14 June 2019

A report* out today from the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) shows that almost one in five people (18%) who have had a tattoo, cosmetic piercing, acupuncture or electrolysis in the last 5 years experienced negative side effects.  The most common reaction was burning or swelling, with one in ten needing medical treatment.

There has been a massive rise in the number of tattoo parlours over the last 10 years, and now one in five people now have a tattoo.  In beauty sector, there has been rising demand for cosmetic treatments such as anti-wrinkle treatments, microblading and micropigmentation which involve piercing the skin.  As well as localise skin infections at the site of the tattoo or piercing, there is also the risk of transmitting blood-borne viruses such as Hepatitis or HIV.  Infection control is therefore vital to ensure client safety and the safety of practitioners too.

We strongly recommend that salons and their team members brush up on infection control procedures in the wake of this new report

Hilary Hall, NBF chief executive, said: “The basics of infection control are hand washing, using appropriate protective clothing, including gloves and face/eye protection, safe procedures for using and disposing of needles and other sharps, and rigorous sanitisation, disinfection and sterilisation.  We strongly recommend that salons and their team members brush up on infection control procedures in the wake of this new report.  The NBF health and safety toolkit for beauty salons is a good starting point as it provides a full set of risk assessments covering a wide variety of beauty treatments, including those which pierce the skin.”

An in-depth toolkit on tattooing and piercing from the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, Public Health England and other bodies is available here

*Skins and needles, RSPH