Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Bacteria... YUCK!

What do you think of when you hear the word "bacteria?"

I immediately see these tiny, disgusting, million-legged critters... my whole body itches... are you itchy? I just got itchy :-/

Fear not! Not all bacteria is bad. Here's the breakdown:

Nonpathogenic bacteria is helpful or harmless, such as decomposing garbage for improving soil fertility, where as, Pathogenic bacteria is the complete opposite. In this group belong the parasites, which requires a host for continued growth.

What about Infection? Now that's another scary word...

Infection occurs when body tissues are invaded by disease causing or pathogenic bacteria. The presence of pus is a sign of infection... YUCK!

Here are some measures of prevention one can practice in order to stop the spread of any local, general, or contagious infections:

Decontamination, the removal of pathogens and other substances from tools and surfaces. Sterilization, is the highest level of decontamination. is a higher level of decontamination than sanitation.

Decontamination involves the use of physical or chemical means to remove inactivate, or destroy pathogens so that the object is rendered safe for handling, use, or disposal. Sterilization completely destroys every organism on a surface whether beneficial or harmful, where as disinfection provides the level of protection required by the salon to kill most organisms, with one exception. Disinfection does not kill bacterial spores, but this is not necessary in the salon environment.

Make sure all disinfectants are approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and each individual state. Also, check the label for a registration number and ensure the label tells you exactly which organisms the disinfectant has been tested for, such as HIV-1 or the Hepatitis B virus.

Now, besides the EPA registration number, federal law requires manufacturers to provide you with important information in the form of a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS), along with other important information, such as directions for proper use, safety precautions, and a list of active ingredients. Operating without an MSDS poses a health risk to anyone in a salon who comes in contact with hazardous materials.

Have you ever heard of OSHA? Sounds familiar?

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was created as part of the U.S. Department of Labor to regulate and enforce safety and health standards in the workplace. The standards set by OSHA are particularly relevant to the cosmetology industry because of the nature of the chemicals used.

The following are examples of things that can and cannot be disinfected:

Orange wood sticks, Emory board nail file
Combs, Brushes, Scissors, Razors, Clipper blades, Nippers, Electrodes

Here are the types of disinfectants you can use in order from most effective to least effective:

1. Quaternary Ammonium Compounds (QUATS), disinfecting in 10-15 min
2. Phenols, a caustic poison, must be handled with care, avoiding skin and eyes
3. Alcohol and bleach, although used to disinfect, in order to effectively work, the strength of ethyl alcohol must be no less than 70%. Unfortunately, it is not legal to use alcohol as a disinfectant in most states, they are extremely flammable, evaporate quickly, and are slow acting.

Last but not least, here are some safety procedures you can follow to ensure the highest level of cleanliness for your clients:

1. Always wear GLOVES!
2. Use tongs, gloves, or draining basket to remove implements from disinfectant.
3. Always add disinfectant to water, not water to disinfectant.
4. Keep AWAY from children,
5. Never pour on your bare hands - can cause skin irritation and increase chance of infection.
6. Always label bottles or containers containing disinfectant.
7. Avoid overexposure - overuse is detrimental to the environment.

Disinfecting Implements:
1. Pre-clean to remove hair, filings, and other such loose matter by scrubbing with soap and water.
2. Rinse thoroughly and pat dry with clean towel.
3. Put on gloves, goggles and or safety glasses.
4. Mix disinfectant according to manufacturers directions.
5. Use gloves or tongs.
6. Remove with tongs or basket or gloves.
7. Rinse thoroughly and dry.
8. Place disinfected implements in a clean, closed, dry, disinfected container.

I have many responsibilities as a salon professional, but none more important than my responsibility to protect my clients' health and safety as well as my own.

If you should have any questions, please email me at yentlnicole@gmail.com, or comment below! Thanks for reading!