The joy of my job is that with the exception of booked travel, I never know what market I may be supporting in terms of cleaning and disinfection. This week I attended the Premier Orlando International Beauty event. It was 2 days of jaw dropping beauty, personal style and in some cases questionable infection control. If you were looking for a new hair style or colour, nail art, skin care tips there was no way you could not come home with ideas! The key is whether you’re brave enough to follow through on some of the ideas you came home with!
In the Professional Beauty market what amazes me the most is the difference between states in terms of the level of cleaning and disinfection required for tools and implements. In the healthcare world (hospitals, dental, etc.), the guidelines are standard across the nation and everyone is generally doing the same thing. The same cannot be said in spas, salons or nail shops. If you’re an infection control nut like me you may want to take some time to investigate what the State Cosmetology Boards require for cleaning and disinfection requirements are before your next mani-pedi. As I’ve come to learn, for most states the use of an EPA registered disinfectant is sufficient for tools. My question is what type of EPA registered disinfectant? A low level disinfectant that can kill bacteria, may or may not be able to kill hardier non-enveloped viruses and may or may not kill relevant bacterial pathogens? Should an intermediate level disinfectant be used that can kill TB? Are the facilities allowed to use the solution as a soak for 1 day, multiple days or do they have to change after each disinfection cycle? How do they test to ensure that the product is at the appropriate concentration?
My personal preference is the use of a High Level Disinfectant. These are FDA registered disinfectants that undergo stringent testing and validation to be able to disinfect medical devices via soaking applications. The testing requires a soil challenge, proven ability to kill a higher number of organisms and the products are generally designed and tested in such a way to allow for a re-use claim (meaning once put into a soaking try you can use for multiple days in a row) and must have a method to test and verify that they remain within the appropriate concentrations to ensure disinfection has occurred.
But that’s not really the reason for this week’s blog. My reason was what I saw in terms of lack of infection prevention measures. This show provided a means to see all of the new products for sale and often provided the ability to watch demonstrations or try the products. I saw emery boards that are supposed to be single use being used on multiple people. I saw dremel type sanding bits being used on multiple people with perhaps a wipe of a tissue sprayed with alcohol. I saw microblading and permanent make-up tattooing being demonstrated – sure they had gowns on, but I’m not certain how the multiple use devices were being disinfected. I saw people trialing teeth whitening systems. It was all fascinating, but by golly I kept my hands to myself and tried NOTHING!
Similar to my Pools Poised for Plagues blog that highlighted the number of outbreaks associated with public swimming pools and the highest rates being in the summer, I suppose it’s time to remind ourselves that summer too is a time when many of us want our feet, toes and nails to look pretty. After this week it’s a reminder to myself to ask how mani-pedi tools and implements are disinfected if trying a new place. ruth be told, I think if I can’t get into my preferred facility and aesthetician then I may just settle for doing it myself and hope that I can paint within the lines!