Beauticians who carry out skin penetration procedures need to put in place infection control practices to prevent infections spreading from one person to another.

Last updated: 01 September 2022
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About this fact sheet

Beauticians carry out many beauty treatments that involve skin penetration procedures, including waxing, electrolysis, microdermabrasion, cuticle cutting, razor scrapping and cosmetic tattooing.

These skin penetration procedures can damage client’s skin and there is a risk of infections spreading between clients. Poor cleaning and hygiene of equipment and surfaces can spread viral, bacterial or fungal infections from one client to another. This can result in diseases such as Hepatitis C and B, or staphylococcal, streptococcal and pseudomonas infections.

Businesses can find the rules for skin penetration procedures in the Public Health Regulation 2022 (the Regulation).

Equipment

  • All equipment needs to be in good working order, be cleaned and dried after use and be kept in a clean and dry condition.
  • All articles that penetrate the skin must be sterile before use.
  • Sterilisation must be carried out in a steam-under-pressure bench top autoclave in line with AS/NZS 4815:2006 Office-based health care facilities - Reprocessing of reusable medical and surgical instruments and equipment, and maintenance of the associated environment (see fact sheet How to clean and sterilise reusable equipment and instruments).
  • Equipment that is difficult to clean and sterilise should be single-use.
  • If needles are used in skin penetration procedures, they must be sterile, single-use and disposed of into an appropriate sharps container directly after use.
  • Articles that are used in a skin penetration procedure but do not penetrate the skin must be correctly cleaned and kept in a clean condition.
  • Clean towels and linen must be used for each new client. Linen should be washed in detergent and hot water. If an impervious cover is used (such as plastic), it must be cleaned and disinfected before it is used for each new client.

Business hygiene

  • The business is to be kept in a clean condition.
  • Treatment areas such as benches should be cleaned between each client and/or a clean covering placed over the treatment surface.
  • The business should have documented cleaning and maintenance procedures for the fixtures, fittings and equipment, and staff should be trained in these procedures.
  • All waste should be tightly bagged and disposed of daily.
  • Sterile packaging should be opened just prior to starting the treatment.
  • Sterile parts of the equipment that will penetrate the skin should not be touched with bare hands. If handling sterile equipment is necessary, a pre-packed sterile alcohol swab, a sterile dry swab, or sterile single-use gloves should be used.
  • To prevent cross contamination, all liquids, creams, inks and pigments need to be decanted into single-use containers, and a new single-use applicator used for each person.
  • If wax is used for hair removal, the wax and any instrument used to apply the wax (spatula, roller or cartridge) must be immediately disposed of after completing the procedure (no double dipping).

Personal hygiene for beauticians

  • Beauticians must wear clean gowns or aprons and single-use gloves during skin penetration procedures (this does not apply to waxing unless there is an expected exposure to bodily substances during the procedure).
  • Cuts or wounds should be covered with sealed waterproof bandages.
  • Hands should be washed:
    • before and after attending to a client
    • before and after a procedure
    • after exposure to a body substance
    • after touching a client's surroundings
    • after the removal of gloves.
  • See Hand Hygiene Australia website for additional information on how to wash your hands.

Other requirements

  • The business must be registered with the local council, meet all necessary planning and building standards, and have all necessary approvals before opening.
  • The business should be designed and constructed so that it can be easily and correctly cleaned (see fact sheet Skin penetration business design and construction). Contact the local council to
    ensure all local rules have been met.
  • Sharps containers must meet:
    • AS/NZS 4261:1994 - Reusable containers for the collection of sharp items used in human and animal medical applications, or
    • AS 4031:1992 - Non-reusable containers for the collection of sharp medical items used in health care areas.
  • Clinical waste (that is, waste containing any blood or bodily fluids) must be disposed of into a clinical waste bin and then collected by a licensed waste contractor.
  • Beauticians cannot, under any circumstances, supply a Schedule 2 product to their clients. Where required or desired, the client can purchase topical anaesthetic medicines (such as Lignocaine 2%, Emla cream and patches, Medijel, and Xylocaine jelly 2%) from a pharmacy and bring it to the salon for their personal use only.
  • Schedule 4, prescription only medicines (injections) such as botulinum toxin (Botox) and injectable hyaluronic acid dermal fillers, can only be administered by a registered medical practitioner or a nurse practitioner.

Fees and penalties

Further action may be taken if a business fails to comply with the Regulation. This may include:

  • An Improvement Notice or Prohibition Order accompanied by an administration fee ranging from $285 to $295.
  • Penalty notices ranging from $110 to $1100 for an individual and $220 to $2200 for a corporation. Maximum penalties are higher for prosecutions and may include a daily penalty.
  • If a Prohibition order is issued, the business must display a copy at or near the entrance to the business where it is clearly visible to customers.
  • Prohibition Order reinspections attract a fee of $255 per hour with a minimum charge of 30 minutes and a maximum charge of 2 hours.

Further advice

Current as at: Thursday 1 September 2022
Contact page owner: Environmental Health