The Netherlands awoke with a shock to some highly publicized cases of clients suffering second-degree burns from inadequate use of laser technology for hair removal in the beauty salon. Aestheticians are increasingly offering risky and sometimes irreversible skin-enhancing treatments. Because of the complexity and hazards of the beauty profession and its proximity at times to the domain of health care, it merits attention from bioethicists. This article presents an overview of ethical issues arising within the everyday practice of the beauty salon, based on discussions with aestheticians and a survey, and reports on the development of the world's first national ethics guidelines for aestheticians. Key recommendations pertain to age limits, informed consent, confidentiality, tensions arising from aestheticians' dual role as care providers and entrepreneurs, and the management of incidental findings. This article directs scholarly effort at ethical issues in the beauty salon, and invites further discussion of a hitherto underserved field.


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pp. 247-260
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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