Evaluating the health and safety knowledge of body waxing providers in British Columbia
BACKGROUND: Since the deregulation of the BC Cosmetology Act in 2003, esthetics has become a voluntary-certified trade. Considering the rising popularity of more intimate body waxing services and the potential for infections and injuries associated with these services, there is concern that BC waxing service providers have varying levels of health and safety knowledge. METHODS: The health and safety knowledge of BC estheticians was analyzed by conducting a knowledge assessment survey of body waxing providers from random clusters of 50 beauty salons in Vancouver and Surrey, BC. To evaluate which parameters affected the estheticians’ knowledge scores, ANOVA, t-tests and regression analyses were used. Chi square analyses were used to determine factors associated with the level of esthetics training. RESULTS: Health and safety knowledge scores widely varied (mean = 18.8 ± 5.5 out of 36 points). Estheticians’ qualifications were not significantly associated with whether the esthetician started practicing before or after the BC Cosmetology Act deregulation. 84% held a traditional esthetics certification and 30% had BeautySafe certification; however they did not necessarily score significantly higher on the health and safety knowledge assessment. Estheticians scored higher in Vancouver than in Surrey (p=0.046). The cost of waxing (p=0.0011) and estheticians’ perceptions (p=0.020) of their own knowledge level are also positively related to their knowledge score. Age, alma mater, years of experience, and ethnicity did not show any significant relationship with an esthetician’s qualifications or knowledge scores. CONCLUSIONS: Cost of wax treatment, esthetician’s perception of health and safety knowledge and location were indicators of an esthetician’s health and safety knowledge competency. Consumers should ask the esthetician to rate their own knowledge competency, opt for the more expensive treatment and if they have the option, choose a Vancouver salon over a Surrey salon. The wide range of knowledge scores indicate a gap in health and safety standards and thus, an opportunity for health authorities and the esthetic industry to collaborate to establish such standards.