Sterilisation and sanitisation

Sterilisation and sanitisation

  • Effective hygiene is necessary to prevent cross-infection and secondary infections. Cross-infection occurs through micro-organisms, that are contagious, being transferred through personal contact, touch or by contact with infected equipment that has not been sterilised.
  • Secondary infections can occur as a result of the client having an open cut or wound, prior to the treatment starting or by an injury caused during the treatment, and micro-organisms penetrating into the skin causing an infection.
  • Sterilisation and sanitisation are methods used to destroy or minimise harmful micro-organisms that can cause infection.
  • Sterilisation – This is total destruction of all living micro-organisms/germs.
  • Sanitisation – This is the destruction of some but not all micro-organisms spores.
  • Sterilisation and sanitisation techniques that are carried out in beauty salons involve the use of heat and also chemical agents such as antiseptics, disinfectants and vapour fumigants

Methods of sterilisation

Why do we sterilise?

  • The therapist has a moral, and legal obligation, to take measures to reduce the risk of cross-infection.
  • Law/Legislation requires that businesses take certain measures.
  • Beauty therapy/nail services codes of practice, which are in existence, must be followed to ensure you do breach the law. The local environmental health officer has the ability to close a salon and/or enforce fines and in extreme cases imprisonment.
  • Your insurance policy may become invalid if you do not follow certain procedures. In the event of prosecution, your insurance company will not pay out if you did not adhere to legislations

Health and safety to prevent cross-infection

To prevent cross-infection, the following procedures should be taken:

  • Sterilise all tools before and after each client.
  • Therapist/nail technician must wash their hands before and after each client.
  • The client’s hands must be cleansed and checked for contra-indications prior to treatment starting.
  • Towels should be washed at temperatures starting at 60°c.
  • All work surfaces should be wiped down with a chemical solution, eg disinfectant before you set up for a treatment and after you have tidied away after each treatment.

Before any tools are put into any steriliser they must be washed with soap and water first.

Preparation of your Work Area:

Your treatment area should be as clinical as possible for chemical peel treatments, unlike basic facials and some other advanced facial services the couch should have a plastic wipeable cover, and no couch cover or towels, sheets or pillows.  This is due to the risk of contamination from bodily fluids, all though this is very rare in chemical peel treatments.

  • All tools must be sanitised and cord and devices covered in barrier film and/or disposable protective cable covers.
  • Gloves, apron and a face mask must be worn by the practitioner and a hair net by the client

Creating a sterile work area:

A sterile work area ensures maximum hygiene practice during the procedure.

A full and thorough client consultation and consent form must be completed prior to the following.

These steps should be observed:

  • Spray the couch in barbicide solution, allow 10 minutes for it to activate and cleanse thoroughly.
  • Dry it and cover the couch in barrier film, a plastic couch cover or cling film at the head area.
  • Spray and then cover the tray or trolley top shelf with film as above
  • Begin treatment