Hygiene for cosmetic tattooing

Victoria Ammoscato   •   August 1, 2018

The implanting of pigment into the skin to perform Cosmetic Tattooing (Permanent Make Up) or Paramedical Tattooing requires that the skin is broken and as such the correct attention to avoiding cross contamination and risks to Technician and client.

I have put together some tips for technicians and also for the client to enable them to look for the right environment for their procedure.

The difference between sterile and aseptic.
Sterile means an item or surface has nothing present, meaning all forms of pathogens; bacteria, virus, fungi are not present. The moment you open an item it stops being sterile.
Aseptic means disinfected, all forms of pathogens; bacteria, virus, fungi are limited.
An environment cannot be sterile, even an operating room with filtered air system is not classed as sterile. An environment should however always be aseptic.The working area including floor cleaned down with high level hard surface disinfectant before and after every client.
Skin cannot be sterile, the presence of bacteria prevents this, we do however cleanse the area to be treated thoroughly and disinfect it to remove pathogens.
Sterile needles and disposables should be used, but remember the moment you open that product it is no longer sterile once it comes into contact with air.
Materials used should be sterile, example;

  • Sterile single use needle
  • Pigment pots
  • Gauze
  • Disposable applicator for drawing

The importance of gloves be worn when setting up, preparing client and during procedure
This prevents contaminating the items you are using, it is important for your own safety and that of clients to use gloves that meet with safety standards.
Vinyl gloves are not suitable for use, they do not meet with the standards for carrying out a procedure with needles, blood or other bodily fluids. Neither are they chemically resistant.

Ultimate Precaution
This means that each client is treated with the ultimate precaution, this is to protect Technician and clients.

    • Every time you break away from your contaminated zone, wash your hands and change your gloves, otherwise you are spreading contaminants (pigment w/ blood and other bodily fluids) all over everything you touch.
    • I have seen people dressed up for theatre then touching the whole world with their dirty gloves, including not changing gloves before taking photos, meaning that the device used is then contaminated with bodily fluid as you have been treating open skin.
  • Anything you are using during procedure needs to be decanted into a tray. Anything you are not using, pigments, disinfectant etc…needs to be kept off of your trolley.
  • All hard surfaces need to be covered, disposable bed cover, chair cover, machine cover, light cover, barrier film to any surfaces you touch, then at clean down removed and disinfected.
  • Hot running water in a seperate sink area for washing hands, we should wash hands frequently and follow the correct procedure. Cleanse, disinfect. Portable sinks are not appropriate for treatment rooms and sadly I have even seen training facilities with simply a portable sink.
  • Clean supplies; ie couch roll, bibs, caps, aprons or overalls should be stored away from working area.
  • Dirty area; seperate area for disinfecting
  • Tweezers, scissors should be autoclaved for each client if used after breaking skin.
  • A UV sanitiser is not an autoclave. Also items should be manually disinfected prior to being placed inside or preferably in ultrasonic bath and placed so that light can reach all sides, using them as a storage area means nothing gets disinfected correctly.
  • Clothing of operator should be protected with disposable apron/sleeves. If seeing multiple clients clothing becomes contaminated.
  • Mask should cover nose and mouth to prevent harbouring bacteria from being transferred to clients open skin.
  • Protect your eyes, never touch your eyes without removing gloves and washing hands your eyes are a prime source to pick up disease.

Needle Stick Procedure
No one wants to get an injury, but as we work with needles it has to be considered and the right steps followed if it does.

  • Remove needles from your device with care
  • Avoid leaving sharps lying around
  • Do not bend/break needles before discarding them
  • Discard needles with care and with the sharps facing away from you into the sharps disposal
  • Sharps boxes should be discarded before level is exceeded

If you get an injury, stop working immediately on your client, remain calm, clean hands under cool running water thoroughly and gently encourage bleeding at the site of puncture by squeezing the wound for several minutes, this allows potention contaminants are washed away instead of being absorbed to the bloodstream. Disinfect the area with soap disinfectant, then apply alcohol or bleach solution.
You need to inform your client and request that all medical history has been accurately divulged.
Seek urgent medical advice, contact your accident and emergency department where a medical professional will assess your risk. They may conduct tests and may request contact with your client regarding tests and medical history.


About the Author: Victoria Ammoscato

Victoria Ammoscato is an aesthetician specialised in cosmetic tattooing and skin rejuvenation. She was born in Oxford (United Kingdom) and was the first operator in the world to obtain ITEC Level IV qualification in Micropigmentation, the introduction and regulation of the non-existent regional qualification in England. In 2012 she moved from her clinic in Oxford to Italy, Monterotondo (Rm) where she opened her treatment clinic and training academy . She is the founder of Dermogenera the professional cosmetic range, specifically formulated for skin rejuvenation treatments including microneedling and also includes pigments, products and equipment for permanent make up treatments. Victoria has a strong international reputation as a teacher and expert in her field, sharing her knowledge with intensive and well-structured courses on all aspects of aesthetics.
By |2018-11-03T13:48:29+00:00August 1st, 2018|Latest Articles|