Lash Contraindications & Hygiene
Disclaimer – Please Read
It is important to ensure your client is eligible to have the lash or brow treatment they desire. You will need to have a consultation with your client and check them for contraindications that may threaten the safety of the procedure or your clinic. Some contraindications can be contagious to you, your staff and other customers. Read this thoroughly to ensure you are not putting anyone at risk.
During a consultation, it’s vital to ensure that your customer does not have any contraindications to the treatment.
Here are the most common contraindications for lash and brow related treatments. Most of them are infectious, so if in doubt, do not perform the treatment and recommend seeing a doctor.
Blepharitis (inflammation of the eyelid) is the most common lash disease, experienced by approximately 30% of all adults. It is even more common among wearers of lash extensions. Blepharitis is characterized by one or more of the following symptoms:
- Redness of the eyelids
- „Peeling“ skin on the eyelids
- Crusty, gunky eyes – especially upon waking up
- Small cysts on the edge of the lid
- Bloodshot eyes
- Feeling of something being in the eye
- Itchiness or a burning sensation in the eyes
Blepharitis usually looks as if the customer has forgotten to wash their eyes in the morning – the lashes are stuck together and partially or entirely covered with crust. Many are not even aware that it is a disease and think that they simply have crusty eyes.
Actually, the inflammation has three underlying causes:
- Blockage of sebaceous glands of the eyelid
- Demodex mites
- Acne or seborrheic dermatitis, i.e., disturbance in the function of sebaceous glands
The first two causes are more common among wearers of lash extensions, as customers sometimes avoid washing their lashes thoroughly, thinking that it would shorten the life of the extensions. This is also one of the reasons why you should explain the proper cleaning of the lashes during the consultation. The truth is that daily washing with a proper lash foam will increase lash retention, not the other way around.
Sebum and impurities are also an excellent environment for Demodex mites living in lash follicles (even in healthy individuals!). If Demodex mites begin reproducing en masse due to favourable conditions, it will lead to blepharitis. Instruct your customers in proper lash care.
Lash extensions should be removed after contracting blepharitis, as the disease deteriorates lashes and causes them to fall out as the follicle is infected.
It is much easier to prevent blepharitis than fight it once it appears.
The most effective products against blepharitis are:
- Hormone ointment (doctor’s prescription is required)
- Chrissanthie gel in an undiluted form
Conjunctivitis (“pink eye”)
Conjunctivitis is characterized by:
- Redness of the sclera and the inside of the eyelid
- Tear secretion
- Pus secretion from the eye
- Chemicals affecting eyes
- Smoke and other eye irritants
Chalazion and Stye
A stye is an acute inflammation of sebaceous glands on the edge of the eyelid. It can be identified by the characteristic red, tender bump near eyelashes. A stye is a bacterial inflammation, and you should not do a Lash Lift during it.
A chalazion is a small, usually painless lump or point of swelling that appears on your eyelid. A blocked meibomian or oil gland causes this condition. It can develop on the upper or lower eyelid and may disappear without treatment.
Chalazia is the term for multiple chalazion. A chalazion is sometimes confused with an internal or external stye. An internal stye is an infection of a meibomian gland. An external stye is an infection in the area of the eyelash follicle or sweat gland. Styes are usually painful and chalazia typically aren’t. Chalazia may develop after styes.
You should see your eye doctor if you think you have a chalazion, especially if it blocks your vision or if you’ve had chalazia in the past.
The head louse (Pediculus capitis) is a parasite visible to the naked eye that exclusively lives on the human scalp and feeds from blood sucked through the scalp. The notion that lice infestation is caused by poor hygiene is false. One may get lice from direct contact with someone’s head or by using someone’s comb, hairbrush, hat or scarf. Anyone may contract head lice.
Head lice may also move from hair into eyebrows and eyelashes without the individual being aware of them. If you discover head lice in a customer’s hair/eyelashes/eyebrows, always inform the customer about it. It is important to explain to the customer that these parasites are not caused by poor hygiene but may be contracted by anyone and virtually anywhere. Advise the customer to visit a pharmacy where special products against lice are available.
When the customer has left, clean (disinfect) ALL surfaces that the customer may have touched (pillow, bed, fleece blanket, tools, etc.) with extreme care. Wash the towels at a very high temperature!
How to identify lice:
- Even one live louse that moves freely on the skin is a sign of an infestation! Adult female head lice are light brown and approximately the size of a sesame seed.
- Lice eggs are firmly attached to hair, usually near the scalp. They are oval, with a diameter of 1-2 mm, whitish or yellowish; new pinhead-sized lice hatch after eight days and leave pearly white eggshells attached to the hair. If you notice that a customer has lice, be discreet when talking to the customer about it: the customer is very likely extremely embarrassed, so you should not increase this embarrassment even more.
NB! Head lice spread VERY easily, so make sure to follow all disinfection rules if you spot even one louse on your client!
Contraindications that are not infectious
Alopecia areata (partial hair loss)
Alopecia areata is a common autoimmune disorder that often results in unpredictable hair loss. In the majority of cases, hair (including lashes) falls out in small patches around the size of a quarter. For most people, hair loss is nothing more than a few patches, though in some cases it can be more extreme. Sometimes, it can lead to the complete loss of hair on the scalp (alopecia totalis) or, in extreme cases, the entire body (alopecia universalis).
Lash Lift is not recommended if hair loss is present, however slight.
