Hygiene Health & Safety

Clinic hygiene and sterilisation methods are of the utmost importance.  Procedures must be put in place and rigorously implemented to ensure the health and safety of everyone who passes through the treatment area.

In order to avoid cross-infection, whether from one client to another or from client to operator (and vice-versa) the following steps should be taken:

You must ensure sanitation and sterilisation of the treatment rooms, toilet facilities and waiting areas at regular intervals throughout the day to prevent cross infection and cross contamination. This is imperative to meet professional hygienic standards.

All work surfaces, tiled areas and washable floor space should be wiped over with a suitable disinfectant such as Chemgene. All cloths used for this purpose should be disposed of following manufacturer’s instructions and in accordance with legislations.  There are many suitable disinfectants on the market which kill viruses and bacterial spores, it is important to follow the manufacturer instructions with regard to dilution, immersion times and shelf life.

Personal Hygiene

As a consultant you are working in very close proximately to your clients and personal hygiene is vital.  Appropriate clothing including a disposable apron, gloves and face mask must be worn during all treatments to prevent cross infection.  The therapist should wash her hands before and after every treatment using an appropriate medical cleansing solution.

Appropriate Sterilisation of Equipment

Plinths and trolleys wiped over with a suitable disinfectant between clients.  Laundry should be changed after each client and washed above 60 degrees.  Bedroll and other one-use items should be disposed of following the correct procedures. The use of disposable items is promoted to reduce the risk of cross-infection. All sharp items to be disposed of in the sharps box. All re-usable equipment such as tweezers etc. should be sterilised before and after every client.

Sharps Injury Log

You must keep a log of all percutaneous injuries resulting from sharps. The log should contain the date and time the incident happened, a description of each incident including information on the type and brand of needle or device involved, where the incident took place, and an explanation of how the incident occurred. Even if your client is happy to continue the treatment, and no matter how minor the incident, it must be logged in the accident and injury book for insurance purposes and to comply with Health and Safety.

Saving and Re-using Pigments

It is important to use new pigments for each customer. You cannot re-use a pigment for another customer as this could cause cross infection/contamination. Once the colour has been agreed on, the initial pigment must be disposed of. Pigment that has been used is not sterile and must not be re-used.

A Guide to Controlling Micro-Organisms


Ammonia is commonly used as a base for trade liquids to kill bacteria. For example, Barbicide is used to soak suitable instruments in salons.


An antiseptic is a chemical substance that destroys or inhibits the growth of micro-organisms on living tissues.


An autoclave is a piece of equipment, rather like a pressure cooker, used to sterilise equipment. It works by heating purified water under pressure, to a temperature higher than 100°C; therefore creating an environment where germs cannot survive. It is most suitable for small metal pieces of equipment, such as tweezers and your Epibrow tool.

Refer to individual manufacturer’s instructions for use.


Bactericide is a chemical that will kill bacteria but not necessarily the spores, so reproduction may still take place. It is also called biocide, fungicide, virucide, sporicide.


Trade names for chlorhexidine include Savlon, and Hibitane. Chlorhexidine is widely used for skin and surface cleaning and some sunbed canopies. Check individual manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and suitability.


A detergent is a synthetic cleaning agent that removes all impurities from a surface by reacting with grease and suspended particles including bacteria and other micro-organisms. Detergents need to be used with water, but are ideal for cleaning large surface areas.


This is a chemical that kills micro-organisms but not spores – most commonly used to wash surfaces and to clean drains.

Phenol Compounds

Phenol compounds are ideal for large areas that need cleaning, but phenol does have a chlorine base and should not be used on the skin. It is used in industrial cleaning preparations.


This is the term used to describe conditions that are favourable to good health and preventing the spread of disease.


Sterilisation is the complete destruction of all living micro-organisms and their spores

Surgical Spirit

Surgical spirit is widely used and easy to purchase in chemists. It can be used for skin cleansing, and the removal and the removal of grease. Surgical spirit comes in varying strengths of dilution. A 70% alcohol base concentration is acceptable for cleansing.

Glossary – Terms Associated with Hygiene

Bacteria – Small one-cell micro-organisms, which need a moist warm atmosphere in order to survive.  They also need oxygen, and they give out carbon dioxide.  Some bacteria are harmless to the human body e.g. those found in the digestive tract.  Others are responsible for conditions such as impetigo, food poisoning and boils.

Bactericide -A chemical agent which will kill most bacteria but is not effective on viruses.

Virus – Minute ineffective particles, which are completely inactive outside the living cells they infect.  In suitable environments they are capable of reproduction and mutation.  Examples of viral infections are influenza, the common cold, hepatitis A, hepatitis B and HIV/AIDS.

Asepsis – The absence of infection from germs or micro-organisms.

Aseptic – Free form organism capable of causing disease.

Sepsis – Presence of infection due to germs or micro-organisms.

Sterilisation – The process used to achieve total destruction of all living organisms and spores.

Additional infection control information can be found at the back of the manual.

