I saw a recent news article that I thought I’d share with you. Given the large number of
women who are trying to find solutions to the problem of cellulite, and the rise in popularity of a treatment called “mesotherapy”,
where the skin is injected with several small doses of vitamins and plant extracts. This practice has been linked to an outbreak of
severe skin reactions that failed to respond to treatment with antibiotics.
The Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report published by the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention reported an outbreak that was first recognized by a physician who had several patients with skin reactions at sites on
their bodies where they had been given mesotherapy injections. There were health departments in Virginia and the District of
Columbia that identified 16 patients with similar reactions. All of the patients were linked to a single, unlicensed provider.
The report says that redness and swelling around the injection sites were common, and some
patients also had drainage or ulceration. Eleven reported that the lesions had persisted at least 10 to 16 weeks. The patients
reportedly were told that their injections contained various substances including plant extracts from artichoke and thuja and
liquid "graphites," none of which are approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for subcutaneous injection.
The practitioner told the patients that he was a physician from Colombia, but it was
discovered that he was not licensed to practice medicine in Virginia, Maryland or the District of Columbia. Tests of the infected
tissues showed colonies of a microbe in the same family as the organism that causes TB, and subcutaneous tissues showed evidence of fat necrosis and inflammation.
Fourteen patients recalled that the practitioner who administered the shots failed to
follow safe-injection practices, such as washing his hands, wearing gloves, or preparing the skin with an antiseptic. Several
remembered that he had used a multi-dose vial.
This illustrates the need for us to be aware of at least the basic sanitation procedures
and sterilization protocols when we go for any cosmetic procedure. Whenever you encounter a situation in a salon or clinic and you
feel the least bit unsure as to whether something is sterile or not, you have a right and a responsibility to yourself to call a
halt before you risk an infection.
This brings to mind another trend to be on the lookout for:
There is an increasing number of what’s known as “booth spas” appearing in shopping malls.
These “spas” offer facials, waxing services, and eyebrow tweezing, as well as nail services. The hazard in these types of places is
that there is seldom any facility for hot running water so that the employees can wash their hands, or properly clean the utensils and implements, etc.
Most countries, provinces and states have laws regulating the operation of salons and
salon type establishments. The laws may vary, but all generally require the availability of hot water to provide adequate sanitary procedures.
This isn’t to say that all such places are unsanitary, or that they are operating outside
of the legal requirements. But you should be careful about where you go to get cosmetic services. Many infections and diseases are
easily communicable if sanitary guidelines aren’t followed. If you’re ever in doubt as to the sanitary conditions of a location,
steer clear. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Warning Signs of Improper Sanitation:
In an effort to help you spot the warning signs and protect yourself against potential
infections, here are some things to watch for when at a salon or spa:
In the Salon (or Nail Salon):
Sanitizer Jars: These are the jars of blue liquid (sanitizer) that combs
and other tools are stored in. When you visit your stylist’s station, this liquid should be clean and clear, not cloudy. It should
never have anything floating in the liquid. The proper procedure for sanitation is that tools are supposed to be cleaned thoroughly
with hot water and detergent, rinsed completely and then placed in the sanitizer for at least ten minutes for sanitation. If the
liquid in the jar is cloudy or otherwise dirty, then you can bet that the tools inside it aren’t clean either.
Brushes and Combs: The combs a stylist uses on your hair should
be cleaned and stored in the sanitizer jar mentioned above. However, most brushes are too large to be easily stored in this manner.
Brushes therefore should be cleaned completely, sanitized, and stored in a clean, dry location until needed for use on a client.
Never let a stylist use a brush on your head that has hairs from previous use trapped in its teeth. Bacteria and parasitic
infections such as lice can be transmitted from client to client by unclean brushes. Even natural bristle brushes are to be
cleaned thoroughly with detergent and hot water, and dried completely before being reused on a new client.
Capes and Drapes: While the cape used by a stylist to keep the hair off
of you can be reused repeatedly without washing between clients, the stylist is required to use a towel or paper collar around your
neck to prevent the cape from coming into direct contact with your skin. If the stylist doesn’t use something as a buffer between
you and the neck of the cape, you can safely assume that he or she didn’t use one with the last client either.