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Ministry of Health

Personal Service Establishments (PSEs)

Updated Guidelines for Personal Service Establishments

A personal service establishment (PSE) is a business in which a person provides a personal service to or on the body of another person (e.g., an esthetician, tattoo artist or hair stylist). The use and diversity of personal services have increased, creating a need for guidance on how to conduct these services safely. (See below for information on tanning beds.)

Many personal service procedures have the potential to transmit viral infections such as hepatitis and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), as well as bacterial skin infections such as streptococcus and staphylococcus.

The updated Guidelines for Personal Service Establishments (PDF 956K) have been developed to help PSE operators prevent health hazards that may endanger or transmit infection to their clients or themselves. For a summary, see this fact sheet: Updated B.C. Guidelines for Personal Service Establishments (PDF 63K).

Note: Operators performing personal services to or on the body of another person within a health authority facility must comply with the provincial Best Practice Guidelines for Cleaning, Disinfection and Sterilization of Critical and Semi-critical Medical Devices.

The new Guidelines for Personal Services offered at Tradeshows (PDF 311K) have just been released. These guidelines clarify the expectations of PSE operators at tradeshows and give guidance on preventing health hazards. For a summary, see this fact sheet: New Guidelines for Personal Services offered at Tradeshows (PDF 72K).

Personal service procedures include, but are not limited to, those listed in the table below. The inclusion of any personal service in this table does not imply that the Ministry of Health or health authorities endorse these services as safe or useful — whether or not the PSE guidelines are followed.

Examples of Personal Services Carried Out by PSEs

Hair, Skin, Nails and Personal Wellness Body Modification
Aromatherapy Manicure Body piercing
Beauty parlour services Massage (excluding RMTs*) Ear piercing
Cosmetic laser services Microdermal abrasion Micropigmentation
Face painting Mud / steam bath Tattooing
Floatation tanks Pedicure Tattoo removal
Electrolysis Shaving  
Esthetics (skin and body therapy) Tanning (indoor)  
Hair/barber services Teeth whitening (excluding dentist)  
Health spa, skin clinic, medical spa Water therapy**  
Makeup Waxing, lash and brow tinting  

*Registered Massage Therapists (RMTs) are regulated under the Medical Practitioners Regulation.
**The Pool Regulation applies to hydrotherapy pools and therapeutic baths.

Tanning Beds

New B.C. Legislation Bans Youth under 18 from Using Tanning Beds

New changes to the provincial Regulated Activities Regulation ban young people under the age of 18 (minors) from using tanning equipment, to reduce the chances of developing skin cancer later in life. Under the regulation, minors are not permitted to use tanning equipment – and operators must not allow them to use it – unless the minor has a medical prescription for treating a skin condition such as psoriasis. Also, tanning bed facilities must display a government-approved sign in a clearly visible location, advising staff and customers about the under-18 tanning ban.

The World Health Organization has found that ultraviolet (UV) radiation from indoor tanning equipment is a proven carcinogen and the risk of melanoma increases by 75% when tanning bed use starts before 35 years of age. For more information, see Tanning Beds.

Other Guidelines