Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation


For Immediate Release:
December 15, 2010

State Warns Holiday Shoppers to Remember: Safety First


Many Day and Med-Spa Treatments Need Doctor Supervision


December 15, 2010, Chicago – For many, spa treatments have become an important part of prepping for holiday parties or tropical vacations and are an increasingly popular gift for loved ones and family members.   Unfortunately, the growth in popularity of spas has also resulted in a growing number of reports of infections or injuries caused by untrained or unsupervised attendants performing what, in some cases, are actually medical procedures.

Many treatments offered at day and med-spas can be performed by a licensed cosmetologist or esthetician.  However, treatments that affect layers of skin below the surface or treatments that affect other soft tissues of the body, or which are injected (Botox) or removed from the body (liposuction) are medical procedures which require direct medical supervision.  Illinois law allows physicians to delegate the actual treatment to an appropriately trained staff member, but that delegation requires a physician or other licensed health care provider designated by a physician to provide direct, on-site supervision.  Other treatments requiring physician supervision are: chemical peels and some microdermabrasion peels, laser hair or tattoo removal, wrinkle or line removal, treatment of skin discoloration, varicose vein or broken capillary treatments, laser skin tightening and a variety of other treatments that affect tissues below the surface of the skin.

“Before purchasing a gift certificate or booking a day at the spa, potential clients need to research the facility and ask questions to make sure that a day of pampering does not lead to problems resulting from inappropriate or dangerous treatments,” said Donald W. Seasock, Acting Director, Division of Professional Regulation. “If the treatment involves medical procedures, the client should ask:  Will qualified medical personnel examine the client prior to the treatment? Who will determine what treatment is appropriate? Who will provide the treatment?”

To ensure that visitors to Illinois day and med-spas have positive experiences, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) recently conducted compliance examinations at 11 day and med spas throughout the state.  It found that, while some spas provided treatments that were appropriate for the client and properly supervised by physicians, many spas did not meet these standards.  Investigators sometimes found that physicians were not available for consultation or supervision, staff were not appropriately trained or licensed, and treatments that were recommended were inappropriate or sometimes unnecessary or even dangerous.  The department is following its initial compliance examinations with full-scale investigations at several of these spas to enforce compliance with State standards.