Sterilization is the process of making an object germ-free by the destruction of all kinds of bacteria, whether beneficial or harmful. Sterilization is of practical importance to the cosmetologist because it deals with methods used to prevent the growth of germs or destroy them entirely, particularly those which are responsible for infections and communicable diseases.
There are five well-known methods of sterilization and sanitation. These may be grouped under two main headings:
- Physical Agents:
a.) Moist heat.
*Boiling water at 212 degrees Fahrenheit for twenty minutes. (This method is no longer commonly used in beauty salons).
*Steaming – requires a steam pressure sterilizer. It is used in the medical field to kill bacteria and spores.
b.) Dry heat (baking) is used in hospitals to sterilize sheets, towels, gauze, cotton and similar materials.
C.)Ultra-violet rays in an electrical sanitizer are used in beauty salons to keep sanitized implements sanitary.
- Chemical Agents:
a.) Antiseptics and disinfectants are presently used in beauty salons.
b.) Vapors (fumigants) in a cabinet sanitizer are used to keep sanitized implements sanitary in beauty salons.
Chemicals are the most effective sanitizing agents that may be used in beauty salons for destroying or checking bacteria. The chemical agents used for sanitizing purposes are antiseptics and disinfectants.
* An antiseptic is a substance which may kill, or retard the growth of bacteria without killing them. Antiseptics can as a general rule is used with safety on the skin.
* A disinfectant destroys bacteria and is used to sanitize implements.
Several chemicals can be classed under both heads: a strong solution may be used as a disinfectant and a weak solution as an antiseptic. (Example: formalin, alcohol or “quats”).
Requirements of a good disinfectant:
1. Convenient to prepare
2. Quick acting
3. Preferably odorless
6. Non-irritating to skin
There are many chemical disinfectant agents on the market prepared ready for use. If these are used, select the ones that have been approved by the Board of Health or the State board of Cosmetology. Chemical commonly used in the beauty salon are:
- Quaternary ammonium compounds – to sanitize implements.
- Formaldehyde – to sanitize implements.
- Alcohol – to sanitize sharp cutting instruments and electrodes.
- Lysol, CN, etc. – to clean floors, sinks and toilet bowls.
A wet sanitizer is any acceptable large enough to hold a disinfectant solution in which the objects to be sanitized are completely immersed. A cover is provided to prevent contamination of the solution. Wet sanitizers come in various sizes and shapes.
Before immersing objects in a wet sanitizer containing a disinfectant solution, be sure to:
– remove hair from combs and brushes
– Wash thoroughly with hot water and soap.
– Rinse thoroughly
This procedure prevents contamination of the solution. Besides, soap and hot water remove most of the bacteria.
After the implements are removed from the disinfectant solution, they should be rinsed in clean water, wiped dry with a clean towel and stored in a dry cabinet sanitizer until ready to be used.
Dry or cabinet sanitizer is an airtight cabinet containing an active fumigant. The sanitized implements are kept clean by placing them in the cabinet until ready for use.
How fumigant is prepared. Place one tablespoonful of borax and one tablespoonful of Formalin on a small tray or blotter on the bottom of the cabinet. This will form formaldehyde vapors. Replace chemicals regularly as they lose their strength, depending on how often the cabinet door is opened and closed.
Formalin is also available in tablet form. Follow manufacturer’s directions.
Ultra-violet Ray Electrical Sanitizer
Ultra-violet ray electrical sanitizers are effective for keeping combs, brushes or implements clean until ready for use. Combs, brushes and implements must be sanitized before they are placed in the ultra-violet sanitizer. Follow manufacturer’s directions for proper use.
Chemical Sanitizing Agents
Quaternary Ammonium Compounds (“QUATS)
This group of compounds is effective as disinfectants. They are available under different trade and chemical names.
The advantages claimed are: short disinfection time, odorless and colorless, non-toxic and stable. A 1:1000 solution is commonly used to sanitize implements. Immersion time ranges from one to five minutes, depending upon the strength of the solution used.
CAUTION: Before using any “quat”, read and follow manufacturer’s directions on label and accompanying literature. Find out if product can be used in naturally soft or hard water or water that has been softened. Inquire whether it contains a rust inhibitor. Should the product lack a rust inhibitor, the addition of ½ of sodium nitrite to the solution prevents the rusting of metallic implements.
How to Prepare a 1:1000 Strength Solution of a Quaternary Ammonium Compound
If the product contains;
10 % active ingredient, add 1 ¼ oz. “quat” solution to 1 gallon of water.
12 % active ingredient, add 1 oz. “quat” solution to 1 gallon of water.
15 % active ingredient, add 3/4 oz. “quat” solution to 1 gallon of water.
Formalin is a safe and effective sanitizing agent which can be used either as an antiseptic or disinfectant, depending on its percentage strength. As purchased, Formalin is approximately 37 % to 40 % of formaldehyde gas in water.
Formalin is used in various strengths, as follows:
25 % solution (equivalent to 10% formaldehyde gas) – used to sanitize implements. Immerse them in the solution for at least ten minutes. (Preparation: 2 parts Formalin, 5 parts water, 1 part glycerine).
