Practical considerations forAesthetic Clinic Preparedness

About Project AesCert

As stay-at-home orders are gradually modified and the economy slowly begins to awaken, there is believed to be much pent-up patient demand for aesthetic services after months of COVID-19 lockdown. Similarly, aesthetic medicine practices want to reopen for business and be available to deliver high-quality care to their patients. However, research has shown that patients do not want to undergo elective treatment without adequate safety precautions, and to this point, there has been much confusion among physicians and patients alike as to what such safety measures ought to entail.

While several aesthetic practice groups and medical societies have posted thoughtful recommendations in this regard, Project AesCert for the first time brought together leading authorities from the aesthetic medicine specialties with national experts in SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 to provide the first broadly integrated set of principles for returning to aesthetic practice in the current environment. Project AesCert identified and established a world-class, multidisciplinary panel of board-certified medical and doctoral experts in the fields of Infectious Disease, Immunology, Public Health Policy, Dermatology, Plastic Surgery, and Facial Plastic Surgery. The result of their work, the Project AesCert Guidance (“Guidance”), represents a consensus of studied principles that combines learnings from major hospital systems on the frontlines of treating COVID-19 patients, prestigious academic research institutions studying the underlying SARS-CoV-2 virus on a global basis, and leadership of the dermatology, plastic surgery, and facial plastic surgery specialties who understand what it means to implement elevated safety measures within the reality of a busy aesthetic office.

The Guidance is intended to be of value equally to aesthetic physicians, their medical and office staffs, and the aesthetic patient community. On the provider side, the Guidance offers practical, actionable recommendations for healthcare professionals and support staff to implement safety protocols for the real world procedures and other workflow activity in aesthetic practice. By providing visibility to these principles, the Guidance aspires to educate the patient community as to what it looks like when an aesthetic office is doing everything reasonably possible to provide a safe environment for elective care in the new world of COVID-19, thereby increasing patient confidence. Given the current state of the COVID-19 outbreak and overall reduced risk tolerance for elective procedures generally, the Guidance often exceeds traditional aesthetic office safety precautions, and sometimes those recommended from other sources.

The AesCert Guidance does not and cannot insulate physicians or patients from the risk of COVID-19. All aesthetic care involves risk of complications, including the risk of disease transmission. Of course, this risk is materially greater during an ongoing pandemic. And it is greater still while community spread continues to occur in certain areas, in the absence of widely available and reliable testing, and without a vaccine or other validated treatment protocol. In many important ways, this virus and disease still elude scientific and medical understanding. Given this reality, for those who nonetheless wish to seek, or provide, aesthetic care during this pandemic, the Guidance provides a framework for modulating the inescapable risks wherever feasible and providing the most prudent clinical environment possible under these extraordinary circumstances.

Access the Guidance here

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Project AesCert, and the development of the Project AesCert Guidance, were supported by an educational grant from the Skinbetter Science Institute as a service to medical aesthetic providers and the aesthetic patient community.

Project AesCert GuidanceExpert Multidisciplinary Panel of Authors

Jeffrey S. Dover, MD
(Chairperson, Dermatology)

SkinCare Physicians, Chestnut Hill, MA
Departments of Dermatology, Yale University School of Medicine and Brown Medical School, Providence, RI

Mary Lynn Moran, MD
(Facial Plastic Surgery)
President, American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Department of Otolaryngology, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, TN

Jose F. Figueroa, MD, MPH
(Public Health/Health Policy)
Department of Health Policy and Management, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, MA

Heather Furnas, MD
(Plastic Surgery)
Department of Surgery, Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Stanford University School of Medicine, Palo Alto, CA

Jatin “Jay” Vyas, MD, PhD
(Infectious Disease/Immunology)
Division of Infectious Disease, Massachusetts General Hospital
Department of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA

Lory D. Wiviott, MD
(Infectious Disease)
Chairman, Department of Medicine, California Pacific Medical Center, San Francisco, CA

Adolf “AW” Karchmer, MD
(Infectious Disease)
Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Division of Infectious Disease, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, MA


Given the high degree of variability in the COVID-19 outbreak across the country, the Project AesCert Guidance expresses no view on whether or when it is appropriate for any particular aesthetic office to reopen. That decision is a function of the public health conditions in, and corresponding government standards for, each community and medical practice, including but not limited to state executive orders, CDC guidelines, and state and local health department notifications.

Upon reopening, aesthetic offices should continue to monitor and be responsive to changes in such public health conditions and applicable government pronouncements in their respective communities, which are likely to evolve over time, and may periodically require greater restrictions. The Guidance is not intended to contravene any such government standards, which supersede this Guidance in the event of any conflict.

The Guidance is necessarily based upon and limited to public health conditions, testing and treatment capabilities, government standards, and the overall state of scientific understanding of SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 as of May 1, 2020. All of these elements are highly dynamic, and providers and patients should consider all such future changes in evaluating the continued applicability of the Guidance in practice.

The Guidance does not and cannot foreclose the risk of disease transmission, modify or establish any standard of care, or embody an exhaustive list of safety measures required to safely conduct business and deliver care in a medical aesthetic setting.

The Guidance is published on an open source basis. Project AesCert, the panel of authors, and the Skinbetter Science Institute do not track, certify or validate which providers purport to incorporate the Guidance in their aesthetic offices, and if so to what extent. The AesCert logo and other Practice Resources are intended to be utilized together with the totality of the principles and considerations throughout the Guidance.

AboutSkinbetter Science Institute

The Skinbetter Science Institute is a non-promotional, educational organization dedicated to providing relevant, actionable data and other information to healthcare providers and their patients. The Institute seeks to identify, fund and advance scientific research, professional and patient education, public health initiatives and other charitable activities in furtherance of scientific innovation and the responsible practice of medical aesthetics.