Beauty Clinics a Misnomer

Beauty Clinics a MisnomerBeauty Clinics a Misnomer

Over the past few years, numerous “beauty clinics” have mushroomed in the capital Tehran, and other bigger cities, offering packages in skin, hair and even fitness care, albeit at high costs.

To attract customers, the clinics even offer tempting discounts for different occasions or make use of photos and names of celebrities.

However, calling them clinics is a misnomer as it would suggest that the work undertaken at these places involves medical procedures which apparently must be conducted under the supervision of the Ministry of Health.

The head of the Treatment Supervision Office at the Health Ministry claims that no such term like ‘beauty clinic’ exists in its statutes and centers providing such services are referred to as ‘skin beauty institute’ or ‘skin and hair clinic.’    

In response to a query by the Persian weekly ‘Salamat’ about the terms and conditions to obtain a permit to open such clinics, Hussein Mirdehghan said that based on the statute, the applicant must be a doctor and if a group of people apply, half of them should have some qualification in the medical sciences; and one among them should specifically be a doctor. In addition, another doctor must be appointed as technical manager.

The official stressed that the ministry does not issue license for non-physicians, but confirmed that a variety of violations exist.

“Unfortunately, we have not had adequate supervision of these institutes. The universities of medical sciences must keep a closer watch on their activities,” he said in the usual ‘blame game’ theatrics seen often times in different economic, social, political and cultural spheres.

 Many of the so called clinics offer a wide range of services from laser and Botulinum Toxin or Botox injection (which temporarily weakens or paralyzes the facial muscles and smoothes or eliminates wrinkles in the skin for a few months) to minor cosmetic surgeries, which require separate permits. Therefore, having a single license for a clinic does not guarantee safe or standard services.

Mirdehghan said the ministry’s statute defines a certain realm of activity for each profession which practitioners should abide.

“For instance, a dermatologist is permitted to work within the framework of his/her educational qualification and if these services are offered by a general physician, it is considered a breach of law and the institute can be shut down.”  He did not give numbers nor say how many if any had been prosecuted and shut down for breaking the law.

  Rules for Advertising

Advertising for any medical or paramedical services is bound by certain rules and regulations monitored by the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Medical Council (IRIMC). “Since a number of cosmetic treatments are considered medical, the clinics have to comply with the rules,” says Muhammad Jahangiri, deputy for supervision and planning affairs at the IRIMC.

He told Salamat that based on the regulations, using any name other than the one mentioned in the license, or photos of celebrities in advertisements is prohibited.  He added that actors cannot obtain a license to open a beauty clinic and therefore using their names is illegal too.

The senior official elaborated on the beauty services that come under the medical category. “Any surgical intervention, injection or laser treatment, all of which are categorized as medical practice, requires a special permit. On the other hand, any kind of cosmetic and sanitary practice like haircut, hair coloring and application of creams and other cosmetic products can be carried out by a hairdresser.”

Jahangiri referred to laser applications as an example of a beauty practice that only a medical practitioner is authorized to carry out.

“Unless applied scientifically, laser can have side effects which manifest in the long-term and can even trigger other diseases that require a physician’s attention.”

He advised the public to only refer to centers that have a license from the Health Ministry, as they are subject to closer supervision and, therefore, unprofessional and unethical practices at such centers are less likely.