Clinic vs Beauty Salon

To help my clients understand why Aesthetic Clinics are able to open whilst Beauty Salons cannot, please read the following article by Alison Taylor Medical Cosmetics on 29 June 2020.

Taken from Original article: “Distinct differences between beauty therapists/beauty salons and Aesthetic Clinics as written by Chérie Scanlon RGN, NIP, BSc (Hons), HV, PGCert. Aesthetic Nurse Prescriber.


This statement is based on, and the article includes statements made on a public release by Emma Davies, Save Face June 2020

We have already been advised by the Department of Health that:

‘Services which involve healthcare need to take into account any advice or guidance issued by regulators, the relevant professional body, Chief Professional Officers, or the NHS, as appropriate

The Department of Health cannot provide comments on individual cases of whether or not a business is permitted to open. It is for each business to assess whether they are a business exempt from closing having considered the Regulations, which can be found here:

Public Health England

As a health care professional, I am capable of assessing and implementing appropriate precautions. My particular profession has not been specified but now that the public can get their hair cut, I cannot see any risks greater than those presented in a hair salon, that I cannot manage in compliance with PHE guidelines and my Professional Standards:

  • the Code of Conduct of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC),
  • British Association of Cosmetic Nurses (BACN), and
  • Save Face.

The fact that we are not included on the ‘must remain closed’ list means that I am not in fear of breaching the legislation. I am quite clear that my practice is not a salon, spa or nail bar.

This does not, however, represent a return to ‘business as usual’; a great deal of preparation and changes to the normal patient journey have been made (as per the Covid protocols I have prepared) and I am very comfortable now, that I can see patients again, with a restriction in treatments without any reservations.

Everyone has been thrown a loop by the latest changes in the lockdown measures. In the medical cosmetics industry, we have all been hanging on for 4th July, because we’ve been wedded to the notion that is when salons can open (non-essential personal care). WE can open.

I have never aligned myself to salons and personal care. Since June, I have shared the communication my professional bodies have had with the Government – the decision when to open has been left in our own hands- with reference to:

  • PHE guidelines
  • The Covid-19 legislation
  • Advice from Professional Bodies

Until now, I have felt that clinics were in a position to risk assess and provide a safe environment for patients to have their treatments, the only sticking points remained whether the public, who were still being advised only to leave the house for essential reasons – can I argue these are essential treatments for ALL my patients (personally, I couldn’t at that time, so chose to remain closed), and also insurance- insurers were leaning on ambiguity which was a little unnerving.

I see the lifting of numerous restrictions and in particular the green light to go to the hairdressers as a clear basis for me to open.

I am NOT a salon, a nail bar, or a spa. I am not on the exemption list in the legislation. As far as risk is concerned, my service represents a lower risk than a hair salon with no hairdryers or brooms sweeping, no lengthy appointments (for the limited treatments I’m planning to offer), no instruments I need to reuse, experience in infection control as a matter of daily protocols etc..

Why hairdressers and not salons? That’s because there are so many various treatments provided by beauty salons; facials, massage, waxing instruments and lotions and potions that are not single-use etc. I suspect it will be sometime before there are sufficient risk assessments and protocols in place for salons to follow consistently for the wide variety of personal treatments they offer.

In nail bars, spas and gyms the risks are obvious.

No organisation or body is going to tell us as Medical Aesthetics Clinics when to open but Save Face, Department of Health, Public Health England and others have given us guidance on how to do so safely.

Nothing in the legislation now prevents me from doing so, providing I can evidence, if needed, all the measures required by my professional body, by PHE, and in your patients’ best interests.

So after much document and policy searching and discussions with my professional colleagues and bodies, I have after all decided to open on 6 July.

This hasn’t been an easy decision to make hence this statement.

I am not a beauty salon, spa or nail bar and as such am not aligned to their rules as they offer multiple close contact and lengthy services which carry numerous and differing risk factors from my services. (Facials, waxing, massage, re-usable products and creams, broom sweeping of hair, to name a few). With the lift from 4 July for hair salons, I see it reasonable for my medical trained services to be cleared.

Please see this full statement comparing beauty and clinics to clarify this difference: Clinic vs Beauty Salon

I am offering ONE service which involves full infection control procedures, full PPE and still distanced except just under 3 feet during injection for a maximum of 10 minutes.

My other reasonings are:

  • I can carry out professional risk assessments as per my professional health care training
  • I am experienced and trained in medical infection control measures as a matter of course
  • I am offering one treatment only – upper face Botox – which carries little / no risk
  • I have sought the advice of other medical colleagues
  • I am supported by my national bodies
  • Contact is limited to max 10 minutes and with full PPE which minimises risk
  • All clinic Covid protocols have been implemented and will be reviewed
  • Insurance companies are less ambiguous now and will cover with our medical training and protocols
    I hope this reassures you that you are in safe and legal hands and I look forward to seeing you

As the situation changes, I will be reviewing and updating all risk assessments.

I just hope there is not a surge in cases and lockdown measures are reversed between now and July.

I hope this clarifies the situation which has been very challenging to face for all of us.