Why IPL isn't banned yet

Laser treatments could become a problem for cosmetic companies

Topic of the month


The use of strong light sources in cosmetics is associated with health risks. A survey on behalf of the Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS) showed that permanent side effects such as scars occurred in almost a fifth of the treatments. Another two fifths had at least temporary side effects.

Intensive sources of optical radiation such as lasers or strongly pulsed light sources (IPL) are used in cosmetics primarily for the treatment of pigment disorders, for the removal of uneven skin or for permanent hair removal. Tattoos are also removed with the help of lasers.

The legislature has now reacted with a change in the area of ​​radiation protection.

Article 4 on page 255 or § 5 on page 259 is relevant there. The Federal Council passed a resolution with minor changes. The decisive changes in relation to our question can be found in the also attached minutes of the meeting on section 55 on page 38 and read as follows:

"(1) The necessary specialist knowledge for the use of laser devices and intensive light sources is acquired through successful participation in a training course in accordance with Appendix 3 Part A in conjunction with Appendix 3 Part B and Part C or from licensed doctors through appropriate medical training. "

From this it can be seen that the ordinance clearly distinguishes between medical users who are licensed and who have also undergone further training and non-medical users who must have undergone a training course specified in the ordinance. If we consider the training content, which is broken down in Appendix 3, Parts A, B, C, it results that the acquisition of specialist knowledge in the field of cosmetics for the use of laser devices requires training of 80 school hours in the field of basics of the skin and its appendices (GK) and 120 School hours in the field of optical radiation (OS) are required and sufficient. The contents of the modules can also be found in the descriptions of modules B (GK) and C (OS) in the ordinance on pages 267 and 268 currently not clear. Only the ordinance stipulates that the GK module is equivalent to the content of the training or, for example, with the completion of a state-recognized training as a beautician.

On the other hand, according to my current understanding, paragraph 2 of the provision determines cases in which, despite the existing training, only suitable medical persons are allowed to work and thus again restricts paragraph 1. Paragraph 2 reads as follows:

(2) Ablative laser applications or applications that violate the integrity of the epidermis as a protective barrier, the treatment of vascular changes and of
pigmented skin changes, the removal of tattoos or permanent make-up as well as applications with optical radiation, the effects of which are not limited to the skin and its appendages, such as fat tissue reduction, may only be carried out by licensed doctors with appropriate medical training or advanced training .

It is not yet possible to determine which area of ​​application is currently still available for non-medical users with appropriate training with regard to the regulation in paragraph 2.

In any case, if the changes made by the Federal Council to the draft are approved by the Federal Cabinet, which is likely to be assumed, the ordinance will come into force with a transitional period on December 31, 2020, so that from January 1, 2021 onwards, the same procedure may only be used. Violations can result in a fine of up to € 50,000.00.

If you have any questions, please contact the legal department of your Chamber of Crafts.

Federal Council Decision 423-18, October 19, 2018


Source: Mannheim Chamber of Crafts