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Laser and IPL Treatments

11 May 2015

Should beauty therapists be worried about being able to carry out laser and IPL treatments in the future?

Will insurance companies bail out on us?

What about if your providing treatments in the London Boroughs?

Light therapies are fast becoming the most desired beauty treatment by discerning clients who frequent beauty salons and medi-spas, using this advanced technology to removing unwanted body hair, for skin rejuvenation, acne treatments, red veins and pigmentation reduction.

Beauty therapists have been doing these treatments for 15 years in the UK. Julie Speed and Debbie Moore of Cedars Health and Beauty Centre in Gloucester were one of the first salons in the UK to have a laser in 1999. Do you remember those days? Three hours to do a full leg laser hair removal treatment working on every individual follicle!

It was a major relief and concern for our industry in 2010 when the Care Quality Commission de-regulated lasers for beauty salons. Legislation that was not fit for purpose, cumbersome to administer and expensive for small businesses was removed and fears of a free-for-all for cheaper machine manufacturers never came to fruition. UK salons have gone from strength to strength with providing a great service and machine companies have endeavoured to provide high quality equipment that has considerably improved in reliability, reduced maintenance costs and do what it says on the tin so to speak.

So why are some insurers removing Laser and IPL cover from their treatments covered? And why the increase in insurance premiums?

Quite simply the claims in the early years of treatment have put a burden on the available insurance schemes. Insurers have to recoup potential loses and safeguard their claims fund. Therefore everyone pays for this seemingly high risk element of our business.

Insurance premiums are rising yet machines are easier to use with easy to follow safety parameters and treatment protocols and treatment successes are improving. Lasers and Light therapies including IPL treatments do work and we need to fight our corner.

Insurance claims are old news! Potential claims for burns, scarring and pigmentation problems in an ever more litigious industry leave insurers nervous about future claims, but has technology progressed to ensure the safe application for both therapist and client? We think it has and is giving salons great results with little or no downtime.

How do we future proof our industry?

The Review of the Regulation of Cosmetic Interventions by Sir Bruce Keogh addressed Laser and IPL treatments alongside injectables after the PIP Breast Implants scare. It established that beauty salons providing Laser and IPL treatments are only regulated by the Health & Safety at Work Act (1974) that are enforced by Local Authority bodies such as Trading Standards and Environmental Health. The Environmental Health Officers can inspect premises to ensure they comply to health and safety but do not have the expertise to determine whether staff are adequately trained, following best practice etc.

The Review of qualifications required for delivery of non-surgical cosmetic interventions - Final Report, Phase 1 (September 1014) states:

Health Education England (HEE) exists for one reason and one reason alone: to improve the quality of care delivered to patients. As Professor Sir Bruce Keogh highlighted in his report on the regulation of cosmetic interventions, decisions by people choosing to undergo cosmetic procedures can have a significant impact on their health and wellbeing. It is therefore particularly important that practitioners have the appropriate skills and training and that members of the public are able to identify and choose practitioners with the appropriate qualifications.

Although there is no legal requirement to obtain the Level 4 qualification yet, we have to face the future and embrace the qualification to protect these vital income streams for our salons and spas and give confidence to the insurers that we are more than capable of delivering quality treatments to the public in a safe, appropriate and professional manner.

Awarding Organisations have developed the Level 4 Laser and Light Therapies Diploma suitable for therapists. This dry sounding qualification pulls together everything you may already know about Laser and IPL as well as giving you in-depth knowledge about how light therapies work and great customer service protocols to ensure that we deliver a service that is safe, ensuring good standards of delivery and record keeping, consistent treatment regimes and manages the client expectations. It can only be good for us and our industry and our clients.

The Level 4 Laser and IPL qualification enables the practitioner to deliver:

Hair removal, Vascular and pigmented lesion treatment; Skin rejuvenation and acne treatments; LED general treatments; phototherapy (including acne vulgaris and photo-rejuvenation, scars)

Knowledge and skills in:

Properties of light and light/tissue interaction , Physics of Lasers, IPL and LED, Various Laser, IPL and LED delivery systems , Laser safety issues and equipment management , Controlling hazards and risk assessment , Skin structure and function, Skin ageing, Skin - Acne and pathogenesis, Skin laser interactions, Hair growth cycle, skin and hair types, Common lesions and treatment options, Consultation procedure and history taking, Treatment procedures and clinical considerations, Device and treatment differentiation, Appropriate treatment parameters, The role of a Laser Protection Advisor (LPA) and Laser Protection Supervisor (LPS),  Able to select suitable lasers/IPL/LED parameters, Appropriate device selection, Preparation of treatment room and equipment, Safety and Equipment , Identification of skin types, Laser/IPL/LED parameter selection, Appropriate treatment selection, Patient consultation and preparation, Treatment delivery, Appropriate aftercare, Skin preparation.

Some salons have no choice but to take the qualification; London Boroughs have imposed the requirement of this qualification on salons under the Standard Conditions for Special Treatment Premises, London Local Authorities Act 1991-2000. Removing licences as we speak; salons have to react quickly to be able to gain this qualification, no matter what their experience is. Similar local legislation also exists in other cities such as Nottingham and Liverpool, other local government authorities may follow suit.

On the plus side with the right training and certification in place we could reduce the claims history and potentially look forward to manageable premiums and stop the flow of insurers refusing to provide the treatment risk cover.

Accredited training academies such as the International Beauty and Holistic Academy are able to provide fast track solutions with bespoke training depending on your therapists experience.

For therapists considering a career in Light therapies there has never been a better time to be trained in these exciting treatments and place you ahead of the game in your beauty therapy career.

At the IBHA we are offering the Level 4 Laser and Light Therapies Diploma and are supporting companies such as Chromogenex and Skin First if you would like more information please contact Julie Speed on 01452 414770 or email


If you are providing Laser and Light Therapies in or around London here is what two of the London Boroughs have told the IHBA:

Brent Council

Confirm that a level 4 qualification is required in addition to the Core of Knowledge and specific- equipment trainings. At present, there is not a time limit to achieve this qualification.


This requirement is checked, for every new practitioner intending to administer Laser/IPL treatments. In response to your query regarding practitioners with existing licences to administer IPL/Laser treatments but who do not have the Level 4 qualification, the view is that it would be unreasonable to withdraw their licences from them for a requirement which has been introduced after they have been permitted to administer the treatments. Thus, this requirement applies to new intending practitioners of IPL/Laser treatments.


Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea

Existing therapists already registered with use for laser/IPL, at the moment we are not requesting them to complete the level 4 Qualification. As far as I am aware to have a Level 4 qualification is just a proposal at the moment .





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