Hygiene should be prioritized in the beauty industry and the prevention of bacterial transmission must also be visible for the customers. It’s not only required for hygiene purposes, but it’s also aesthetically pleasing to be in a clean salon.
Since the appearance of Covid-19, hygiene has become even more important and quite a few companies nowadays offer specialty Covid training. We recommend taking the free Barbicide Covid-19 Certification course: https://barbicide.com/certification/
What’s the difference between cleaning, sanitizing, disinfecting and sterilizing?
- Cleaning physically removes germs, dirt, and other impurities from surfaces but doesn’t necessarily kill them.
- Sanitizing lowers the number of germs on surfaces or objects by 99.9% either by removing (through cleaning) or killing (through disinfecting ) them. Sanitizing means that you are lowering the number of germs to a safe level.
- Disinfecting kills germs on surfaces or objects by 99.99%.
- Sterilizing kills ALL forms of life and other biological agents.
Disinfection is defined as the destruction of all pathogenic organisms or organisms capable of giving rise to infection. It is less effective than sterilization as all types of disinfectants do not destroy spores.
Sterilization refers to any process that eliminates, removes, kills, or deactivates ALL forms of life and other biological agents such as fungi, bacteria, viruses, spore forms, prions, unicellular eukaryotic organisms present in a specified region.
Although sterility cannot be achieved in a salon (except temporarily for tools), the working environment should be kept as clean as possible. Microorganisms grow in an unhygienic environment; to prevent this, the technicians must be aware of the precautions and do their utmost to prevent bacterial transmission.
The following recommendations are general guidelines; make sure also to follow your country/state-specific requirements.
How to prevent bacterial transmission?
Using disposable products is the easiest way to keep everything clean.
- Make sure to keep disposables in a covered box/drawer to keep them clean.
- Never double dip a cotton swab, brush or microfiber brush into a product again after it has come into contact with lashes. For instance, drip lash remover onto a dish and wet the brush there instead of taking it directly from the bottle.
Be extremely scrupulous with personal hygiene:
- Disinfect your hands before each customer and every time after using your phone during treatments.
- Clean under your nails daily, as impurities and bacteria tend to accumulate there.
- If you have a cough or feel that you might be getting a cold, do not receive customers and get tested for Covid. Return to work only after you have received a negative testing result.
- When detacking tape used for treatments, use a clean (paper) towel for the purpose, NOT your own or the customer’s skin. Detacking against skin peels off a layer of dead skin cells, so it’s hardly hygienic to place the tape near the customer’s eyes afterward.
- Wear a mask during treatments.
You can disinfect only hard surface tools enough for multiple uses. Brushes and mascara wands have soft, dense bristles that can not be disinfected sufficiently, so they may NOT be shared between different customers to prevent transmission of bacteria!
NB! Tools may be disinfected in a special disinfecting bath. Using disinfectant wipes or sprays DOES NOT offer a disinfection level that’s high enough for professional use, so only use them on top of soaking, not instead of soaking.
Fill the disinfecting bath with a mixture of water and concentrate according to the instructions. We recommend using Barbicide.
- Wash tools with soap and water first to get rid of anything that could layer up and prevent proper sanitation.
- You should disinfect the tools (tweezers, lash lift tool, silicone shields, etc.) with suitable products after each customer. If something is dropped during work, disinfect it before using it again.
- Rinse tools after disinfection.
- Keep disinfected equipment ideally in a UV disinfection box or covered on a clean paper towel. Change the paper towel while disinfecting your tools.
- Change the disinfecting fluid with regular intervals, as bacteria can even begin growing there in time. Change the solution according to the manufacturer’s instructions, either daily or once a week.
How to sanitize Lash Lift silicones/rods
- Put silicone shields into soapy water immediately after removing them to loosen the tint.
- Let them soak for as long as it takes to remove all product residue with ease.
- Then rinse everything off.
- Disinfect the shields in the disinfection box NB! Do not put them into autoclave as the heat will damage the shields.
- Rinse again with clean water to remove any residual disinfectant before using them again.
- Store in a closed box.
NB! Silicone shields may be used up to 4-5 times, as the disinfectant solution makes their surface more porous. After 4-5 uses, the shields are so porous that they may retain bacteria, so they are no longer hygienic enough for customers!
- Wash the floors of your workspace with regular intervals
- Towels and blankets kept on the work table and used during treatments should be changed and washed on a regular basis. Depending on the current Covid situation, a lot of countries have prohibited the use of blankets altogether as they can not be disinfected properly between customers.
- Never let your hands rest against the customer’s bare forehead. Besides the discomfort that the movements cause for the customer, it is also unhygienic. Place a clean towel or a special headband on the customer’s forehead. You can also replace the headband or towel with a single-use surgical face mask. You can simple use the mask as you would a headband secueds at the ears.
- Fasten the bands behind the customer’s ears to prevent the mask from slipping off.
- It’s useful to have a UV sanitizer box available to keep sterilized tools in it (they are sometimes called sterilizer boxes for marketing reasons, but they only offer sanitizing properties). There are also UV sanitizer boxes available for phones, and some of them even charge phones while sanitizing them!
- If a customer with something contagious has been in your salon, make sure to take ANY precaution necessary to prevent it from spreading. When the customer has left, clean (disinfect) ALL surfaces that the customer may have touched (pillow, bed, fleece blanket, tools, etc.) with extreme care. Wash the towels at the highest temperature to kill bacteria