Do you know what kind of skin professional to go and see for a microneedling treatment? This is a little more complex than you may realize due to several regulations and different rules in various states. Given the fact that microneedling devices operate beneath the skin where there are nerves and blood vessels, it is not a practice that all professionals can perform. You may be aware that many dermatologists can carry out this procedure, but what about estheticians? In most states throughout the United States, the answer is No.
Can Estheticians Do Microneedling Legally?
Most estheticians cannot perform microneedling, either because their state’s regulatory board won’t allow it or because they do not have a license to perform such procedures. Estheticians who are allowed to carry out medical procedures like microneedling have undergone training to learn how to perform the treatment properly.
However, estheticians working in states that allow them to learn about microneedling are still restricted once fully trained. FDA guidelines state that microneedle-trained estheticians can only use a microneedling device that is less than 0.3 mm and does not make medical claims. Even so, the esthetician still will most likely be required to perform the treatment under a supervising physician.
If a device is shorter than 0.3 mm and is being used in what is considered a medical treatment, even a licensed esthetician cannot perform the procedure.
What States Can Estheticians Do Microneedling?
In the last five years, several states have changed regulations around microneedling, declaring that it falls under the category of ‘medical procedures.’ This change means that many trained estheticians are no longer allowed to perform any kind of microneedling procedure, as they cannot, even with training, perform medical treatments.
This is the case in California, Illinois, and New York, which have changed these regulations recently, cracking down on some medical spa practices. Across many state regulatory boards, licensed estheticians can perform microneedling according to the 0.3 mm rule.
This includes Ohio, Washington, Texas, Indiana, Delaware, Arizona, Nebraska, and many more. If you want to know whether your state considers collagen induction therapy a medical treatment, you can check the American Med Spa Association website.
A microneedling procedure, also known as collagen induction therapy, is a minimally invasive treatment that can reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, acne scars, dark spots, and tired-looking skin. This procedure is most commonly performed on the face, although it can be used on other areas of the body.
During the procedure, tiny needles puncture the top layer of the skin, causing micro-injuries that stimulate the body to start healing, increasing collagen and elastin production in the dermis. The new outer layer of skin is firm, tight, and smooth, giving a more youthful and healthier appearance. This cosmetic procedure is most often carried out in a spa and under proper medical supervision.
The Role of Estheticians
Estheticians, often referred to as skin therapists, are trained and licensed professionals specializing in various non-invasive skin treatments. These professionals are most often found in salons and spas and can perform procedures such as:
- Skin Treatments
- Chemical Peels
- Custom skincare routine recommendations
- Hair removal
- Cleansing & Exfoliation
- Makeup Application
Qualifications and Training
Providing that an esthetician is working in a state that permits them to train to perform microneedling, they can take a short course to teach them how the microneedling process works. Several providers offer advanced training courses that include microneedling. It is important to note that microneedling doesn’t exist in any initial esthetician program that leads to state licensure.
How Microneedling Is Regulated
It is the FDA that regulates microneedling practices. Each state can make its own regulations around microneedling services, but ultimately, the FDA is the body that regulates this.
Given the level of regulation on microneedling, and with more regulatory boards determining that microneedling is more often medical-grade than not, we are seeing different techniques used that are less invasive.
The FDA makes the following distinction regarding microneedling products, asserting that if it “does not have longer needles or sharp needles that penetrate the skin and claims only to facilitate exfoliation of the skin or improve the appearance of the skin, ” it is not considered a medical device.
With estheticians restricted from performing medical procedures like microneedling treatments, many will offer services such as exfoliation and skin brightening using derma rollers. These products have small and blunt needles and are not considered medical equipment by the FDA.
There has also been an exciting breakthrough in this industry and the future looks to be radiofrequency microneedling. This non-invasive approach can offer faster and longer-lasting results and many medical spas are expected to offer this treatment in the coming years.
Regarding future regulations, the medical spa industry anticipates tighter regulations on microneedling treatments and who can perform them.
Choosing a Microneedling Provider
When choosing a provider, you should first understand who can offer this service in your state by checking with the American Med Spa Association. It’s also important to conduct your own research by reviewing a number of medical spas that perform microneedling by checking prices and patient testimonials before deciding which is best.
Before choosing a provider, visit your dermatologist or a qualified medical professional, especially if you have specific skin concerns or conditions. This will be beneficial to assessing the skin condition, receiving a personalized treatment plan, gaining medical clearance, receiving provider referrals, and advice around pre and post-treatment care.
Schedule consultations with several providers to discuss your specific needs and concerns. During the consultation, ask about their experience, the technique they use, and any potential risks or side effects.
Remember that microneedling is a minimally invasive procedure that should be performed by a trained and experienced professional in a sterile and safe environment. Taking the time to research and choose a qualified provider can help ensure you achieve the best possible results with minimal risks.
In recent years, regulatory measures from both the FDA and state governments have been implemented to safeguard the interests of both consumers and estheticians in the field of microneedling. This is a noteworthy development considering that microneedling, while minimally invasive, involves penetrating the skin’s upper layer to reach the living tissue and nerves beneath, making it imperative to prioritize safety and quality.
By adhering to these evolving regulations and staying informed about potential future changes, providers can deliver a higher standard of care and service to their clients, emphasizing the importance of responsible and safe microneedling practices. Adhering to the new regulations and those that may change in the future ensures a higher quality service for the client.