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Understanding State Board Regulation of Equipment

By: Susanne S. Warfield
Posted: December 30, 2011, from the January 2012 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
understanding state regulation of equipment

page 6 of 8

Q: What about additional certifications on new devices as they come to market?

A: Some states are now requiring certification or credentialing that includes a mandatory number of hours of training before operating a laser. The downside of over-regulating is that for every new device that comes to market, an esthetician would need to stop working in order to take a week-long course. Rather, the industry should be considering continuing education (CE) units approved by a national commission and increasing the initial hours of training for licensing of estheticians.

Q: Why can’t these devices be used under medical supervision?

A: Many states have not yet defined “medical supervision” in their statutes or rules. The interpretation of medical supervision can mean anything from physicians being available by telephone to them being physically in the same office. If medical supervision becomes a state requirement for use of laser and light therapy devices, it could mean that estheticians would more than likely have to become an employee of the physician. Also, the corporate practice of medicine is a legal doctrine, which generally prohibits corporations, entities or individuals from practicing medicine. This would also prohibit lay entities (estheticians and spas) from hiring a physician to work as a medical director or provide medical supervision.

Continued evolution

To be successful as a skin care professional in today’s industry, it is necessary to become more aware of the regulatory issues that affect how you provide services. Do not forget that regulation of the profession is provided by state regulatory boards, and that, as science and technology evolve, so must you. Any other respected profession allocates funds to educate and protect the future of its industry through advocacy efforts with not only state board members, but also legislators, and getting involved with national associations or coalitions. Asking better questions of the manufacturers and distributors with which you do business can help you make better-informed decisions. If your equipment company is not advocating and helping to protect your business, then take your business elsewhere. Safeguarding estheticians’ rights is everyone’s responsibility, and understanding the regulation of the equipment you use to provide services is a good place to start.

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