Safety & Infection Control
This area of your learning is essential for your safety and that of your clients and people that you work with. Take the time to understand and implement safe practices and the risks can be reduced to the level of any other beauty treatment.
It is the duty and responsibility of every practitioner to ensure, and priorities the Health and Safety of themselves and that of their clients and colleagues. To avoid litigation and disruption to business, you should also ensure that you follow your local authority or municipal guidelines on safe working conditions and licensed premises.
Maintaining your knowledge of infection control with a yearly examination is a condition of licensing in most areas and it will keep this important information up to date and fresh in your mind.
Everyone providing treatments to clients should know about and be able to carry out these standard principles for infection prevention and control:
- Hand hygiene and skin care.
- Wash hands before and after an intervention with each client.
- The use of personal protective equipment (PPE).
- Sharps management and management of exposure to blood and body fluids.
- Safe handling, storage and disposal of waste materials.
- Cleaning and disinfection of the environment.
Minimising the Risk of Infection
We are working with tools that pierce the skin and in turn, expose us to body fluids.
Blood, mucous membrane fluids and lymph fluids have the potential to carry pathogens and dangerous infections such as HIV and Hepatitis. It is therefore necessary that we ensure our working environments are sterile and free from microbial life.
Ensure that the working environment is sterile priot to starting a procedure and decontaminated after the completion of a treatment.
Work out a cleaning routine for your treatment area, and stick to it. Ensuring that you allow enough time in your appointment schedule so that you don’t have to skip any parts of the process.
Cleaning is an essential prerequisite to disinfection and sterilisation. Cleaning removes the microorganisms and any organic material on which they thrive. It is a basic necessity to maintain a good level of hygiene in your working environment.
All chemicals should be handled and storedin accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
The benefit of this is that as time goes on, eyebrow trends and the fullness of a clients’ face will change over time. With semi-permanent microblading, our brow expert can update your brow look every few years!
Antiseptics slow the growth of some bacteria and germs, whereas disinfectants are stronger and kill some bacteria and germs. It is important that you can distinguish between the two, and more importantly that you understand that these two alone are not sufficient for a safe work environment in which to apply permanent cosmetics. Other, spore-producing pathogenic microorganisms must be destroyed through the sterilization process.
We recommend that you use a hospital grade disinfectant to decontaminate your treatment area after EVERY client. This process helps eliminate the number of viable microorganisms. Every working surface including your couch, floor and treatment tray should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected before you start the next treatment.
Is the process by which all bacteria, viruses, spores or pathogens are killed or removed. It is the most effective action to prevent the spread of infectious or contagious diseases. Sterilization is achieved by subjecting the item to be sterilized to intense heat and pressure or vacuum in a device called an Autoclave or subjecting the item to bursts of UV or Gamma radiation. For the sake of cost and convenience, we often use pre-sterilized products, such as; single use disposable pens and blades. All hand tools and blades should be in a sealed in sterile packaging, these should not be opened until the arrival of your client and immediately prior to application. Should you decide to use a reusable pen, you must ensure that it has been properly cleaned and then sterilized in an autoclave. WE NEVER reuse microblading needles as it is not possible to clean them thoroughly enough without damaging them. These are single use items that should be disposed of in a sharps box, immediately after use.
Here are some key points to consider when devising control measures for the risks that you identify.
- Prepare a separate procedure area with washable surfaces that is cleaned after every treatment.
- Keep Sterile, Clean and Contaminated items separate.
- Be aware that your treatment area is contaminated as soon as the skin is broken.
- Use disposable, single use materials.
- Dispose of ‘sharps’ and ‘offensive waste’ immediately after treatment, following safety guidelines.
- Treat all blood and body fluids as if it were infected.
- Vaccinate yourself against Hepatitis B and test for immunity.
- If you sterilise your own tools, ensure that you follow correct procedure.
- Store sterile items properly, only open them as you need them in your clean area.
- Keep yourself and your environment clean.
- Wear disposable gloves, apron, face and hair protection.
- Have a documented safety procedure, review it regularly and revise if necessary.
- Carry out an exhaustive client consultation with health questionnaire to identify contra-indications and a patch test to expose contra-actions.
Your clothing should be clean at all times, and professional in appearance. Work clothing should be changed daily. Staff clothing should not impeded good hand washing.
It is worth bearing in mind that personal cleanliness is as much a part of your licensing requirements as the hygiene of your premises.
The use of gloves has two purposes:
- To protect the hands from becoming contaminated with dirt and microorganisms.
- By changing gloves, to prevent transfer of pathogens from one client to another.
- Used gloves should be disposed of as offensive waste.
A disposable plastic apron must be worn when there is a risk that clothing may be exposed to blood, body fluids, secretions or excretions.
Plastic aprons should be used as single-use items and changed between clients. They should be discarded and disposed of as offensive waste after use.
Eye and Face Protection
Wear eye and face protection while carrying out the treatment or cleaning up after treatment. “Eye protection and facemasks must be worn where there is a risk of blood, body fluids, secretions or excretions splashing into the eyes and face.” (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, 2012). A risk assessment of the planned procedure should be undertaken to help inform decision making (e.g. when manually cleaning equipment as part of decontamination processes).
If reusable goggles/protective glasses are used, they should be washed after each client or task using a general-purpose detergent, rinsed and stored dry. Eye protection should be compatible with any facemask used.
Face masks (such as surgical masks) should be used if there is a risk of splashing of blood/body fluid droplets into the mouth or nose. If used, masks should be changed between clients and disposed of immediately after use. They must not be carried or worn around the neck. Face masks can also be worn to prevent direct breathing onto the procedure area.
Clear face shields that sit on the chin are gaining popularity as they serve a dual purpose. They are comfortable to wear for long periods and less restrictive than mask/goggles combinations.