Government Legislation

Health and Safety at Work Act 1974

The purpose of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 is to secure the health, safety and welfare of both employees in the course of their work and self-employed persons, throughout the time they devote to work.

The Act is also concerned with the protection of the individual against risks to health and safety arising from, or in connection with, the activities of another person at work.  The employers duty in relation to the Act is to ensure as far as is reasonably practicable the health, safety and welfare of his/her employees.

The employee’s duty is to take reasonable care for the health and safety of themselves, and of other persons whom his/her acts or omissions at work may affect.

Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982

This act requires that any person carrying out semi-permanent treatments such as Epibrows should be registered with the Local Authority before commencing practice.  It is the operator who must be registered, not the premises.  Failure to register could result in a steep fine.  An inspector from the Environmental Health Department will visit the premises and meet with the operator before issuing a certificate of registration.  The inspector will wish to know about provisions for sanitation, hygiene, sterilisation of equipment and instruments used.  Many local authorities will only accept the use of pre-sterilised disposable needles.  The procedure for contaminated needle disposal and the storage of consumables will also be noted.

Disposal of Waste – Controlled Waste (Amendment) Regulations (1993).

Waste should be disposed of in an enclosed waste bin with a polythene bin liner that is durable enough not to tear. The bin should be regularly disinfected in a well-ventilated area whilst wearing appropriate PPE. Hazardous waste should be disposed of in accordance with COSHH procedures.

Clinical (contaminated waste) including blood and tissue fluid should be disposed of as recommended by the Environmental Agency in accordance with the Controlled Waste (Amendment) Regulations (1993). Items which have been used to pierce the skin should be safely discarded in a disposable sharps container. Contact your Local Environmental Health Department to check disposal arrangements.


Hand washing is vital no matter where you work, from offices and shops to hotels and salons. It carries even greater importance in some settings, such as healthcare aesthetics. You need to ensure your hands are clean to prevent infections from harming other people.

Washing your hands is an easy yet essential way to stop bacteria and germs from spreading, so you must know how to do it properly. The good news is that, no matter where you work, you can adopt effective hand washing steps, which are widely used by workplaces and recommended by the NHS.

Why is Hand washing So Important?

The importance of hand washing cannot be understated. Hands are the primary carriers of dirt, viruses, and bacteria, as they can come into contact with so many different surfaces throughout the day. Without proper hand washing, this could easily lead to something harmful entering the body, spreading elsewhere, or causing cross-contamination.

The following hand washing facts show just how easily hands can spread bacteria:

  • Globally, only one in five people wash their hands after using the bathroom.
  • The average office worker’s hands come into contact with 10 million bacteria per day.
  • An estimated 61% of healthcare professionals do not clean their hands correctly.
  • Around 50% of hospital-acquired infections can be easily avoided through better hand hygiene.
  • Contaminated hands can transfer viruses to more than 5 surfaces or 14 other objects.
  • Damp hands spread 1,000 times more bacteria than dry hands.
  • Bacteria can stay alive on hands for up to 3 hours.

Unfortunately, many people don’t know how to properly wash their hands or don’t make the necessary effort. In workplaces like aesthetics following proper hand washing procedures is a critical part of the business’s safety system, so there cannot be any room for error.

The good news is you can easily pass on and refresh hand hygiene information, as there are just 7 essential steps that everyone is capable of following.

What are the 7 Steps of Hand Washing?

These 7 hand washing steps, as advised by the NHS, are effective and straightforward for thorough cleaning. The recommended hand washing time is at least 20 seconds, so make sure you complete all the steps and don’t rush through them.

Step 1: Wet Hands

Wet your hands and apply enough liquid soap to create a good lather. The temperature of the water should be between 35ºC and 45ºC.

Step 2: Rub Palms Together

Rub your hands palm to palm in circular motions. Rotate clockwise and anticlockwise.

Step 3: Rub the Back of Hands

With your fingers linked through the other hand, use your right palm to rub the back of your left hand. Then swap.

Step 4: Interlink Your Fingers

Link your fingers together, facing each other, into clasped hands. Then rub your palms and fingers together.

Step 5: Cup Your Fingers

Cup your fingers together, with your right hand over and your left hand under. With your fingers interlocked, rub the backs of them against your palms. Then swap.

Step 6: Clean the Thumbs

Enclose your right hand around your left thumb and rub as you rotate it, then swap.

Step 7: Rub Palms with Your Fingers

Rub your fingers over your left palm in a circular motion, then swap.

Once you’ve followed these hand washing steps, you should then thoroughly rinse with warm running water and dry with a clean, disposable paper towel. Paper towels are the most hygienic way to dry your hands, but automatic hand dryers may also be used in your workplace. If yours does, make sure you do not touch any part of the hand dryer with your clean hands, as you will risk transferring bacteria back onto them. Likewise, you should never use a reusable towel to dry your hands, as they can harbour dangerous levels of bacteria that transfer back onto your hands.

If your taps have a push and release or automatic feature, use this as instructed. If not, you should use a disposable paper towel to turn off the tap.