Since 2010 cosmetic laser and intense light treatments have been deregulated in England. Only certain light-based treatments, including those involving invasive laser surgery by healthcare professionals, remain in regulation.

Providers of laser and intense light treatments in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland will continue to be regulated under existing Care Standards Act legislation in those jurisdictions.

Provision of purely cosmetic (non-surgical) treatments in England does not require registration with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) under the Health and Social Care Act 2008. Only qualified healthcare professionals (as defined under the new act) will be required to register with the CQC, if they treat “disease, disorder or injury”.

Cosmetic providers in the London Boroughs are controlled under the London Local Authorities Act 1991. Similar provisions exist in Nottinghamshire (Nottinghamshire Act 1985) and boroughs in South Essex (Essex Act 1987). The local borough is empowered to issue ‘Special Treatment Licenses’ for laser and intense light users and Environmental Health Inspectors may audit premises and enforce legislation under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.  Thus, users and intending providers of cosmetic laser and intense light treatments such as hair and tattoo removal, skin rejuvenation, skin blemishes associated with acne, pigment blemishes and thread veins, can expect their local Borough Environmental Health Department to be contacting them to ensure that they are compliant with Special Treatments Licensing requirements. Any Local Authority in England enforcing the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and The Control of Artificial Optical Radiation at Work Regulations 2010 can use their existing powers with non-surgical laser and intense light providers to ensure conformity.

If you use lasers and/or intense light systems in your premises, you will need the help of a Laser Protection Adviser (LPA) to comply with standards and regulations.