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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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According to Milady’s Hair Removal Education Manual, your first move when offering any hair removal service should be properly sanitizing and disinfecting yourself, your treatment area, your tools and any other equipment you’ll be using. Remember, sanitation is the significant reduction of pathogens on a surface through cleaning. This includes hand-washing and using gloves, antiseptics and disinfectants.

Antiseptics prevent, retard or stop bacterial growth. Most often, they should be safe to use on the skin. However, disinfectants should not be used on the skin. Disinfectants are used to kill bacteria and certain viruses on nonporous surfaces and tools.

When using gloves, a new pair should be donned with each new client, and they should be powder-free. This is not only for the safety of clients, but also the safety of your team members. If a spa professional is expected to have contact with blood or any other potentially infectious bodily fluids, materials or contaminated surfaces, it is completely necessary that the employee wear gloves. Also, ask all your clients if they are allergic to latex, as this is the material used for many disposable gloves. If so, the technician should use synthetic gloves as an alternative, so be sure to always have both in stock. As a spa professional, it is vital for you to set this standard and let your clients know you follow universal precautions.

Next, consider sterilization. The goal of sterilization is the complete elimination of all forms of bacteria, spores and viruses. Sterilizing your implements, tools and equipment is a temporary state that should be habitual and ongoing in your spa.

There are two types of sterilization: physical and chemical. Sterilization agents include steam heat steriliztion, which should be done at 250°F; dry heat sterilization, which should be done at 340°F; irradiation light rays, which use ultraviolet light with alpha, beta and gamma rays; and boiling, which should be done at 212°F. These methods of sterilization are designed to kill spores and viruses that antiseptics and disinfectants cannot.