10 % solution (equivalent to 4 % formaldehyde gas) – used to sanitize combs and brushes. Immerse them for at least twenty minutes. (Preparation: 1 part Formalin, 9 parts water).
5 % solution (equivalent to 2% formaldehyde gas) used to cleanse the hands after they have been in contact with wounds, skin eruptions, etc. Also used to sanitize shampoo bowls and chairs. (Preparation: 1 part Formalin, 19 parts water).
Sanitizing With Chemical Disinfectants
1. Wash implements thoroughly with soap and hot water.
2. Use plain water rinse to remove all traces of soap.
3. Immerse implements in a wet sanitizer (containing approved disinfectant) for that required time).
4. Remove implements from wet sanitizer, rinse in water and wipe dry with clean towel.
5. Store sanitized implements in individually wrapped cellophane envelopes or keep in cabinet sanitizer until ready to be used.
Sanitizing with Alcohol
To sanitize manicuring or other implements, immerse them in 70% alcohol for 20 minutes.
Implements having a fine cutting edge are best sanitized by rubbing the surface with a cotton pad dampened with 70% alcohol. This application prevents the cutting edges from becoming dull.
Electrodes may be safely sanitized by gently rubbing the exposed surface with a cotton pad dampened with 70% alcohol.
After sanitation, place implements into a dry sanitizer until ready for use.
Sanitizing Floors, Sinks and Toilet Bowls
The disinfection of floors sinks and toilet bowls in the beauty salon calls for the use of such commercial products as Lysol, CN, pine needle oil or similar disinfectants. Deodorants are also useful to offset offensive smells and for imparting a refreshing odor.
Whatever disinfectant is being used, make sure that it is properly diluted as suggested by the manufacturer.
The use of chemical agents for sanitation involves certain dangers, unless safety measures are taken to prevent mistakes and accidents. Follow these safety rules:
1. Purchase chemicals in small quantities and store them in a cool, dry place; otherwise they deteriorate due to contact with air, light and heat.
2. Weigh and measure chemicals carefully.
3. Keep all containers labeled, covered and under lock and key.
4. Do not smell chemicals or solutions, as some of them have pungent odors.
5. Avoid spilling when diluting chemicals.
6. Prevent burns by using forceps to insert or remove objects from the source of heat.
7. Keep a complete first aid kit on hand.
Definitions Pertaining to Sanitation
1. Sterilize – to render sterile; to make free from all bacteria (harmful or beneficial) by the act of sterilizing.
2. Sterile- free from all germs.
3. Antiseptic – a chemical agent which may kill or retard the growth of bacteria.
4. Disinfect – to destroy bacteria on any object.
5. Disinfectant – a chemical agent having the power to destroy bacteria (germs or microbes).
6. Bactericide – a chemical agent have the power to destroy bacteria (germs or microbes).
7. Germicide – a chemical agent have the power to destroy bacteria (germs or microbes).
8. Asepsis – freedom from disease germs.
9. Sepsis – poisoning due to pathogenic bacteria.
10. Fumigant – vapor used to keep clean objects sanitary.
11. Sanitize – to render objects clean and sanitary.
Chemical solutions in sanitizers should be changed when necessary.
Manicuring implements must be kept in a disinfectant solution (70% alcohol) during the process of giving a manicure.
All articles must be clean and free from hair before being sanitized.
Combs and brushes must be sanitized after each patron has been served.
Shampoo bowls must be sanitized before and after each use.
All manicuring implements must be sanitized after each use on a patron.
Sanitize electrical appliances by rubbing surface with a cotton pad dampened with 70% alcohol.
All cups, finger bowls or similar objects must be sanitized prior to being used for another patron
Note: The immersing of implements in a chemical solution should conform to State Board of Cosmetology regulations issued by your state.
Sanitation is the application of measure to promote public health and prevent the spread of infectious diseases.
The importance of sanitation cannot be overemphasized. Cosmetic services bring the cosmetologist in direct contact with the patron’s skin, scalp hair and nails. Understanding sanitary measures insures the protection of the patron’s health.
Various governmental agencies protect community health by providing for a wholesome food and water supply and the quick disposal of refuse. These steps are only a few of the ways in which the public health is safeguarded.
Water for drinking purposes should be odorless, colorless and free from any foreign matter. Crystal clear water may still be unsanitary because of the presence of pathogenic bacteria which cannot be seen with the naked eye.
The air within a beauty salon should be neither dry nor stagnant, nor have a stale, musty odor. Room temperature should be about 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
The beauty salon can also be ventilated with the aid of an exhaust fan or changes in the quality and quantity of air brought into the beauty salon. The temperature and moisture content of the air can also be regulated by means of air conditioning.
A person with an infectious disease is a source of contagion to others. Hence, cosmetologists having colds or any communicable disease must not be permitted to serve patrons. Likewise, patrons obviously suffering from an infection disease must not be accommodated in a beauty salon. In this way, the best interests of other patrons will be served.
The public has learned the importance of sanitation and is now demanding that every possible sanitary measure be used in the beauty salon for the promotion of public health. Adopting the following sanitary rules will result in cleaner and better service to the public.
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