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Illinois Laser Tattoo Removal Regulations

In March of 2009, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) imposed stricter rules on laser tattoo removal procedures. In the state of Illinois, all laser tattoo removal procedures must be performed by or under the supervision of a medical practitioner. Cosmetic lasers and all other laser devices are considered to be medical devices, so their use  is restricted to those with the proper medical experience. Whether you are using the Quanta Q plus C skin care laser, th ePicosure laser with FOCUS Lens Array or the Cynosure Revile, making sure you have the hands-on training and experience required by the state is a must before opening your laser tattoo removal practice.

Delegation of laser tattoo removal treatments

It is legal for licensed physicians to delegate laser tattoo removal procedures to qualified personnel, including:

  • Licensed practical nurses
  • Registered professional nurses
  • Physician assistants.

The delegate must have the requisite education, training, and laser technology experience to adequately perform the procedure, and the medical doctor must provide on-site supervision or be otherwise immediately accessible should any complications arise. The medical doctor is responsible for the actions of the delegate, so it is left to the physician’s discretion to determine whether a trained person is able to perform laser tattoo removal treatments.

Prerequisites to laser tattoo removal procedures

Before performing laser scanning treatments on a patient for tattoo removal, a physician must examine the patient and provide a prescriptive course of treatment. This examination includes the patient’s history and allows the physician to assess the risks and possible effects of the procedure and determine whether it is the most appropriate course of action. If the procedure will take multiple visits to complete, the patient must be examined prior to each visit.

The patient’s consent is required before the procedure can begin, and if the patient is under 18, a parent or guardian must provide consent.

Laws governing laser tattoo removal facilities

Any facilities in Illinois that provide laser services for tattoo removal must register with the Department of Public Health (DPH). Laser facilities must register annually and provide the DPH with information such as details on the specific laser devices being used, where the devices are used, and who is designated as the facility’s laser safety officer

Every facility that offers laser procedures must have a laser safety officer who implements safe practices that comply with all state and federal regulations. This person must be trained in many areas, including but not limited to:

  • Laser operation and the specific types of lasers used at that facility
  • Laser terminology
  • Hazardous effects of laser treatments
  • Maximum Permissible Exposure (MPE) levels for different areas of the human body

In addition, all facilities are subject to inspection to ensure that they are up to code. The inspection checks for things such as proper sanitation and sterilization procedures and makes sure that only the correct personnel are utilizing the laser equipment.

If any facility is found to be in violation of the law, the owner(s) of the establishment will be charged with practicing medicine without a license. If an establishment continues to violate these regulations, the owners might face a steep fine (upwards of $25,000) or even prison time.

Please note that this article is not intended to provide legal advice. For legal advice regarding laser tattoo removal procedures, contact the Illinois Medical Board or call one of our reps at to discuss. Direct Regulations Consulting Line: 888-875-7001.

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