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How clean is your IPL handpiece?

Written by Ruth Nicholson - NZ Laser on July 31st, 2017.      0 comments

Imagine you are next into the clinic treatment room all ready for your IPL hair removal treatment, you’ve been planning this for a while and now the day is finally here (Pardon the pun), - the therapist tells you she’s just done another ladies Brazilian before yours and now it’s your turn. Would your mind drift to ‘I hope her IPL handpiece is clean for me’? – Well sadly it has probably only been wiped over with alcohol wipes and a tissue at best. So, the question that should be asked is, Is that enough?

No is the answer, the viruses found on your IPL handpiece that has been in contact with multiple people’s body areas every day; could be contaminated with human papilloma virus (HPV), and or the herpes simplex virus, neither of these viruses are completely killed by alcohol. ²While HPV is susceptible to certain disinfectants, including hypochlorite and peracetic acid, it is resistant to alcohol-based disinfectants. Studies also show that glutaraldehyde is not effective at inactivating the HPV virus either.

Biofilm which is a build-up of organic matter (Dirt, oil and debris) that can coat surfaces of medical devices, including the crystal treatment head of your IPL machine hand piece, leaving it looking more like a dirty fish tank. This biofilm can contain bacteria pathogens such as Staphylococcus aureus, and fungal spores such as candida. A wipe over with alcohol solution does not remove this biofilm. To ensure your IPL crystal handpiece is adequately ‘clean’ for every client a mix of cleansers possessing detergent and surfactant properties to remove biofilm build up, and broad spectrum anti-viral disinfectant agent should be used. As infection control in a clinical setting is a complex topic, a quick call to your beauty supplier should be able to point you in the right direction. Your IPL crystal treatment window should look completely transparent, crystal clean and be ideally wiped with Chlorhexidine between clients. This includes the holster or bracket that holds the handpiece.

The main point of this article is to get beauty professionals thinking about the importance of infection control in their clinics.

² Reference source: Penn State College of Medicine news.
 

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