donfrancesco over the phone who told us that, “She warned Zola that the laser hair removal machine was not recommended for darker skin tones because it has a lot more pigmentation that can cause burns.”
Donfrancesco said she recommended that Zola see a dermatologist due the severity of the burns.
Donfrancesco also added, “I was not licensed with the Health department in the town Stratford while offering her services”… And that “the town Health department shut down her business when they discovered she didn’t have a salon beauty license.”
Quao said she did see a dermatologist and ended up getting cosmetic surgery to restore her skin. She’s now offering advice to others who are thinking about laser hair removal treatments.
“Do a lot of research on who this person is that’s giving your treatment and what kind of training they actually have,” said Quao.
Groupon said they’ve issued Zola a full refund of $99 and had already stopped allowing this merchant to advertise through their platform. And the BBB has revoked its accreditation of Danielle Marie Day Spa, giving the business and F-rating.
Town health officials said the spa has since hired a licensed medical director to provide that service which is required by the State of Connecticut.