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Depilation IS Skin Care

By: Lynn Maestro
Posted: November 24, 2009, from the December 2009 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

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This is an opportunity for spa professionals to not only go back and re-evaluate the service tactics being used in depilation services, but also to create a dialogue with clients about the level of sanitation you provide. It’s about going back to basics, and really taking pride and setting high standards for your hair removal services.

Careful considerations

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has published guidelines requiring public service workers, which includes spa professionals, to assume all human blood and bodily fluids are infectious for bloodborne pathogens. As hair removal services can deal with sensitive areas and bodily fluids, incorporating sanitation measures in your spa that take bloodborne pathogens under careful consideration can be a boon to the safety of your depilation services.

According the United States Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Adminstration (OSHA), bloodborne pathogens are transmitted via the eye, mouth and other mucous membranes. As hair removal services can be done near or on all of these areas, make sure you and all your spa team members know the facts.

The two most important bloodborne pathogen viruses for spa professionals to guard against are hepatitis HBV, which can be transmitted through saliva, semen, vaginal fluid and needles; and HIV, which is transmitted via personal contact with an infected person through nonintact skin contacting nonintact skin. According to the New York Health Department, “There are a few studies that indicate that HPV can be spread by inanimate objects, such as underwear or gloves.” So, in order to maintain the safest environment possible for your clients, take the time to practice proper sanitary precautions that defend against these potenital infections.

Basic esthetic sanitation

There are many basic sanitary precautions that, even if they seem elementary, are important to review in your spa. Reminders, such as these from Pivot Point International’s Esthetic Education Training Manual, are helpful in keeping sanitation at the top of everyone’s mind.

  • Sanitize all surfaces before and after each service.
  • Wash hands before and after each service. Bar soaps can harbor bacterial liquids, so it may be better to use hand soap and sanitizers.
  • Use a fresh pair of single-use, disposable gloves for each client.
  • Provide freshly laundered linens for each client.
  • Sanitize the bed, treatment table or treatment surface with disinfectant spray before putting down new linens.
  • Use a fresh spatula every time you dip for more product.