Services involving the use of pulsed light and laser treatment have the potential to burn the skin and lead to longer term skin conditions. Pulsed light carries a risk of delayed recognition of skin cancers and misdiagnosing malignant skin lesions (for example, melanoma). Lasers capable of breaking the skin, such as those used for laser tattoo removal, carry the risk of drawing blood. The use of lasers capable of breaking the skin carry the risk of transmitting blood-borne diseases.
Premises should be clean and hygienic. Operators must keep surfaces sanitary and wear protective eyewear. There are minimum standards you must comply with if you have a shop (premises) or are a mobile operation and you must obtain a Health Protection Licence to operate. Information on premises, the conduct required of all operators and standards of practice for any services that risk breaking the skin are included in this pack.
When providing a health service, it is a good idea to have a conversation with the customer before commencing any treatment so they are aware of what the process will be and you, the operator, are aware of any potential risk to their health. Appropriate aftercare instructions should be given to the customer, and check they understand these instructions.
All operators of pulsed light equipment must have the knowledge and skills necessary to provide pulsed light services, including skin type identification and the safe use of equipment, which can be achieved through the following:
- National Certificate (or international equivalent) in Electrology, evidence of professional development inpulsed light services, and commercial industry experience of 12 months or more ; or
- Commercial industry experience of five consecutive years or more using pulsed light equipment, and evidence of professional development in pulsed light services; or
- Evidence of training with a pulsed light training provider, and industry experience of 12 months or more.
Training: Laser treatment
All operators of lasers that risk breaking the skin must comply with the standards in Risk of Breaking the Skin.
- All operators of lasers that risk breaking the skin, including those used for laser tattoo removal, must have the knowledge and skills necessary to provide laser services including:
- skin type identification; and
- safe use of lasers based on AS/NZS 4173: 2004 and any updates, additions or amendments to that standard; and
- commercial industry experience of 12 months or more.
- All operators of lasers that are designed to remove the skin must be a health practitioner and must be trained in the safe use of lasers based on AS/NZS 4173: 2004 and any updates, additions or amendments to that standard.
Display of qualifications
Qualifications must be displayed in a prominent position so customers can read them, and must be in the name of the operator performing the procedure.
Precautions, consent and aftercare
Before beginning any pulsed light or laser treatment, the operator must advise the customer who wishes to undergo such service of the risks associated with the service and give written advice appropriate to the procedure to be undertaken concerning precautions and post service procedures that should be taken by the customer who wishes to undergo the service. Before starting the treatment:
- A customer must sign a consent form including medical history and skin type;
- All operators must identify if the customer is suitable for the service. Any customers with a family history of melanoma must be excluded from all pulsed light and laser treatment;
- All operators must ensure that a patch test, or a trial exposure of a small area of representative skin and hair, is carried out to determine the parameters and to judge how the skin might react to a full treatment. Test patch protocol should include which areas to test, the pulsed light or laser settings, how long to wait to judge skin response, and how to spot adverse reactions.
All operators must keep records of:
- Each customer consent form with medical history and skin type
- A record of service including:
- the date on which the pulsed light or laser treatment was undertaken
- the type of treatment
- the location on the body where the pulsed light or laser was undertaken; and
- equipment calibration and maintenance.
- All records must be kept secure and confidential for a minimum of two years and made available to the council for inspection on request.
All operators must ensure there is a ‘controlled area’ for the pulsed light or laser equipment, which will have:
- Clear and detailed safety rules which describe how to use the area correctly, any hazards the operator or customer might be exposed to, who is authorised to use the equipment, and what to do in the event of an accident
- No windows to prevent eye damage to any passerby
- No reflective areas such as mirrors
- Clear signs or warning lights showing when it is safe to enter or when the laser/ intense pulsed light is on; and
- Suitable door locks or keypads.
All operators must ensure suitable protective eyewear is worn by the customer and operator appropriate for the wavelength of light to be used. If the face is being treated the customer must wear opaque metal eyewear. All protective eyewear must be either disinfected or, if disposable, completely replaced after use.
Using pulsed light equipment
All operators must ensure the pulsed light equipment is calibrated to make sure that it is working properly and accurately. The wavelength and service parameters of the equipment must be set according to skin type, hair type, test patch results, and previous service settings.
Cleaning and disinfecting
All equipment that does not need to be sterile must be cleaned and then disinfected by a thermal or chemical disinfection procedure appropriate to the level of disinfection required. Disinfection should be maintained as stated for the product-specific recommended contact time, to the satisfaction of the council.
Best practice: some additional recommendations
It is recommended that as an operator you seek formal instruction in the recognition of skin cancers; understand the importance of not treating pigmented lesions if you have concerns; and advise customers with such lesions to seek the advice of a registered health practitioner.
Pulsed light: skin preparation and aftercare
- The area to be treated should be prepared carefully:
- cleansed and all make-up removed;
- clean skin close-up photographed;
- hair shaved or trimmed for hair removal.
- Adequately chilled.
- After pulsed light treatment the chilled gel should be removed, the treated area cleansed and soothing cream applied. The treated area should be close-up photographed.
Use of pulsed light equipment
The light applicator should be placed onto the skin and a short pulse of light released. The applicator should then be moved to the neighbouring area and the process repeated until the whole area is treated.
>> Original practice of code summary.