Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. We all want to look our best and to put our best person forward. We often use the services of a professional to obtain perfect hair, nails, tattoos, piercings, and waxing to remove unwanted hair. Even supermodels require maintenance; and we all have supermodel tendencies. Here are some practical steps that can be taken to minimize the risk of acquiring a bacterial, viral, or fungal infection when going to your next beauty appointment.
Licensed cosmetic professionals are trained to sterilize their instruments and supplies between each client. Ask your professional what is their sterilization process to minimize the risk of infection. Hairdressers and barbers must sterilize their combs, brushes, clippers, and sheers between each client. Before washing your hair and giving the much wanted scalp massage, ensure that they have washed their hands. Long nails have a greater risk of harboring germs; therefore, special attention must be focused on washing under the nails. Wearing gloves is another added precaution that can be implemented to minimize the risk of transferring infection from one client to another. Disinfecting solutions that are used on combs and brushes have a “kill time”. For instance, proper sterilization of a comb requires that it must be completely immersed in a disinfectant for at least 10 minutes. The sink should also be cleaned with a disinfectant between clients. The most common infection acquired from the hair salon is ringworm of the scalp.
When getting a manicure or pedicure, be vigilant and aware. According to the CDC, to properly sterilize a whirlpool foot spa with jets or without jets, a hospital grade disinfectant should circulate in the tub for the stated kill time. Simple basins should be cleaned with a hospital grade disinfectant and the surface must remain wet for at least 10 minutes to properly kill germs. Under no circumstances should a blade be used to remove thick skin, corns, or callouses. Cuticles should never, repeat NEVER, be removed, pushed back, or manipulated in any way. The sole purpose of our cuticles is to prevent infections in and around the nails. Cuticle manipulation breaches the natural skin barrier. Nail files, nail clippers, pumice stones should be sterilized between clients. If in doubt, take your own instruments. When proper sterilization techniques are not followed, the results are painful bacterial, viral, and fungal infections. This includes the athlete’s foot and fungal toenail infections. Athlete’s foot can be treated with topical antifungal creams. Toenail infections require prescription oral and/or topical antifungal regimens and takes a year to clear. Severe bacterial infections can also develop and often require a 3 month antibiotic regimen to clear.
Tattoo and piercing professionals must sterilize their instruments as well. There is higher rate of hepatitis C in those with tattoos and body piercings. Tattoo and piercing needles must be autoclaved while disposable needles must be thrown away after a single use. Bacterial, other viral, and fungal infections have been reported in those seeking these procedures.
When going to your aesthetician for a facial, massage, or waxing, proper sterilization techniques should not be compromised. Double dipping should be avoided at all times. Service chairs and tables should be cleaned between clients.
You are putting your beauty into your trusted professional’s hands. With proper knowledge, we can not only protect ourselves but also others. If you believe that you may have a scalp, skin or nail infection, please call 410-451-0500 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Katina Byrd Miles, Founder and Medical Director of Skin Oasis Dermatology.
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