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Microneedling and Topical Anaesthetics – The Law

Scores of therapists and salons still use illegal topical anaesthetics to numb the skin during procedures such as microneedling. Some councils have begun licensing their use, and checking on individual salons, to ensure compliancy.

Professional Beauty, an industry leader, said in 2019, that some therapists are abandoning microneedling treatments. New rules from some local authorities say they cannot sell or apply anaesthetic to their clients prior to microneedling.

Although I am in Scotland, and some local authorities do not yet require licensing for skin needling, it’s important to realise that almost all of our insurance companies are based in England. We are required to follow their rules. The problem would occur if a therapist or salon owner either applied or supplied a topical anaesthetic which is classed as illegal and a reaction occurred.

Most therapists are not medically trained in complications management. Topical anaesthetic is covered under the Medicines Act. If there is a reaction to a topical anaesthetic, there is little to zero wiggle room for treatments for therapist and salon.

Salons and therapists are also not allowed to reuse any derma rollers. This still applies, even if the salon/therapist uses an autoclave to sterilise equipment. Microneedling is now required to be single use pen cartridge or derma roller only.

The actual boundaries are not 100% clear for self sourced anaesthetic by clients but what is, is that if a client has a reaction to an illegally sourced and applied anaesthetic, the therapist and salon will be fully liable. For many local authorities, the same applies to microblading and spmu therapists. Many brands and councils will now require a doctor or nurse to be on the premises and apply prescribed numbing cream.

The rules are varying, but only topical anaesthetic which is over the counter and used by the client themselves, is likely to be covered under insurance rules for therapists.

Microneedling Without Topical Anaesthetic

Salons without a doctor or nurse applying and being present during the treatment at all times, are putting themselves in a risky position. The rule of thumb is that if a therapist is not a doctor or nurse prescriber, they cannot properly supply and apply a topical anaesthetic.

What does this mean for microneedling? Not that much really. Yes, microneedling is a little uncomfortable for some of us, including me, but others hardly notice it and say it’s like tiny pinpricks.

Good things don’t always come in not so easy packages and not all good things feel incredibly great. The good thing about zero anaesthetic, is that the client (you) can feel any part of the skin where the sensation alters. This allows the therapist to stop if an area feels numb, and stops the treatment from causing any damage to the skin.

Microneedling Protocol

  • For the face, depths of up to 1mm is a maximum for most brands during treatments. Brands will usually state their maximum depths.
  • The maximum body depth for microneedling for most treatments is 1.5mm.
  • Microneedling will not be carried out where there are any active breakouts, cuts or abrasions on the skin.
  • At depths of 0.25 – 0.5 on the face, there is little sensation or pain. At 1mm, the sensation may be unpleasant, however pain is not significant.
  • On the body, a little discomfort may be felt at depths of 1.5mm.
  • If unsure, it might be a good idea to begin treatments with a shallow depth, and increase as treatments progress.

Million Dollar Facial depths for Microneedling and Mesotherapy, are a maximum of 1mm for the face, and 1.5mm for the body.

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