It is undeniable that the cosmetic industry has become a multi-million-dollar entrepreneurial industry.

Non-surgical procedures are a burgeoning area of activity due to IPL/laser hair removal, microdermabrasion, light/medium skin peels, RF treatments, dermal needling, dermal fillers and the like being performed in both medical practitioners` rooms and beauty salons. Without doubt, this is a rapidly growing and changing industry which is difficult to quantify.

Rapid and ad-hoc growth has opened the way for unregulated practices and some questionable methods of promotion, posing ethical dilemmas for the cosmetic industry and the consumer.

It is a common belief within the cosmetic industry that there is a need for a clear distinction of professional qualification. Introduction of new technology combined with the services offered by therapists has become more sophisticated and there is constant continuation of advancement. This in itself can present a higher risk to the public as these performed treatments are becoming more invasive.

Qualified therapists are vigilant in establishing treatment programs in age management, skin disorders and pre and post-operative care programs. They have recognised knowledge to provide educational advice that will ensure risk reduction and deliver treatment optimisation, where as someone who does not hold a qualification is at high risk of causing adverse reactions.

It is known that invasive treatments that can cause inflammation are being performed by non-qualified people which have caused physical responses requiring medical treatment. It is therefore imperative that such treatments are delivered by a qualified therapist who will be able to not only deliver professional treatment but also provide advice regarding post care treatments. This is a clear example of how the study undertaken by the professional therapist has led to the endorsement of their abilities to soundly support the cosmetic and medical industry.

Qualified therapists are educated in recognising disease of the skin and how such diseases have developed and the ongoing care in response to such diseases. They are highly educated in wound repair and have the skills to provide treatments that assist and support the healing process. Because of their education in wound management, therapists are able to assist in treatments that will reduce scar tissue formation which in turn optimises the phases of wound repair while improving healing time. Therapists understand the mechanism of the immune system and have the education to be able to provide treatments such as Manual Lymphatic Drainage that assists in maintaining body health – just one example a professional therapist can offer.

Therapists are taught Anatomy and Physiology, they are taught to recognise and understand skin disorders from a scientific perspective in order to correct it and they know the correct procedures to follow.

The future will see therapists who hold a Health Science degree in Aesthetics working in collaboration with other professionals such as Dermatologists, Plastic Surgeons and Cosmetic Doctors. This will see society viewing qualified therapists as part of the medical process.

In an industry that is ever changing, the need for a qualification is essential. Visiting a qualified therapist will ensure the treatments provided are of a very high standard in order to provide a positive and safe outcome.

Gay Wardle is a Senior Lecturer at Torrens University Australia, teaching the Bachelor of Health Science (Aesthetics).

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