Beauty industry calls for more regulation and stricter requirements

Committee of companies calls on government to act to ensure practitioners are qualified to work

PUBLISHED : Friday, 20 December, 2013, 4:29am
UPDATED : Friday, 20 December, 2013, 4:29am

Six beauty companies that employ almost half of the industry's 26,000 practitioners are urging the government to impose more regulation on the trade.

Among their demands are the introduction of a standardised and compulsory licensing exam for certain hi-tech beauty devices, and the establishment of an authority similar to the Travel Industry Council to better supervise the industry.

"Without a compulsory licensing exam, customers have no way of knowing if the beautician providing the treatment is qualified or not," said Nelson Ip Sai-hung, secretary of the Beauty Industry Reform Research and Development Committee and founding chairman of the Federation of Beauty Industry.

In October 2012, the local beauty trade went into a tailspin after blood transfusion therapy conducted at a local salon left one woman dead and three others critically ill.

Following the tragedy, the government set up a steering committee to review the regulation of private health-care facilities in the city.

A consensus has not yet been reached on how to distinguish between medical procedures and cosmetic services.

The joint committee established by the six companies yesterday recommended a licensing exam system that would test if practitioners, regardless of their professional background, had the required skills to operate certain hi-tech beauty devices.

The industry group also proposed that beauticians, once they had completed training and been awarded licences, should be allowed to conduct beauty treatments classified as high-risk medical procedures - such as injections or chemical peels.

In response, the Food and Health Bureau said it would focus on improving the current system. The bureau would assess ideas such as setting up an authority to regulate the beauty industry only when it was in a position "to fully assess the impact and effectiveness of the various measures" to be put forward by the government for public consultation.