A therapy or beauty room code of hygiene practice should be at the forefront of every therapist, beautician and hairdresser. The practice of hygiene seems to be more of a state of mind than an actual respected set of regulations. While we’re training, we get told about cross-infection, client and therapist safety, and that fresh towels should be used for each client. But go out there in the real world, and I’ve found there’s a world of difference between what people are taught and what they actually do. Perhaps that’s frame of mind, or cost, or just simply being lazy, but there is a big difference in the levels of hygiene in salons.
My husband and I once went for a massage. The therapist worked on her own, and was the only person in the salon. I didn’t notice quickly enough to make the connection, but once we left, it hit me squarely between the eyes. He went first, then I went in afterwards. I should have twigged, but he’d come out from between the towels, then spread them up after him, as he’s got used to doing with the bedcovers at home, out of habit. I went in, got ready and jumped into the towels.
After the massage, I realised the therapist hadn’t gone into the room between my husband coming out and me going in. I’d jumped into his pre-used towels. Now that’s not a big deal considering we’re married and share a duvet. THEN, it got me… How many other people had used those towels before us?
As we work with close body contact there is no avoiding the potential for client therapist cross contamination, but clients should be able to rely on the therapist carrying out a good standard of hygiene and cleanliness, with clean hands.
Client and Therapist Footwear
Feet should be covered at all times, except where a client is in a shower, sauna or on the couch. Athlete’s foot and verrucas are easily spread, and clients should not go for treatments while they have these conditions, as the risk for cross contamination is high.
Any cuts, warts and abrasions on the therapists hands should be covered.. The same should be expected from clients. For safety, therapists should wash their hands thoroughly before and after each treatment. For therapists finger cots cover the whole finger, or waterproof plasters should be changed for each client.
Clean towels and headbands should be used for each client. Consider these single use before washing. If you cannot commit to this, consider disposable towels for your clients.
When dispensing products, there are a few ways. Choose pump dispensers, where your fingers never touch the exit point on the container. If you can’t choose pump dispensers, use spatulas or orange sticks to scoop out product, and discard them after one use, to ensure your fingers don’t add bacteria to the products. Don’t double dip your spatulas or orange sticks.