In twenty plus years of medical practice I have served as a medical expert for multiple
insurance companies and Law firms.
Thus I have a very intimate understanding of medical law and patient/consumer safety.
The idea of offering “medical” services in a “spa” setting developed in the middle
1990’s and the “Medi-Spa” was created.
While it is wonderful to have treatments in a relaxed atmosphere the line of safety
is often crossed leaving you prone to serious injuries from personnel not qualified
to treat you.
Terms like “medically supervised” or “Medical Director” give the impression that
you are in a medical environment being cared for my medically trained professionals
. When in reality you may be receiving treatment from a person who knew nothing
about medicine/aesthetics three weeks ago and became “certified” in a two weekend
Specifically regarding Laser Tattoo Removal
The removal of tattoos , implant able devices ( ink) , pigments are medical therapies
in NYS and require medical education.
The persons legally capable of using lasers to remove tattoos are:
Medical Doctors ( M.D. Or D.O.)
Advanced Nurse Practitioners ( A.N.P. , N.P.) with physician collaboration
Physician Assistant (P.A.) under direct physician supervision
Anyone else not listed above is NOT legally capable of using a laser to remove a
So, how do you protect yourself?
There are terms you must know to better understand who is treating you and what your
potential risks are:
The medical director: The fact that an establishment requires a director means that
they are not legally qualified to offer these therapies by themselves and are required
to work under the LICENSE of a medical doctor. The medical director is to set treatment
guidelines and is required to review records and care for adverse events like burns.
The majority of the time the medical director in not on site. Meaning, will they
be there when you need them in an unexpected emergency.
Licensed Aesthetician: What license is that , did they take a few weekend classes
or attend a fully accredited school of aesthetics generally a 9-12 month long program.
Medical Aesthetician: A relatively new term that has become popular over the last
few years. It infers an aesthetician with medical knowledge however they are not
recognised as a medical professional by the board of licensure and can not perform
treatments that are considered to be medical . This includes medical lasers and Botox
Medical Grade: often in reference to the strength of a chemical peel or laser capability
inferring a potency offered by a medical doctor. If something is medical grade make
sure the person administering it had a medical education.
Fully Licensed and Insured: Liability insurance for the provider of these treatments.
I am finding that the majority of these carriers confuse lasers for hair removal
the same as lasers for tattoo removal, pigment removal , skin resurfacing and tightening
all of which are medical procedures. Insurance does NOT assure you competent care.
Web sites without names: Beware of any establishment that has sites devoid of any
names. The listing of medical specialties such as “cosmetic surgeons” without a name
attached should be an alarm.
Do your homework. Speak to someone who you know had the treatment at a particular
establishment. What is the turn over of the staff ,how long have they been performing
This page is not meant to point the finger and any establishment but to educate
If you made a mistake in choosing your artist or tattoo the first time
It is even more important not to make a mistake in choosing the person who removes
More information is available by contacting
the NYS department of Medical Licensure, Albany NY