Q&A with Rocky Mountain Laser College

Jess Riggs, RMLC skin rejuvenation instructor and clinic director

Q: What was the genesis of Rocky Mountain Laser College?
A: Rocky Mountain Laser College started in 1948 as the Rocky Mountain College of Electrolysis. Electrolysis is a hair-removal technique in which the clinician uses a small needle and inserts it into one hair follicle at a time. Heat and electricity is applied to the needle, which disables the papilla so the hair won’t grow back. It is a slow and sometimes painful process. In the 1990s, the FDA cleared lasers to be used for hair removal, so the college changed its name and its courses to exclusively lasers. We have been teaching lasers for over 20 years and have added laser tattoo removal, laser skin rejuvenation, photofacials, radio frequency skin tightening, and noninvasive circumference reduction to our courses. The courses really give an all-around good education on the capabilities of lasers.

Think of the laser college like a driver’s ed school, where you learn the rules of the road and how to keep you and your passengers safe. When you are done with driver’s ed, you can drive a pickup or a sports car because all cars drive alike. It’s the same with lasers! Every device has wavelength, fluence, pulse duration, and spot size settings that are adjusted by the clinician to give the client the most effective and safest treatment possible.

Q: Why is it important for estheticians to learn laser therapy?
A: There are always things that don’t budge on a client’s skin and lasers are the next step to an effective treatment. And lasers are natural—what could be more natural than a beam of light? From clearing easy things like sun spots and age spots, to more difficult things like cherry hemangiomas and rosacea, to serious issues like Nevus of Ota and melasma, lasers can change someone’s life! And lasers are becoming much more common. The general public is used to them and is asking for these pricey upgrades more and more.

Q: What are some state laws that estheticians need to be aware of?
A: The law of the land says the alteration of human tissue by the use of a laser is the practice of medicine, and the only person who can practice medicine is a licensed physician. But the huge majority of states allow the physician to delegate the firing of a laser to someone who has had formal and structured training. That’s where your Certified Laser Specialist® (CLS) certificate comes in. The CLS certificate is trademarked by the US Patent and Trademark Office and is only available from the Rocky Mountain Laser College. Your doctor or medical director will need this proof of training to be able to delegate laser treatments to you.

Q: Anything new on the horizon you can share with us?
A: Absolutely! Soft-tissue and pain-reduction lasers are being used every day by massage therapists, physical therapists, and athletic trainers to bring their clients more effective and longer-term relief. The Colorado Department of Higher Education has recently approved our newest course on laser phototherapy. It teaches the use of low-level lasers to clinicians who have a good understanding of human anatomy.

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