m    e    d    i    s    p    a

15 - D Jericho Turnpike
New Hyde Park, NY 11040

By appointment only. 

Phone: 516-437-9719
     Fax: 516-437-9718

 Marcelle C. Kutun Electrolysis & Laser Specialists, Inc. dba Smooth Touch


How do you select an Electrologist or
Laser Hair Removal Practitioner?



    The biggest concern that people express on sites hosted by professional organizations of hair removal experts, such as the Society of Clinical and Medical Electrologists (SCME: and the International Guild of Professional Electrologists (IGPE:,  as well as many state and regional organizations (Electrolysis Society of the North East – ESNE:, for one) is: "How do I find a competent practitioner for electrolysis or laser hair removal?"

    Let me begin by saying that the initial consultation is your opportunity to ask important questions that will affect your treatment and peace of mind. You may have been given the name of the practitioner by a friend, doctor, relative, or found one in the yellow pages and the consultation is time for you to form an impression.

    First, before a question is asked, arrive a few minutes early and look around. Is the office private? Is it clean? Does it look professional? (I have witnessed treatments done in living rooms with cats hanging out!) Is there a separate waiting area? If you are there for laser treatment are the appropriate warning signs posted (this is a FDA requirement)? Were you greeted courteously? Is the practitioner dressed in a lab coat? Is she/he neat? Is the treatment area clean and neat? First impressions are important! Sometimes it is best to "go with your gut."

    During the consultation itself there are questions that you should ask the Electrologist and/or laser tech. The are:

Where did you get your training? Some states do not require that Electrologists attend a school. They can simply buy an epilator and go to work. Ask to see a diploma from a state approved school. As for laser techs the doctors for whom they work train some. There are two schools that train laser technicians with a 30 hour course (Lasertrolysis of Naples) and a 40 hour course (Rocky Mountain College). The latter gives the title of Certified Laser Specialist (CLS)* through the Colorado State Department of Higher Education, Division of Private Occupational Schools, Health Occupations Section, under supervision of the Colorado State Board of Medical Examiners.
Formerly CLT (Certified Laser Technician). CLT and CLS are, therefore, equivalent.

Are you a member of a national and/or regional professional organization? The Society of Clinical and Medical Electrologists (SCME), the International Guild of Professional Electrologists (IGPE), the American Electrology Association (AEA) and the American Society of Laser Medicine and Surgery (ASLMS) are national organizations. There are many local/state organizations and a regional organization (Electrolysis Society of the North East – ESNE). Doctors, of course, belong to the AMA. LOOK FOR A CURRENT MEMBERSHIP CERTIFICATE!

Are you certified? In states that do not require a license you should ask the Electrologist/ Laser Specialist if she/he is certified by a national organization. These certifications are Clinical Certified Electrologist (CCE)* or Clinical Medical Electrologist (CME)* through the Society of Clinical and Medical Electrologists (SCME) or Certified Professional Electrologist (CPE) through the American Electrology Association (AEA). See above (#1) for Laser Specialists. ASK TO SEE HER/HIS CERTIFICATE!
* See below: What do the CCE and CME designations mean?

Is the certification current? These organizations require that their certifications be kept up to date through Continuing Education Units (CEUs) and re-certification every five years. LOOK TO SEE IF THE CERTIFICATE IS CURRENT BY EXAMINING THE EXPIRATION DATE!

How long have you been in the hair removal profession? Electrologists are the hair removal experts. Ask the practitioner how much experience they have had with hair removal. This should include the MD that you may go to for laser hair removal. What is his/her specialty?

Do you offer more than one type of hair removal (makes for unbiased opinions if they do)? If she/he offers both traditional electrology and laser hair removal you can get the both the good and bad of each.

What kind of laser do you use and is it ideal for my individual needs? There are many different lasers out there each doing "their own thing". The two brand names that are the most popular now are the LightSheer diode laser from Coherent and the GentleLASE (GL and GL+) alexandrite laser by Candela Corp. Both of these along with the Palomar Ruby laser have received FDA clearance to be marketed for "permanent hair reduction". There are others such as the Nd:Yag and ruby lasers. Where they really differ are the spot sizes, coolant delivery and skin types to be treated. (Go to the Laser Hair Removal page for a discussion of the GentleLASE Plus cooling system.)

