Beauty industry regulation only goes skin deep

28 September 2018, William Hatchett, EHN Editor

Woman with long lashes in a beauty salon

Is the beauty industry at crisis point? EHN speaks to Sandra Moore about health and safety in the sector.

The beauty industry has become a high-risk arena, with new treatments coming onto the market thick and fast including vampire facials, cryolipolysis, derma-planning and micro-needling. Better regulation is needed argues EHP Sandra Moore, MCIEH CEnvH and Technical Director at Hygenisys. Check out her interview with Environmental Health News below.

How long have you been a CIEH member?

I joined as a student in 1986 and am now a chartered member. I trained at the London Borough of Hackney, which gave me a solid foundation for my career. The EHOs there were some of the best that I have ever worked with.

How did you get into the beauty business?

I left local government in 2010 and went to work for a consultancy as an Account Manager. I joined Hygenisys consultancy in 2015. I noticed when working with hotel clients that not enough focus was given to the safety of spa and beauty treatments, or to the working environment and the welfare of the therapists. I realised that there was a real need to focus on public practitioners’ health and safety.

Do you think the sector lacks adequate regulation?

Yes, definitely. There’s no specific legislation, so enforcement officers rely on things like the Health and Safety at Work Act etc. 1974 or licensing conditions, which leads to inconsistency. Special treatment licences only apply to London Authorities. Outside London, the Local Government Miscellaneous Act 1982 part VIII requires premises offering acupuncture, tattooing, ear-piercing and electrolysis to be licensed, so, as you can see, there is a huge disparity that causes confusion. In Scotland, clinics and beauty salons carrying out aesthetic treatments must be registered with Healthcare Improvement Scotland and there is a mandatory register.

Leg and body contouring treatment in clinic

"We need beauty industry legislation that is clear, concise and easy to enforce."

Which aspects of beauty treatments are you most concerned about?

The fact that there are inexperienced and, in some cases, untrained therapists administering treatments that can have life-changing effects on an individual, as well as a lack of public awareness of the dangers that await them if they do not go to a licensed and reputable establishment. Many new treatments require in-depth learning and practice to undertake them, but in some cases, you can take an online course, obtain a certificate and offer the treatment.

Have you seen examples of bad practice?

Yes, many. Most of the issues in my local authority days were due to poor infection control, bad clinical waste management and a lack of training/understanding by staff regarding a safe working environment.

What do you think should be done about it?

We need legislation that is clear, concise and easy to enforce. Local authority officers should be given training and clear guidance on high and medium-risk treatments.

photo of Sandra Moore

Read the full interview, including Sandra’s comments on the Welsh licensing approach, how public awareness should be raised and more, in this month’s issue of Environmental Health News.


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