If you’re thinking of either booking a spa appointment for yourself, or giving someone special in your life a spa gift certificate, do a little homework first.

CHICAGO (AP/WBBM) – State officials in Illinois say they’re seeing increasing reports of infection and injuries at spas because of untrained and unsupervised attendants.

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Modern spas may offer more than massage, mud baths and steam rooms. There are med-spas, for “medical spas”, where medical cosmetic and rejuvenation procedures are offered.

Officials with the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation are urging residents to do research and ask questions before giving spa treatments as holiday gifts. Recent inspections at 11 spas found the businesses didn’t meet state compliance standards.

Officials say physicians should meet with patients before any medical procedures. They say medical supervision is necessary for treatments such as chemical peels, laser hair removal and varicose vein treatments.

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Many treatments offered at day and med-spas can be performed by a licensed cosmetologist or esthetician. However, treatments that affect layers of skin below the surface or treatments that affect other soft tissues of the body, or which are injected (Botox) or removed from the body (liposuction) are medical procedures which require direct medical supervision, the IDFPR says.

Illinois law allows physicians to delegate the actual treatment to an appropriately trained staff member, but that delegation requires a physician or other licensed health care provider designated by a physician to provide direct, on-site supervision.

Other treatments requiring physician supervision are: chemical peels and some microdermabrasion peels, laser hair or tattoo removal, wrinkle or line removal, treatment of skin discoloration, varicose vein or broken capillary treatments, laser skin tightening and a variety of other treatments that affect tissues below the surface of the skin, according to an IDFPR news release.

In recent compliance examinations at 11 day and med spas throughout the state, the IDFPR found that, while some spas provided treatments that were appropriate for the client and properly supervised by physicians, many spas did not meet these standards.

Investigators sometimes found that physicians were not available for consultation or supervision, staff were not appropriately trained or licensed, and treatments that were recommended were inappropriate or sometimes unnecessary or even dangerous. The department says it is following its initial compliance examinations with full-scale investigations at several of these spas to enforce compliance with State standards.

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(Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. WBBM contributed to this report.)

If you’re thinking of either booking a spa appointment for yourself, or giving someone special in your life a spa gift certificate…do a little homework first.