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New Horizons for Skin Care Professionals

Jul 31, 2008
It would be difficult to find any industry that has experienced more change over the last five years than skin care, and it appears that it may only be the beginning. The skin care professional, known as an esthetician, now finds themselves in the midst of a myriad of new opportunities and available specialty career paths. This is the result of the combination of changes in the regulatory environment and the maturation of new technologies.

While the traditional esthetician has provided anti-aging and corrective services designed to promote the health and appearance of the skin, todays professional has been provided a far greater set of tools with which to accomplish these tasks. This evolution can be attributed primarily to the emergence of medically based technologies.

For more than two decades, the use of lasers and other energy based devices have been a part of everyday life within the medical community. These technologies allow for the opportunity to stimulate or make a change to human tissue in ways we could previously only dream of. As the science related to these devices advanced, lasers and similar equipment began to prove useful for a wide range of cosmetic enhancement services. This includes everything from small vein closure to the permanent removal of hair and the reduction or elimination of wrinkles and fine lines.

As these concepts have continued to develop over the years, the vast majority of these services currently do not involve cutting or puncturing, require no anesthetic, and do not mandate any sort of recovery period or down-time. Although medically based, these non-invasive procedures are well suited to be performed by the skin care professional. Quite simply, these advancements have led to skin care with better tools.

The esthetician now has the opportunity to provide their clientele with both traditional and advanced services to address a wider range of needs in a more effective manner. The more significant effect provided by some of these energy-based devices creates, in many cases, a more valuable service, which can lead to a higher earnings potential for the professional.

As a result of these new opportunities, estheticians now frequently seek employment at medical offices and medical spas in addition to traditional spas and salons.

To further substantiate the growth of the skin care industry towards the more medically based services, many states have enacted or are considering legislation that would help to facilitate this trend.

In May of 2008, the Governor of Arizona signed into law the Cosmetic Laser Act (Senate Bill 1419). This new law officially broadened the legal scope of practice of an esthetician to include the use of non-ablative, non-invasive laser and energy treatments. It is important to note that cosmetology professionals must also adhere to the training requirements of the Arizona Radiation Regulatory Agency and operate under the supervision of a licensed medical professional in order to be eligible to provide these services.

In addition, the Arizona State Board of Cosmetology recently appointed to its governing board the President of the nations most experienced Laser and Clinical Esthetics training school, the IMAj Institute, in order to gain additional insight and resources to help integrate and facilitate these new opportunities for their licensees.

It is an exciting time for both clients and professionals related to the skin care industry. The coming years are likely to lead to more states adopting similar standards to those in place in states like Arizona. Already a multi-billion dollar industry, medical esthetics has a bright future ahead.
About the Author
Jason Begley has been a contributor to the laser hair removal industry for more than 15 years. He is also one of the founders of the nations premier esthetician school, and is a member of the Association of Aesthetic Professionals (AAP).
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