Consumer Safety-Aesthetic Services

A skin treatment or facial should be a safe and relaxing experience for everyone to indulge in. We would appreciate your assistance in keeping sanitation practices diligent and infection control practices followed by reporting unsanitary and unsafe conditions on our Consumer Complaint Form. We want to keep Nevada safe from any chance of bacterial skin infection and are thankful that Nevada has avoided these outbreaks. We want to keep it that way, but we need your help. We have an active public education campaign that highlights aesthetician salon safety, health, and infection control.

Aesthetics is one of nine individual branches of cosmetology licensed and regulated in Nevada by the Nevada State Board of Cosmetology. The other eight are Electrology, Cosmetic Demonstration, Makeup Artistry, Threading, Shampoo Technology, Hair Braiding, Hair Design, and Nail Technology. We also license Cosmetologists, who are authorized to practice all branches of cosmetology (except electrology and threading).

Aesthetics is the practice of performing facials, applying makeup, providing skin care services, or beautifying the skin of the human body by use of cosmetic preparations, antiseptics, tonics, lotions, or creams. It also includes applying eyelashes or removing hair by tweezing, depilatories, or waxing. It is illegal for aestheticians to pierce the skin during any service or to administer any medications for pain control. In Nevada, aesthetics services may be legally performed only by state-licensed cosmetologists and aestheticians in state-licensed salons.

Aestheticians are licensed practitioners who may provide the following services in a licensed salon:

(a) Beautifying, massaging, cleansing or stimulating the skin of the human body by the use of cosmetic preparations, antiseptics, tonics, lotions or creams, or any device, electrical or otherwise, for the care of the skin

(b) Applying cosmetics or eyelashes to any person, tinting eyelashes and eyebrows, and lightening hair on the body

(c) Removing superfluous hair from the body of any person by the use of depilatories, waxing, tweezers or sugaring

Look for Licenses

Salons are required to post the salon license in plain view of the public. Aestheticians are required to display a license in plain view of the public at the station where the aesthetician performs his or her work. These licenses must be posted in public view and the licenses must be originals, not a photocopies. The license issued by the Nevada State Board of Cosmetology has the name and recent photo of the licensee printed on the license.

Under Nevada State law, it is illegal for a salon or individual to offer services without a license.

Choosing a Salon

The simplest and best way to find a reputable salon is to ask friends, family, or coworkers. Ask them if they are satisfied with the services they receive. Whether you select a licensed professional through word of mouth or by advertising, or just take a chance on a new salon, take the time to ask about the licensed professional’s experience with all the services that interest you. Seek their professional opinion, but don’t let that be the final word. If you don’t feel comfortable with what the licensed professional suggests, don’t feel pressured to get the service at that time. A second opinion can be just as important here as in other areas of your life.

Safety in the Aesthetician’s Salon

If a salon or an individual won’t show you their license(s), the shop is not complying with the Board’s guidelines. If the individual licensee doesn’t show you a license, you can’t tell if he or she has had the required training to provide the service without harm to you. For your protection, check out the licenses. If you don’t see them and they aren’t shown to you when you ask, walk out and find another salon.

Chemical exfoliation (also known as “skin peels”) is a process by which layers of facial skin are removed with commercially available products. Various acids are applied to the face for a few minutes a day over several days. The skin reddens as if sunburned, then darkens and peels away, revealing a layer of sensitive, new skin. Recovery time varies from days to weeks or even longer, depending upon the depth of the peel. Chemical exfoliation is done to smooth wrinkles, reduce scars and blotchy areas, and improve the overall appearance of normal skin.

In Nevada, chemical exfoliation services may be legally performed only by state-licensed physicians, plastic surgeons, and dermatologists. Cosmetologists and aestheticians in state-licensed salons are NOT permitted to perform chemical exfoliation.

NOTE: The chemicals used by physicians are usually stronger than those used in salons and penetrate deeper layers of the skin. Only over the counter (OTC) strength chemicals should be used by aestheticians. Any prescription strength skin product should be used only by medical professionals.

Chemical exfoliation is not the same as “deep cleaning” facials, also known as masks or facial packs. Deep cleaning facials simply clean the pores and slough off dead surface cells, leaving the skin in a softer condition. Nevada State Board of Cosmetology licensees are restricted by law to the use of commercially available (prepackaged) products designed for removing only the uppermost (dead) layers of the skin. Any service requiring greater skin penetration must be done by a medical practitioner. Cosmetologists and aestheticians are prohibited by law from mixing or combining skin removal products, unless specifically required by the manufacturer’s directions on the commercially available (prepackaged) product.

Because of the potential for skin damage during any improperly performed service, it is essential to be absolutely sure that your skin care practitioner is well-trained and licensed. Before you schedule any procedure, follow these tips:

● Ask for names of satisfied customers who have received this procedure. Call them (or have them call you) and ask if they were satisfied with the service and if there were any complications.

