Beauty salon autoclave – What to look out for and how to choose?

The safety of cosmetic treatments is dependent on many factors. The most important factor is the high sterilization of tools and equipment. The autoclave, a device that sterilizes surgical instruments according to standards, will ensure the highest degree of hygiene.

The effects of cosmetic treatments in beauty salons on the body’s tissues are less severe than those performed by, e.g. undergoing surgical procedures. Unsterile cosmetic equipment can pose a danger, just as unsterile surgical tools can pose a risk to our lives. The sterilizer that provides the highest safety and hygiene should be used by beauty salon staff to sterilize their tools. Let’s learn more about an autoclave and how to select the right one for your beauty salon.

Cosmetic autoclave: What is it?

Medical instruments, including those used in tattoo studios, must be sterilized and disinfected. An autoclave is a device that ensures tools remain sterile. It is a type of heated, hermetically sealed tank that sterilizes instruments. Steam at a specific temperature is the sterilizing agent in an autoclave. It kills pathogenic microorganisms’ proteins, thereby eliminating them. It can affect active bacteria, viruses, and fungi and their spore forms. A steam pressure autoclave is one of the best and most efficient sterilizing instruments. Autoclaves used to be expensive. They are now more affordable, and fewer cosmetic companies hand sterilization tools to outside companies. This is both time-consuming and costly. Sterilization should be done on all instruments used in beauty treatments and may come in contact with blood or other bodily fluids. This applies to both small tools like tweezers and files and larger equipment such as cutters, heels saws, milling machines, and wheel saws. The class S autoclave can sterilize unpacked instruments, porous, hollow, and solid objects. It is also known as the cosmetic autoclave. This autoclave is the most advanced on the market. It can sterilize all unpacked and packed instruments, including those with complex structures. For client safety, sterilizing cosmetic tools with an autoclave is essential. It is impossible to know the history of anyone who has had a treatment or simple service performed before us. Any discontinuity in the tissue, even during simple procedures like eyebrow adjustment or nail decorations, could pose a risk for HIV infection, mycosis, or hepatitis B or C.

Disinfection or sterilization

It is common to confuse the terms “disinfection”, “sterilization”, and “sterilization”. They refer to different processes. Disinfection refers to the destruction of the vegetative form microorganisms. Their number will decrease significantly as a result. Microbes that are not destroyed by disinfection are more likely to be eliminated the longer they are left. The disinfection effect is dependent on many factors, such as the environment where the microorganisms are found, their number, species, and physiological activity. The instrument that has been disinfected is not considered sterile. This procedure is intended to prevent the spread of infections and microorganisms. There are two types of disinfection: chemical and physical. You can use steam at 100-105degC to disinfect pre-treated equipment or a UV lamp. The other option is sterilization, which eradicates all active microorganisms (vegetative and spore). If there are no living microbes, the instrument is considered sterile. There are three types of sterilization methods: chemical, mechanical and physical. However, the most common method is physical.

UK law doesn’t require beauty salons to use an autoclave to sterilize reusable equipment. It is best to wash your equipment with hot water and soap, then disinfect it using a disinfectant solution. HABIA (Hair and Beauty Industry Authority) is the only organization that sets hygiene standards for beauty salons. The British Government recognizes HABIA (Hair and Beauty Industry Authority) as the entity responsible for setting standards for salons. These services must be provided according to the Code for practice in nail services. This document covers issues such as sterilization, disinfection and equipment storage. These rules don’t seem to be sufficient. According to surveys conducted by Health and Safety Laboratory in 2008, half of the respondents admitted that they used single-use tools multiple times. This indicates they don’t follow basic hygiene rules. A decontamination sequence is a key principle of good decontamination. This means that equipment and facilities are set up to ensure all processes (washing and disinfection, sterilization, etc.) are done in the correct order. So that the paths to the next stages do not cross or come in contact with one another, it is possible to avoid travelling through the contaminated zone to reach the autoclave. Let’s take the sterilization point as an example. Here, individual decontamination points are placed in a row.

  1. One section (top) of contaminated goods with room for at least one disinfection vessel with a perforated insert and a sealed cover. This section should not be in direct contact with cabinets that contain sterile goods.
  2. This section is for washing products, manual or machine.
  3. Section (top), where sterilized products are examined and packaged.
  4. A section of the autoclave.
  5. Section of sterile products.
  6. The section on hand hygiene.

How to choose a cosmetic autoclave

There are many types of autoclaves on the market. It is worth taking the time to learn about the different models and their properties. In the decision-making process, important factors include the time required for sterilization, drying times and even the device’s size. Let’s start by looking at the different classes of autoclaves. We can distinguish three main classes according to EN 13060, the European standard.

  • Class N autoclaves can sterilize simple, solid instruments with no packaging. This is the lowest class.
  • Class-S autoclaves can be used to sterilize hollow instruments. They can be packed individually or in the set; they are sterilized at an extremely high temperature of 134°C.
  • Class A steam autoclaves can be used to sterilize various devices, both unpacked and packaged. They can sterilize products made from different materials. They can sterilize products at temperatures of 134°C or 121°C. This class has an autoclave that sterilizes all instruments used in the salon.

Once you have decided on the type of autoclave to use, it is important to compare the features and parameters between different models. These are the characteristics that merit special attention.