State looking to review regulation of laser use in medical spas

SALEM, Ore. – The State of Oregon will examine regulations for lasers in so-called “medical spas” with a focus on customer safety. The KATU Problem Solvers learned about the review a week after revealing the state attorney general’s office received multiple complaints against local medical spa Forever Young.

A spokesman for the Oregon Health Licensing Agency said the aesthetics industry is developing quickly and the current rules are not clear enough to deal with the new devices and technology showing up in spas.

One area of concern is training. For example, three lawsuits against Forever Young in the past year make claims that the business failed to properly train its laser technicians. The suits also claim Forever Young failed to administer laser procedures properly and safely.

Each suit claims customers were injured by the technician.

Forever Young client Mistee Thomas said her leg was burned when a technician used a laser to erase a spider vein.

The OHLA says there is no current standard for training estheticians on lasers in Oregon. That’s one of many regulations the agency wants to clarify or strengthen.

“I think the main goal is to narrow the gray area and provide specific, concrete directions to both consumers and practitioners on this evolving, dynamic industry,” said Kraig Bohot with the OHLA.

Bohot said currently there is only a general rule saying laser manufacturers must show technicians how to use the device.

“Training is very important, particularly if you’re using lasers or any type of device where there’s risk involved,” he said.

Bohot said that any level of training provided by manufacturers is currently acceptable.

“That could be any number of hours. It could be minutes,” he said.

Estheticians are currently required to get 250 hours of education to get a license. That’s 100 hours less than nail technicians. Hair design specialists are required to get 1,450 hours of education.

We reached out to Forever Young to get their take on the issue. A company spokeswoman said she would sit down with KATU News next week and show all of their certification and their training processes.

On their website, Forever Young says “we stay informed about the newest and greatest training in our market.”

The attorney working on the three lawsuits we mentioned said the suits were all settled out of court, but did not elaborate.