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Monday, March 03, 2003

Compiled by SDNP

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Beauty parlour perils

The  New Nation

They're the pleasure palaces women (and now even men) visit to get primped and pampered-and the last place you'd expect to pick up a nasty infection. But there is also an ugly side to the beauty business. here is what you need to look out for-and these are no myths!

Treacherous tweezers

Risks: impetigo, herps, hepatitis B and C.

A humble pair of tweezers may seem innocent enough when a you need to have you eyebrows plucked, but if they're left lying on salon benches or sitting in a beauty therapist's pocket, you can bet they haven't been sterlised after the last client.

You may be at risk of infection if your beauty therapist gouges out someone else's ingrown hair and then uses the unsterilised tweezers on you.

1. Always check that tools are sterilised and laid out on a tray.

2. Ask you therapist if you can see the autoclave-the sterilising container-before she starts tweezing.

If you notice the tweezers are wrapped in autoclave wrapping, it's also a good indication that they have been thoroughly sterilised.

Fearsome facials

Risks: impetigo, dermatits

If warm, moist towels aren't washed before reuse, they provide a breeding ground for skin nasties such as impetigo, a bacterial infection that causes sores.

Therapists who dip their fingers into products and then apply them to you face, also risk transferring infections such as dermatitis to your skin.


1. Ensure all towels and gowns used during your facial are fresh.

2. Make sure the therapist wears gloves if she has sores, cuts or skin infections on her hands.

3. Check that a spatula or cotton bud is used to apply products to your skin.

Woeful waxing

risks: warts, tinea, impetigo, and hepatitis B and C

When you have a bikini or leg wax, make sure the therapist uses a fresh spatula every time she applies the wax.

Otherwise skin matter from one persons can be passed to the next-along with viral warts, tinea, and impetigo.

hepatitis B and C are also potential hazards-as people often bleed after having a bikini wax-but the risk is small.


1. Find a therapist who uses individual wax pots, or a new spatula each time it's dipped into the pot.

2. Don't fall for the "hot wax kills everything" line, because it isn't hot enough to kill germs if it can be applied to skin.

3. Make sure the therapist doesn't wax over scabs or moles.



risks: HIV, hepatitis B and C

Electrolysis needles-used to remove hair on the face and body-need to be handled with caution. Like any instrument that pentrates the skin and comes into contact with blood, the needles can carry viruses, such as HIV.

Contracting hepatitis B or C is more of a risk, as the viruses can survive for days or even weeks on the surface of a needle.


1. Insist the therapist uses pre-sterilised, single-use needles-and watch them being removed from a sealed package.

2. The therapist should use a convered bin to dispose off used needles. Preparing skin with alcohol wipes also reduces the risk of infection.

Perilous pedicures

risks: warts, fungle infections

Warts and fungal infections can be passed on from client to client if pumies or pedi paddles are not sterilised.

It's also important to remember that beauty therapists are not podiatrists. Any therapist wielding a razor blade to remove hardened skin should be avoided.


1. Bring you own pumice, pedi paddle or cuticle stick

2. If you are having a manicure, watch our for therapists who reuse cuticle sticks-fungal infections can be passed on this way.

3. Look for therapists who used disposable paddles.

Manacing manicures

risks: warts, fungal infections, paronychia

If a therapist reuses cuticle sticks during a manicure, it can transfer infection from person to person, and may lead to warts or paronychia (a bacterial infection).


1. Take your own stick or look for a therapist who sterilises cuticle sticks and nail files between treatments.

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