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Auckland Council

Pulsed light and laser treatment code of practice

Tikanga tiaki mahi maimoa rama pūhiko, hihi taiaho

How to provide a safe service

Essential health and safety

  • You must get written medical consent to undertake pulsed light or laser treatment on any customer for the removal of hair from moles.
  • Skin lesions or moles on any customer can be managed and removed by a health practitioner only.

Training: Pulsed light

You must have the knowledge and skills 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 in pulsed 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

You 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: o skin type identification; and o safe use of lasers based on AS/NZS 4173: 2004 and any updates, additions or amendments to that standard; and o 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 qualifications 

You must display qualifications in a prominent place so customers can read them, and the qualifications must be in the name of the operator performing the procedure.

Precautions, consent and aftercare

Before beginning any pulsed light or laser treatment, you must advise the customer of the risks associated with the service.

Give written advice about precautions and post service procedures that the customer should take.

Before starting the treatment:

  • your customer must sign a consent form including medical history and skin type
  • identify if the customer is suitable for the service - people with a family history of melanoma must not receive any pulsed light and laser treatments
  • do a patch test, or a trial exposure of a small area of representative skin and hair 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.

Keep records

You must keep records of:

  • each customer consent form with medical history and skin type
  • service, including:
    • the date of the pulsed light or laser treatment
    • the type of treatment
    • the location on the body where the pulsed light or laser was undertaken
    • equipment calibration and maintenance.

Keep all records secure and confidential for a minimum of two years and make them available for inspection, on request.

Have a controlled area

You 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 or intense pulsed light is on
  • suitable door locks or keypads.    

Provide protective eyewear

Ensure that you and your customer wear suitable protective eyewear appropriate for the wavelength of light to be used.

If you are treating your customer's face, 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

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.

Best practice: some additional recommendations

Operator’s knowledge 

  • Get formal instruction in the recognition of skin cancers.
  • Understand the importance of not treating pigmented lesions if you have concerns.
  • Advise customers with lesions to get the advice of a registered health practitioner.

Pulsed light: skin preparation and aftercare

  • Prepare the area to be treated carefully:
    • clean it and remove all make-up
    • photograph clean skin close-up
    • shave or trim hair for hair removal.
  • Chill the area adequately.
  • After pulsed light treatment:
    • remove the chilled gel
    • clean the treated area
    • apply soothing cream
    • photograph the treated close-up.

Use of pulsed light equipment

  • Place the light applicator onto the skin and release a short pulse of light.
  • Move the applicator to the neighbouring area and repeat the process until the whole area is treated.

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