Recognition of Skin Therapists as Health Practitioners by the Ministry of Health

This is an opportunity for all of us to do something greater than ourselves.


ACT NOW and help us save our Industry.

The New Zealand Beauty and Skin Therapy industry is on the verge a change that will see practitioners recognised as Health Practitioners, alongside Podiatrists, Acupuncturists and other respected Healthcare Professionals.

This recognition will give our industry the backing of the same legislation as other Health Professions to set professional standards, determine education and qualifications, and improve our standing with our clients. Importantly, we will have a consistent set of standards that Local Councils will recognise and remove the bureaucratic differences in the way Councils attempt to regulate your premises.

Recognition by MoE & MBIE

During 2022, the NZ Board of Professional Skin Therapies (NZBPST) , led the successful campaign to have Ministry of Education (MoE) and Ministry of Innovation and Enterprise (MBIE) reclassify Beauty Therapy as “Skin Therapies” and to be recognised as being a Health Sector industry. Previously Beauty Therapy was seen as being in the artistic sector, failing to recognise that many of our Treatments such as Laser, IPL, microdermabrasion, and skin peels require a high level of technical skills and a detailed level of knowledge of skin anatomy and physiology, these skills and knowledge will become increasingly vital and the disciplines of cosmetic medicine and aesthetic practices merge.

The NZBPST campaign managed to persuade the MoE to keep the Beauty and Skin Therapy qualification to NZQA Level 5. Members of our industry now sit on the Health Workforce Development Council ensuring that we can develop further courses and align the training of our future employees with development in cosmetic medicine and aesthetic practices

Concerns by WorkSafe and Health and Disability Commission

At the same time, NZBPST approached the Health and Disabilities Commission (HDC) and WorkSafe. Both of these Government watchdogs have noted an increase in complaints of client injuries and risk of harm to the public. The public has been complaining for years for the need for safer practices and the ability to identify qualified practitioners.

These agencies are very much “ambulances at the bottom of the cliff”, and deal (or take punitive action) against individual Therapists or Clinics. Neither of these bodies are able to directly address how the Skin Therapy industry can operate or improve its standards, and are dependent upon Local Authority Health Standards Offices who then set impractical bylaws and fees as they lack the skills to apply effective standards.

The HDC Deputy Commissioner and WorkSafe have both recommended to NZ Board of Professional Skin Therapies that the Skin Therapy industry needs to be self-regulated backed by appropriate legislation.

During 2018 the Ministry of Health carried out an investigation into the practices of appearance medicine and beauty therapy. At the end they too recommended there was a need for self -regulation and registration, this became overshadowed by other Health Priorities.

Self-Regulation is common in other Industries.

The recognition by MoE & MBIE, only goes so far in setting standards for training, but does not have the ability to require that a Therapist offering a treatment is qualified to do so. Many other industries (for instance Builders, Electricians, Food Service, Lawyers and Accountant)  have self-regulating bodies that are backed by legislation to set the appropriate standards for their industry.

Skin and Beauty therapists as Health Providers can potentially self-regulate within the scope of the  Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act (HPCAA). This is the same legislation that enables the  16 bodies representing Doctors, Nurses, Midwives, Podiatrists, Acupuncturists, Pharmacists, Dental Nurses etc. to determine how they should practice and the standards that practitioners should meet.

Complaints by clients are dealt with by the relevant responsible body, who are given powers to ensure that their decisions are legally enforceable.

Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act (HPCAA)

For Beauty and Skin Therapy to be covered by the HPCAA , the Ministry of Health need to ensure that

a)       There is a risk of harm to the client or the public.

b)      It is the public interest to address any risk by self-regulation.

c)       The way in which self-regulation is set-up and run in the most economic and practical way.

This will involve a great deal of consultation by the Ministry of Health across other health sectors, the industry and public submissions, culmination with a recommendation being made to the Minister of Health and Governor General.

Major benefits to regulation will be that.

·         The Beauty and Skin Therapy responsible authority, will be recognised by Government agencies and Local Authorities as the single point of contact for any proposed changes in laws, by-laws or regulations

·         The title (e.g. “Skin Therapist”) will be a recognised professional title which can only be used by someone who meets the standards set by the Beauty and Skin Therapy responsible authority,  in the same way a person can only call themselves a Nurse if they are registered

·         To undertake some treatments, they will need to be qualified to do so. This may provide a pathway for some therapists to be able undertake injectable treatments currently only able to be performed by Nurses or Doctors.

·         The Department of Immigration will have a reference point when considering work visa applications.

What Can You Do?

With support from government agencies, international organisations, and other advocates, we now need to see more support from industry and the public for this move to be successful.


To demonstrate to Ministry of Health that there is support in acknowledging our professional status. 


The greater the number of signatures the better the success of our campaign.


You can also support us by writing a letter outlining why we should be recognised, giving examples if you wish of present problems and/ or sign our petition. Please email petition and support emails to


As more information comes to hand it will be published in the next edition of industry’s most trusted and informative e-magazine, Beauty Forum, so stay tuned.





To change to the health category, we had to convince WDC that the Beauty/Skin Industry wants to be recognised under the Health Education Category. 

By Thursday 8th October 2020, many stakeholders in industry have submitted and completed submission as below: 

➢ Signed NZBPST petition

➢ Completed NZBPST survey

➢ Completed WDC’s survey

➢ Personal submissions to WDC

We are so grateful for every single submission. Thank you! 

It is not over yet, so please follow up and support your industry. See below what you can do to help us with the next step in this process.

Our passion is supporting you and protecting your industry credibility, profession, and future.



The reform of vocational education is currently in progress.

Skin Therapists and Nail Technicians are now under the new Health, Community and Social Services Workforce Development Council under the Tertiary Education Commision.

NZBPST have kept you informed every step of the way.  We have sat in on the advisory panels and advocated for skin therapists and technicians to have better opportunities and pathways for future learning.

NZQA is working with different stakeholders from employers, to students, to educational providers, to the public to gain feedback on what is required within our education system moving forward and we are working with them to create this positive change.

HITO (Hairdressing Industry Training Organisation) is the standard setting body for the NZQA qualifications.  In July and August 2021, they are seeking feedback from stakeholders on the current NZQA beauty qualifications as part of their review process.  NZBPST will have representation at these meetings and will be providing feedback from our members.   For the qualifications represented under health, we believe their needs to be a core curriculum and we would like course descriptors that better represent the qualifications to ensure students are set up fop success and better understand the scope of learning required as a skin therapist and nail technician.

Our goal is for a better tomorrow and we are here to help make this happen.

Should you need more information, like to provide feedback, 

please reach out to one of our board members, below: