State Requirements for Laser Hair Removal Technicians
Laser hair removal is essentially a medical procedure and as such is regulated by state laws. Most state laws follow broad FDA guidelines, but each state has its own approach. That means it’s necessary for you to check to guarantee that a potential technician meets your state requirements. (Just find your state's website link in that list and click on it. Typing "laser hair removal" into their search feature should give you the information you need.)
State regulations fall into within three broad types. Each type is based on FDA-instituted guidelines that describe different levels of physician involvement.
Some states do not require that a medical doctor perform or even directly supervise the laser procedure. The doctor does not necessarily have to be on site. The doctor must, however, take personal responsibility for the procedure. In other words, the doctor assures you that the technician is competent and that the procedure will be done correctly. States that require only this limited supervision will define doctor responsibility in different ways. Either a doctor or a non-medical professional may own the clinic.
Some states do not require that a medical doctor perform the laser procedure. However, the doctor must provide supervision. This means the doctor must be must be on-site and available to provide medical assistance should any complications arise. Either a doctor or a non-medical professional may own the clinic.
Some states will only allow a medical doctor to do laser surgery. However, even then, a doctor can use his or her discretion to allow a PA, RN, or other medically licensed professional to operate the laser. But that professional is performing the procedure under the protection of the doctor’s medical license and insurance. In these states, a non-medical professional may not own the clinic.
Laser Technician Experience
Technician experience is the key to a successful laser hair removal experience. There isn’t any one top school or any standard test for laser hair removal technicians, so credentials won’t always provide you the best measure of their skill. But there are plenty of skilled laser professionals out there! The trick is asking the right questions.
Be sure to evaluate a few technicians before making a choice. Find out where each of the technicians received laser training, how long they have been performing treatments, how many treatments they have performed, and which lasers they have used. You should also inquire about the technicians’ continuing education. Ask if they are actively involved in laser or medical societies or partake in ongoing training. Use what you’re reading today to get a feel for the technician’s expertise. Discuss types of lasers, your skin and hair types, and even state regulations.
Laser Hair Removal Consultations
Savvy consumer, meet the personal consultation. Personal consultation, meet the savvy consumer. You two will be fast friends!
The consultation is your chance to ask all your smart questions about the technician’s experience and training, and evaluate the clinic as a whole. Of course, it’s also the time for discussing and possibly planning your potential laser treatments. This is when the technician will analyze your skin and hair type to determine the best treatment schedule for you. Most laser hair removal consultations are free of charge. Take full advantage of this. Attend more than one. Ask lots of questions and take notes if you need to.
Questions to ask during your laser hair removal consultation
- What kind of laser do you use? Is it right for my skin type? Have you treated many other patients with a skin type similar to mine? And how about my hair color?
- How long have you been performing laser hair removal treatments? Can you tell me about your training and experience?
- Do you know how many treatments you have performed?
- If I felt I could benefit from it, would you be able to have one of your previous patients call me to talk about their experience?
- I’ve heard that tanned skin is a laser hair removal no-no. Can you explain that to me a little better? For how long before and after my treatment do I need to avoid the sun?
- I know it’s prohibited to “pluck” any hairs out by the roots before treatment. What are your rules about shaving before treatment? Should I shave just before? Should it be a close shave?