What modality of electrolysis do you use and is it ideal for my individual needs? There are three types of modalities for electrolysis: short-wave (thermolysis); galvanic multiple needle and the Blend (combination of both). Most practitioners today use either short-wave or the Blend.

Are you going to do the treatment or is an apprentice, trainee or office assistant going to do it? This really goes back to numbers 1 and 2 above. If you are going to a specific clinic because someone recommended Ms. Jones tell the person who is conducting the consultation that you want Ms. Jones specifically.

What is your policy for treating hairs that were missed with laser treatment? Do they go over the area again for free or wait for the next treatment?

What is your pricing - do your have "packages" or any discounts based on multiple treatments? Hair removal, especially laser, is very competitive therefore many clinics offer discounts. We do at our clinic based upon the number of visits or new areas started. Talk to the practitioner but remember, as my mother used to say, "cheap is expensive and expensive is cheap". In other words you get what you pay for. Lasers are expensive as is overhead, insurance, etc. Many good practitioners go to conferences and workshops and are entitled to make a living.

How often do you suggest I return for treatments and what is this opinion based on? The treatments can be six to eight weeks apart in order to coincide with the hair growth cycles.

Is hair removal your main business or a sideline? You want a hair removal expert - the full time professional electrologist or laserologist.

The following excellent questions were asked of us by a client:

Do you service your GentleLASE Plus (or whichever  laser your practitioner uses) periodically.  When was the last time the laser was calibrated? Our laser was recalibrated in September 20, 2000, Preventive Maintenance on February 2, 2001, and a recalibration on April 13, 2001.
Do you make sure that the Cryogen is working properly?  I read that someone had a bad experience with the Cryogen in another office resulting in scabbing. We change Cryogen canisters when the laser's computer notifies us to do so.

Have you had any patients that have had bad side effects?  If so, what was the end result?
Actually, no.

Do most of your patients have minor side effects?
Only a few, out of over 150 patients, have had minor skin discoloration that resolved itself in less than two months.

I heard that the actual procedure might be more invasive than the test spot.  Can I expect my skin to react pretty much the same as the test?
Yes. This is the reason for test spots.

© Joel M. Kutun 2000 - 2001

This article also appeared as the October 2000 "Cat Bird Seat" Article at:

What do the CCE and CME designations mean?

    The Society of Clinical and Medical Electrologists (SCME) offered the first certification of Electrologists in the world. Their designation is Certified Clinical Electrologist, or CCE

    SCME also is the only one at this time to offer an advanced certification for electrologists who are adding laser hair removal to their practices. This certification is CME for Certified Medical Electrologist. If there is no CCE or CME in your area, it is recommended that you consult with your dermatologist or other physician for a recommendation.

    With the addition of new technologies, such as the laser, to the Electrologist's arsenal, it became crucial to develop a new credential which will signify to the public that those who hold it possess superior knowledge and skills in the field of laser-based hair removal. The Certified Medical Electrologist (CME) credential, developed by the SCME in collaboration with Professional Examination Services (PES) of New York City can be attained by those professional electrologists who already carry the CCE or CPE designations. Its course work focuses on the newly emerging laser technologies and it provides Electrologists with in-depth knowledge of how laser work, and how they are used for hair removal. As with first-level credentialing, this second level credential also requires continuing education, thus assuring that the knowledge of those who claim it is current.

This new program seems to meet a key need in our profession---education. In a recent SCME survey to electrologists, over 90% of respondents indicated that adequate training and credentialing in the new laser-based hair removal technologies was a major concern. State legislation, on the other hand, is also an issue. At this time, all states but one believe that non-physicians who have had adequate training are capable of operating laser hair-removal systems. Education, therefore, is the key to ensuring that state legislators continue to view electrologists in a favorable light.
©Society of Clinical and Medical Electrologists.

    Conducting your own consultation and asking these questions and using your own eyes should help you in your choice of a competent hair removal professional. You may be asking yourself "Why doesn’t he mention about asking for satisfied clients?" You can, and should, but don’t be surprised if you are refused. People may be embarrassed to be used for referrals.

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