Will 2019 Be The Year New York Regulates Laser Hair Removal?

Posted By American Med Spa Association, Wednesday, January 23, 2019

A new bill introduced in New York provide for the regulation and licensure or laser hair removal (LHR) in New York. Presently LHR is unregulated in New York and anyone may perform LHR without any training or education. The Bill is filed in the New York Assembly by members Amy Paulin and Robin Schimminger and has been initially referred to the Committee on Economic Development for further discussion. You can review the text of Assembly Bill 821 (AB 821) in full here
AB 821 defines LHR to include both the use of lasers and pulsed light when used to remove hair but not remove the epidermis. The bill would consider these types of procedures to be part of the practice of “Esthetics” and regulate them under the Division of Licensing Services a division of the Department of State. AB 821 would create a sub-specialty within the esthetician license known as a “Laser Hair Removal Technician.” A person holding the LHR Technician license would be able to perform laser and light based LHR procedures but not any other esthetician services unless they were separately licensed as a full esthetician. 
AB 821 would require the adoption of rules and standards for the licensure and practice of LHR technicians and LHR facilities. These rules must at a minimum contain 1) a registration fee, 2) a minimum age requirement, 3) a minimum number of hours of training needed, 4) a minimum number of supervised procedures to be performed on volunteers needed, and 5) requirements for ongoing certification by a nationally accredited organization. Importantly AB 821 gives the Department the option to waive training and education requirements for current estheticians who are already performing LHR.  These current LHR practicing estheticians would still need to pass an approved competency exam to gain the new LHR technician license.  However if allowed this would substantially reduce the costs for estheticians to continue their services and comply with the new regulations.
LHR businesses under the bill would need to maintain a minimum of $1 million in liability insurance, have a certified “Laser Safety Officer”, and a consulting physician familiar with lasers. The consulting physician will need to annually audit the policies and procedures of the business and be available throughout the year to consult on client complications. If LHR is being performed at a medical practice then the practice would be exempted from needing the laser safety officer and consulting physician.
Most other states treat LHR along with other laser and light based procedures as medical procedures which need to be performed under a physician’s delegation and supervision. A few states in recent years have begun to treat LHR as a separate professional license that can be performed independently from a physician. In that sense AB 821 would take New York from regulatory outlier to trend leading in a single step.
We will be monitoring AB 821 as it works its way through New York’s legislative process this year. If you would like to contact AB 821’s sponsors, they can be reached via their official webpages for Paulin and  Schimminger.