Is Electrolysis a CQC 'Regulated Activity'? The Answer is No

Lorna Jackson
By Lorna Jackson

Lorna was Editor of Consulting Room (www.consultingroom.com), the UK's largest aesthetic information website, from 2003 to 2021.


Recently we added a new Treatment FAQ to The Consulting Room for Advanced Electrolysis, also now called Advanced Cosmetic Procedures (ACP).

ACP uses either Short Wave Diathermy (High Frequency A/C) or Blend (a mixture of A/C and D/C currents) to treat unwanted skin blemishes, such as warts, skin tags, moles and other benign growths, as well as thread veins and vascular conditions with no mark left on the skin. This is an advanced technique from that of using Electrolysis for hair removal.

The inclusion of this FAQ caused much debate amongst aesthetic industry participants via the social media platform Twitter with regards to just who should be doing this type of procedure, as some Beauty Therapists are being trained in these advanced techniques and also whether or not it needed to be performed in a Care Quality Commission (CQC) registered clinic setting. Many described it as a minor surgical procedure due to the reduction is size and appearance of many types of skin lesions which results from the treatment, which they believed was registerable with the CQC.

This blog is aimed at clearing up this confusion for all.

In the CQC’s own documentation on what it refers to as ‘regulated activities’ it states in relation to the regulated activity of Surgical Procedures;

 

This regulated activity covers:

  • Surgical procedures for the purpose of treating disease, disorder or injury; or cosmetic surgery;

And

  • the procedures are carried out by a healthcare professional.

 

However, minor surgical procedures are not captured if they are:

  • Undertaken by a medical practitioner and the minor procedures are limited to:
    • curettage (scraping), cautery (burning) or cryocautery (freezing) of warts, verrucae or other skin lesions, and
    • are carried out using local anaesthesia (or no anaesthesia).

 

Cosmetic surgery is not defined separately but the procedures that are captured by this regulated activity include those described as being for cosmetic purposes if they involve the insertion of instruments or other equipment into the body. For the avoidance of doubt, the activity does not include:

  • Piercing
  • Tattooing
  • Subcutaneous injections to enhance appearance (i.e. dermal fillers)
  • Removal of hair or minor skin blemishes by application of heat using an electric current.

 

Hence, it can be concluded based on the CQC’s own document that the practice of ACP is not a regulated activity in their eyes and does not need to be performed in a CQC-registered clinic. We would however urge anyone considering this treatment to verify the advanced training qualifications of a practitioner offering this service and seek medical advice from a GP, Cosmetic Doctor or Dermatologist referral if they are concerned about a skin blemish in order to obtain a correct diagnosis before treatment.

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