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Can You Survive a Spa Inspection?

Regina M. Tucker May 2013 issue of Skin Inc. magazine
Spa Inspection

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Editor’s note: The idea for this article came to light during the opening panel of the Advanced Education Conference Program at Face & Body® Northern California in October 2012. During the panel focused on regulation, the question about how to handle an inspection came up and it was suggested Skin Inc. run an article on this topic. Regina M. Tucker, a regular Business Solutions authors, attended the panel and offered to bring the topic to life. For more thought-provoking and inspiring education, make plans to attend the Advanced Education Conference Program at this year’s Face & Body, August 24, 2013, in San Jose, California. Register today at

It’s a typical day at the spa with clients coming and going. The spa manager is in the back office processing payroll, the front desk coordinator is multitasking, making appointments, and checking clients in and out. It’s business as usual until an unexpected arrival … an inspector from the state board of cosmetology, who is there to conduct an inspection. If this were your spa, how would the rest of the story unfold? Would your team panic or would it be prepared? You can ensure the latter with just a little planning.

The professional skin care industry is constantly facing new challenges. For example, according to the Tennessee State Board of Cosmetology, recent increases in communicable diseases have prompted strict guidelines on the utilization of sterilized equipment, gloves and goggles for all licensees when performing any type of service on a client. It is important that you not only stay up-to-date on expectations, but you and your staff should also be prepared should an inspector arrive unannounced at your door.

Understand the purpose of the visit

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10 Basic Inspection Guidelines

Check with your state board for specific laws and regulations related to your practice and use the following guidelines as a general reference to survive an inspection.

  1. Inspectors conduct inspections throughout the state on a daily basis. Upon arrival at your spa, an inspector is often required to present credentials (usually in the form of a state-issued identification card) before conducting the inspection.
  2. If a person comes to your spa to conduct an inspection and fails to present proper credentials, you should not allow that person to conduct an inspection.
  3. Be suspicious if a board inspector offers to take any money from any person for any reason prior to, during or after an inspection.
  4. Keep sanitation logs handy and visible.
  5. Properly label sanitized implements; for example: sterilization pouches, disinfectant, etc.
  6. Make sure licenses are current.
  7. Keep your spa clean, neat and orderly.
  8. Become familiar with common violations in your state and make sure your spa has none.
  9. Do not try to look for loop holes in the law; this could really set you up for failure.
  10. Consult with an attorney if you are unsure about compliance issues or have questions about violations.

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