“Infection control protects both the client and the professional from the spread of infections that can lead to serious complications such as rashes, respiratory problems and scarring,” says Ashley White, an Atlanta-based licensed esthetician, in Georgia. To protect you, she wants you to be aware of these hair removal “red flags” before your next appointment.
5 hair removal red flags to watch out for
1. Double wax dipping
As far as offenders go, double dipping is probably the worst, White says. “There’s absolutely no way to prevent cross-contamination when you come in contact with someone’s hair or skin and use the same instrument to dip into wax that other people will be also on display,” she said. This can lead to bacterial growth and an increased risk of infection, so you’ll want to make sure your practitioner uses a new tool (be it a wooden stick or otherwise) each time they dip for more wax.
2. Reuse of single-use items
Another big no-no when it comes to waxing is when the esthetician reuses single-use items — think waxing strips or applicator sticks. Since these tools cannot be sanitized or disinfected once they are used, they must be discarded to prevent bacterial spread, White says.
3. Dirty and unprotected hands
According to White, hand washing prevents any potential contamination between surfaces and customers, so keep an eye out to make sure your shoe shiner is doing just that before seeking treatment. Every time they touch their tools, products or PPE, they should do so with clean hands.
For that extra necessary layer of protection, you also want to make sure your practitioner is wearing gloves. Because there is always the possibility of light to moderate bleeding during waxing, it helps to further prevent the spread of viruses and disease.
4. A lack of admission forms
“I’ve noticed that a lot of hair removal specialists can be quite relaxed when it comes to intake forms,” White says. “Even though the sessions are relatively brief, it’s important to always ask each client each time what medications or exfoliants they can use.”
Why are these pre-session forms so important? Certain medications (like tretinoin) and skin exfoliating products (like retinoids and acids) can predispose people to skin sensitivities that lift the skin during the hair removal process. “This can lead to scarring and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation,” says White. Intake forms help tell your shoe shiner about any risk factors and can help you avoid footsteps and chafing.
6. Unlicensed Practitioners
People who perform beauty treatments, including hair removal services, need a license to operate their business. Depending on the state, estheticians are required to complete hours of training and pass an exam. This ensures that they have received the appropriate training on disinfection and sterilization protocols. Look for a license on your living room wall – if you don’t see one immediately, ask for more information before allowing anyone to touch your skin.
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