Beware Illegal Salon and Spa Services

Ear candling

A new law for personal services

On July 1, 2018, the Personal Service Setting Regulation under the Health Protection and Promotion Act came into effect in Ontario. The CK Public Health inspects all commercial and home-based personal service providers in Chatham-Kent to make sure that they follow this law.

Learn about this new law and illegal personal services.

What are personal services?

Personal services include haircuts, barbering, waxing, piercing, manicures, pedicures, tattoos, microblading, electrolysis and other services offered at salons, spas and barber shops.

These services may carry a risk of exposure to blood and body fluids that can spread diseases if tools are not properly cleaned and disinfected.

What does the law say?

The law sets out rules that people providing personal services must follow to reduce the risk to their clients’ health. Some of the rules include:

  • Properly cleaning and disinfecting tools between clients
  • Washing hands before providing services
  • Telling clients about risks
  • Not providing illegal services

What are illegal services?

Under the new law, certain services are now illegal. These include:

  • Ear candling/ear coning
  • Fish pedicures
  • Eyeball tattoos and eyeball jewellery

Ear candling/coning

The waxy substance left in the tube after ear candling is actually candle wax.
The waxy substance left in the tube after ear candling is actually candle wax.
Photo credit: Brett Alton

For ear candling (also called ear coning), a service provider sticks a hollow tube coated in wax into a client’s ear. The end of the cone is then set on fire. This is supposed to create a vacuum that sucks wax out of the ear. When the service is done, a waxy, brown substance is left in the tube, which is claimed to be a mixture of earwax and toxins from inside the ear. In reality, tests show that this is just candle wax.

It is falsely claimed that ear candling can reduce buildup of earwax and treat everything from earaches to sinus infections, allergies, dizziness, headaches, pain, depression and cancer.

Fish pedicures

Fish pedicure
Fish pedicures may cause infections.

For fish pedicures, clients put their feet in a footbath full of hundreds of little fish that eat dead skin off the client’s feet. This is meant to exfoliate the feet.

Eyeball tattoos and jewellery

For eyeball tattooing (also called scleral tattooing), a service provider uses a needle to inject ink into the white of a client’s eye. Eyeball jewellery involves cutting into the outer layer of the eye to implant a piece of jewellery.

What’s the health risk?

Ear candling/coning

Ear candling has no medical benefits, meaning that it does not do what it is claimed to do. These services can also cause serious health risks, including:

  • Serious burns
  • Blocked ears from dripping wax
  • Punctured ear drum
  • Temporary loss of hearing

If you have concerns about earwax buildup or ear and sinus pain, speak to your doctor.

Fish pedicures

Fish pedicures are not sanitary and can cause feet to become infected with bacteria spread by fish or dirty tank water. There have even been reports of toenails falling off after this service. Remember, you can’t disinfect a fish!

Eyeball tattoos and jewellery implants

Eyes are sensitive! These procedures are very dangerous and cause a serious risk of injury and infection leading to severe pain and/or blindness. Several people have even had to have eyes removed because of this.

If you have concerns

If you know someone offering illegal services, or if you have questions or concerns, contact the CK Public Health at 519-355-1071 ext. 2920 or