Did you know that the Beauty Industry is unregulated, putting you and your health at risk? No? Well then read on to find ways to spot a Rogue Therapist so you can protect yourself.
Times are tough and money is in short supply; so many people with no previous experience are currently training in lashes, brows, massage and nails and due to current circumstances these courses are being offered online only. The industry is unregulated so anyone can run these courses online and anybody can join them. Members of the public don’t know to check the credentials of the person they have applying glue to their eyes or removing a layer of skin from their face or manipulating the soft tissue of their body.
There are a number of desperate individuals who in an attempt to make an income are taking advantage that reputable salons and qualified therapists are currently closed. These pop up beauticians have no experience and the knowledge is mostly via zoom or theoretical only while this may be ok for continuous development but it can be quite dangerous as a foundation course as the eyes and skin are very delicate and very easy to damage irreparably. These therapists usually have personal email addresses and only mobile numbers for contact and no credible way to verify legitimacy and in many cases they only take cash payments or BACS transfers to personal accounts. They are mostly mobile only and while this is not unusual, there is no way to establish credibility or experience, sometime friends have used these 'beauticians' but again no one has checked that they are insured or even qualified or at the very least experienced.
In many cases, they are not qualified and usually just have a talent for doing beautiful nails or make-up, this in itself is not a problem amongst friends; however if they are qualified they will know the necessary health and safety procedures to take with their equipment to prevent infections and cross contamination. One of the ways to avoid fungal infections is not sharing nail clippers or scissors ( see https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Fungal-nail-infection/ for further information). You can also get mycobacteria infections and staph infections and other issues.
(see https://cleanmyspace.com/manicure-pedicure-safety-how-safe-is-your-nail-salon/ for advice given to true professionals). Direct contamination can occur when there is an open wound or dirty equipment or towels are used. Infections such as cold sores, fungal infections, body lice etc can be easily spread if the right precautions are not taken.
These stories may seem over the top and worst case scenarios, but they are not; these infections occur more often than you think. Recently, most of us haven't been going out as often as we're used to. Our immunity is not at its best and its easier for infections to spread. Any time you have the skin exposed or layers of skin removed such as with waxing and facials, you are exposing yourself to bacteria and infections.
Let me clarify, not all nail technicians, beauticians and massage therapists who 'pop up' are unqualified, many of them are qualified and insured, but there are a few 'Rogue Therapists' who are not and they don't care about your wellbeing, they care only about making a quick buck. That brings me to the next issue, insurance. It is your right and responsibility to check that the person working on you is insured "IN THE MODALITY THEY ARE PRACTISING" ie a beauty qualification doesn’t mean you insured to do lashes for example. Why is this important you ask? Does having insurance add value to the session? A therapist will need to have a recognised qualification to have insurance in the UK. The qualification means that the therapist covered health and safety protocols during their training and that they are aware of the risks of the treatments and know how to minimise them. It also means that they aware of the necessary hygiene, cleanliness and sanitation.
Insurance also means that the therapist is aware of the scope of practice. Generally a therapist will only practice the treatments which they insured for, for example I am certified for Lymphatic drainage Massage however as am not insured for this, therefore I do not offer it as I would not be covered if anyone suffered from a reaction. I've known therapists who are insured to do nails but also offer facials using hand held machines with electrical currents on a clients face after buying it online despite having no clue about treatments and products for different skin types or reactions, or using MLM products where there is no product knowledge training or certification. Another example is teeth whitening , which many people don’t realise that it can only be done by a dentist or dental hygienist (https://www.dentalhealth.org/tooth-whitening-and-the-law) despite companies offering equipment and products to therapist, you will not be able to get any compensation should it go wrong.
Insurance also means that they will adhere to Health & Safety procedures as it will be condition in the terms. A therapist who is insured will most likely also be keeping up to date with changes in the industry. After all... Would you get on a bus if the driver didn't have a license to drive it? Probably not, but you expect the bus company to have performed due diligence and background checks before giving him the keys.
What can you do to protect yourself from 'Rogue' uninsured or unqualified therapists?
Please check that the therapist is insured for the treatments that they are offering no matter how small. Most 'Professional Therapists' will appreciate your due diligence as we pay a lot to get qualified, maintain our qualifications and to get insurance to cover them.
Check that the therapist in qualified to offer the treatment they providing, even if it’s a mini session. Again it isn't an insult to show respect for someone's qualifications by asking for proof (think about when you visit your Doctor's office, most likely he will have a copy of his Medical Degree on the wall in plain sight).
If the only way to contact them is via a generic or personal email and mobile number, please check their reviews and make sure that they are legitimate businesses or therapists.
When going for a facial with an unknown therapist at least get a copy of the consultation sheet showing what products have been used so you have some information should you get a reaction as these are unpredictable. In a worst case scenario, you may need to pass this information to your Doctor or Pharmacist.
It is your skin, your face, your eyes, so make sure you check out your therapist if you have any concerns as reactions can be life changing or at the very least ruin your Summer. Remember it is your right to ask to see a copy of their insurance and liability cover, check that they are insured for the service that they're offering to you.
Our industry is unregulated so most of us often have Professional Association which are voluntary memberships. These association memberships can only be obtained if you have done courses and case studies and proven your competency. They also keep us informed of changes in the industry, the law and products so that we can offer the best service to our customers. Not everyone has this, but is another check you can do to be safe.