Giving your clients fabulous PMU results is the best feeling ever, but unless you keep them safe and healthy, you could do more damage than good. As part of your PMU training, you’ve mastered the technique and learned how not to damage the skin. You have probably also taken the bloodborne pathogen training.
But an equally important part of protecting your clients’ wellbeing is keeping your salon spotlessly clean. This includes the tools, the chair or bed and the area around it, and you yourself. So, with the help of Art of Microblading’s Phi Master Ana Bojana Nikolin who’s provided us with exclusive insider information, PMUHub brings you a run down of key hygienic precautions PMU artists must keep in mind at all times.
A professional, responsible PMU artist has to know the protocol for handling their tools before, during, and after a session. If there’s a misstep in any phase, it could lead to serious consequences. Your client could get an infection or contract a disease, and while you should always be aware of the fact that you could endanger someone’s health, bear in mind that this could do irreparable damage to your image as well.
So never digress from prescribed instrument sanitization.
1. The drawing pencil
Most US states don’t prohibit reusing the drawing pencil for outlining on more than one client, as long as the tip is removed, and it’s never used on open skin. So after each use, use a sterile razor to sharpen the pencil enough to remove the layer of the product that came into contact with the client’s skin, and sterilize the rest of the pencil.
However, some US states prohibit reusing the drawing pencil, which means disposing of it after only one use. Check your local rules and regulations.
2. The blade or needle
The blade section of the microblading tool, or holder, and needle cartridges for PMU machines, are disposable and only meant for one use. Never use the same blade or needle on more than one client, for more than one session. This can lead to contamination by a range of infections like staph, hepatitis, and even HIV.
On that note, you should also be very careful not to hurt yourself when removing the blade section or needle cartridge from the holder or PMU machine. Even the smallest cut or jab could mean contamination, so never remove used disposable sharps without protective gloves, and even then, be extra careful.
All used disposable equipment must be disposed of in FDA-cleared sharps containers clearly labeled BIOHARAZD INFECTIOUS WASTE.
3. Sterilizing reusable instruments
All reusable instruments and equipment have to be properly sterilized after every session. These include, but are not limited to: the drawing pencil or marker, the blade holder, the PMU machine, the PMU machine stand, the compass, the mirror, the phone you use to take before & after PMU pictures etc.
Basically, anything you or the client touch during the procedure.
Some artists use quality germicidal sanitation cloths to thoroughly wipe their tools, other soak them in a solution of antibacterial soap followed by a cycle in an autoclave or a similar steam-sterilization machine.
Obviously, since the disposable blade comes in such close contact with the multi-use holder, this is where the risk of contamination is the biggest, so the importance of sterilizing the holder properly cannot be stressed enough.
In most states, if you’re using reusable instruments like holders, you are legally obligated have an autoclave machine (and use it!). However, these can be quite expensive (even the small ones are priced from $4000 upwards), and an autoclave cycle can take as long as 3 hours, which can be a problem on busy days. What’s more, not even an autoclave guarantees total sterilization of metal holders which have textured surfaces, and not all materials are autoclavable.
For all these reasons, experienced artists recommend using disposable holders instead of reusable ones. It may not be the most eco-friendly approach, but in the long run, it’s cheaper to go disposable, and it’s the safest option for your clients.
As for PMU machines, as long as you use disposable needle cartridges with a membrane and protect the machine with a plastic wrap, along with the cord (if your machine has one).
NOTE: Rules and regulations may vary from state to state. Check your local regulations.
Since PMU involves breaking of the skin’s surface, it must be done in a sanitary environment. This means keeping your workspace as clean as possible.
The bed and whatever other furniture and equipment you have in your workspace harbors all sorts of dust and bacteria that could contaminate your client’s open skin. The most practical way to prevent this is to cover the bed, the instrument tray, and all nearby surfaces with disposable paper covers or film barrier.
After each session, the coverings have to be properly disposed of, and the workstation should be wiped with sanitizer.
Sharps containers and containers for other disposable waste should be FDA-approved and kept close to the workstation, so you can dispose of contaminated waste as quickly as possible, without it touching any other surfaces. These containers must be without any damage, and they should be wiped down and sanitized regularly, too. Their disposal must be done following the FDA-prescribed protocol you can find here.
Extra tip: In most states, you cannot have carpeting in the room where PMU treatments are performed. Consider laminate or vinyl as alternatives.
1. Protective gloves
According to OSHA requirements, “gloves must be used where there is reasonable anticipation of employee hand contact with blood, … or non-intact skin”. Obviously, this means you must wear protective gloves throughout the procedure, and you must wash your hands thoroughly before putting them on.
The OSHA requirements also state that PMU techs must “wash their hands [and any other skin] immediately or as soon as feasible after removal of gloves or other personal protective equipment … with soap and water”. If no running water is available, sanitize your hands with hand sanitizer, but wash them as soon as possible.
2. Protective mask and cap/hairnet
PMU artists must wear a cap or hairnet to restrain their hair, and a protective mask over their nose and mouth at all times during the procedure so as not to contaminate the client’s open skin.
In line with COVID-19 prevention measures, you should wear them from the moment you enter the salon until you leave it.
3. Protective gown
It’s also advisable to wear a disposable gown or apron during every procedure so the risk of contaminating the client’s skin is further diminished, but also to protect your clothes from all kinds of stains.
NOTE: All disposable protective gear must be disposed of in adequate containers.
These hygiene-maintenance guidelines should be taken as a starting point and adapted to the rules and regulations of the state where you are practicing your craft. Check the website of your local health authority. If you can’t find sufficient information readily available, don’t hesitate to contact them via e-mail or telephone and be persistent until you get the information you need.
It’s your responsibility as a technician to protect the health and safety of your clients and keeping your PMU salon spotlessly clean is absolutely crucial to a successful business.