● Ask what changes will occur in your skin during each phase of the procedure and how it will feel. Ask to be shown actual photographs (not just advertising brochures) of the licensee’s clients during the various phases of the exfoliation service.

● Thoroughly discuss all aspects of the procedure with your practitioner, especially safety issues, hazards, skin types, and any conditions that may increase risks. If you have any doubts about the procedure or about your skin care practitioner’s abilities, do not have the service performed.

● Advise the operator of all medications you are taking, particularly Accutane(r), Retin A(r), or any other acne medications.

● Ask to see the product to be used, and find out if it is a commercially prepared product. Ask if the licensee will be mixing any chemicals before they are applied to the skin. If in doubt, ask to see a copy of the product manufacturer’s instructions.

● Call your doctor immediately after the procedure if you experience any symptoms that are more severe than those explained to you by the licensee. If you have to seek medical attention, take photos of the affected area as proof in case it turns out you have been harmed.

Exposed skin season is year round in Nevada, and you may be tempted to rush to your favorite salon so that your skin will look its best. But it’s important to be vigilant as you sit in the aesthetician’s chair or lay on a treatment table — your health and safety may depend on it. Spas and salons are where we go to feel relaxed and pampered — stress and worry are not supposed to be part of the picture, especially when the concern is infection, which is exactly what can happen if these facilities don’t maintain sanitary conditions as required by health and safety regulations. Lurking on the surfaces may be bacteria, fungal strains, and even far more dangerous microorganisms. If open sores or skin wounds are present (including insect bites, scratches, scabbed-over wounds, or any condition that weakens the skin barrier) this gives the germs a pathway into the body.

The Nevada State Board of Cosmetology has found that the most common violations found in aesthetic salons include:

● Not posting safety rules conspicuously.

●Not totally immersing tools in disinfectant registered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with demonstrated bactericidal, fungicidal, and virucidal activity.

● Not disinfecting all non-electrical instruments.

● Not covering disinfectant solution nor changing it often enough.

● Not placing used instruments in properly labeled containers.

● Not storing cleaned instruments in properly labeled containers.

Aesthetic Pointers

Here are some tips from the Board to help insure you have a satisfying and safe aesthetic experience:

● Do a visual check of the salon: Look at the general cleanliness of the salon. Floors, walls, counters, and chairs should be clean and in good condition. Are towels scattered around the salon? Soiled towels must be stored in a labeled container and not used until properly laundered and sanitized. Clean towels need to be stored in a closed, clean cabinet. Is there an accumulation of waste? Avoid any salon that is visibly dirty.

●Disease and infection: If you have some sort of infectious disease, stay home. Salons are prohibited from knowingly serving clients with infectious or communicable conditions.

●Illegal tools: No razor-edged tool or other device can be used to remove calluses, skin tags, or moles. Callus, skin tag, and mole removal should not be performed by an aesthetician, but rather a qualified medical professional. Salon professionals, while skilled and trained in skin care, may never perform any act that affects the structure or function of living tissue of the face or body.

●Cleaning and storage: Tools that can be disinfected must be cleaned with soap or detergent and water and then completely immersed in an EPA-registered disinfectant. Containers need to be large enough so that all non-electrical items being disinfected can be thoroughly and completely immersed in disinfectant. The disinfectant solution must remain covered at all times and be changed at least once a week or whenever it is visibly cloudy or dirty. Tools that have been used on a client or soiled in any manner must be stored in a container clearly marked as “soiled” or “dirty.” Disinfected tools must be stored in a clean, covered place and labeled “clean.”

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What are some services that aestheticians cannot provide?

A: Some services that aestheticians cannot provide are:

1. Skin Piercing

2. Laser Treatments

3. Administration of Medication(s) for Any Reason

4. Skin peels

5. Removal of Moles, Skin Tags, etc.

6. Injection of any substance (Botox, vitamins, etc.)


Q: What is a skin tag?

A: Skin tags are common skin growths that look like a small piece of soft hanging skin.


Q: What is a mole?

A: A mole is a small spot on the skin that is usually dark-colored and raised.


Q: Who can perform skin tag or mole removal?

A: Only licensed physicians can perform skin tag/mole removals. Skin tag/mole removal is considered an invasive procedure and therefore licensed cosmetologists, barbers, nail technicians, aestheticians, and electrologists are PROHIBITED from removing skin tags and moles.


Q: Can skin tags/moles be removed in a aesthetician’s salon?

A: No, the removal of skin tags/moles is considered a medical and invasive procedure. This type of service can not be offered in an establishment licensed by the Nevada State Board of Cosmetology.


Q: Where should I go to have a skin tag/mole removed?

A: The Nevada State Board of Cosmetology highly encourages you to contact a licensed physician to have this type of service performed. Individuals licensed by the Board of Cosmetology have not received training in this type of service and are strictly prohibited from performing this service.


NOTE: The Board cannot recommend a business, product, or resolve complaints that are not related to health, safety, or unsafe practices.


Need to file a consumer complaint? Please complete the online Consumer Complaint Form.