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Ministry of Health

Personal Service Establishments (PSEs)

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.

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.

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.

Examples of Personal Services Carried Out by PSEs

Hair, Skin, Nails and Personal Wellness Body Modification
aromatherapy manicure/pedicure body piercing
beauty parlour services massage (excluding RMTs*) ear piercing
cosmetic laser services microdermal abrasion micropigmentation
face painting mud/steam bath tattooing
floatation tanks shaving tattoo removal
electrolysis tanning beds  
esthetics (skin and body therapy) teeth whitening (excluding dentist)  
hair/barber services water therapy**  
health spa, skin clinic waxing, lash and brow tinting  
makeup    

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

Guidelines for Personal Service Establishments

The updated Guidelines for Personal Service Establishments (PDF 939K) (November 2014) 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 (PDF 2.1M).

Guidelines for Personal Services offered at Tradeshows

The new Guidelines for Personal Services offered at Tradeshows (PDF 311K) (February 2014) clarify the expectations of personal service operators at tradeshows, and provide guidance on preventing health hazards. For a summary, see this fact sheet: New Guidelines for Personal Services offered at Tradeshows (PDF  72K).

Guidelines for Body Modification

The new Guidelines for Body Modification (PDF 1.0M) (December 2014) clarify what is expected of PSE operators who offer body modification services, and provide guidance on preventing health hazards. For a summary, see this fact sheet: New Guidelines for Body Modification (PDF  36K).

These guidelines include tattooing and piercing, so the older Guidelines for Tattooing and Guidelines for Piercing are no longer needed.