ASCP Skin Deep

July/August 2013

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ascp and you: finer points Buying Esthetics Equipment What's Worth the Money? by Susanne Schmaling It's trade-show season, when many readers will have their attention drawn to the newest technology. If you are like most estheticians, at some point in your career you caught the shopping frenzy and spent money on something that excited you—only to get it back to your treatment room and realize it was outside your scope of practice, not covered by insurance, or required additional training. Esthetics equipment is usually a big investment, so it's important to do the research before putting your hardearned money down for a new machine. Questions to Ask Yourself 1. What is the intended use? Look at the manufacturer's description of what the device is for, and cut it down to the most basic answer. Removal of skin growths? Dermal penetration of products? Permanently reversing (rather than just improving) the signs of aging? Anything that removes live tissue or alters the structure of the skin will be considered a medical procedure by state boards and insurance companies. 2. What does it do to the skin? Once you've considered the end result, ask yourself what process happens within the skin to create that result. How far into the skin does the technology penetrate? If anything is happening beyond the epidermis, you can bet you are beyond your scope of practice. 3. What is my scope of practice? Every state has different rules, and some states will not give you an official, written answer about a specific make or model of device. In this case, it's up to you to understand your scope in sufficient depth to get an idea of whether a particular modality is acceptable. There are two different components of scope of practice: laws (also called "statutes" or "acts") and rules (also called "regulations" or "code"). Laws are passed by legislators, with public process; rules are added by state boards and other administrative agencies to provide more detail on how to interpret the law. Check both areas to see how they might apply to your planned new modality. 34ASCP Skin Deep SkinDeep_JA_2013.indd 34 4. What is the cost per treatment? This question is often overlooked by those in the grip of trade-show excitement. Just because a salesperson says you can charge $150 per treatment doesn't mean clients will be willing to pay that much. Decide what you would charge and how many clients per month you can realistically expect to see at that rate (base this estimate on your knowledge of your own clientele, not what the salesperson tells you). How long will it take you to recoup the purchase price of the equipment? Questions to Ask the Salesperson 1. Is the equipment CE, CSA, or UL listed? For devices that use electricity, this is an important safety indicator. Conformité Européene (CE), Canadian Standard Association (CSA), and Underwriters Laboratory (UL) are the three main bodies providing international safety certifications for electrical equipment. UL has the most rigorous testing standards. 2. IS IT FDA-REGISTERED? Machines that impact the function of the body (beyond cosmetic purposes) must be registered by the manufacturer with the Food & Drug Administration (FDA). If the salesperson says the device is FDAapproved, ask for the registration number. Remember FDA approval only means the device is not harmful; it does not guarantee the device actually does what it claims. July/August 2013 5/15/13 4:25 PM

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