Beauty therapists: how to correctly wear and remove PPE

Wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) is definitely not new to our industry – it has always had a place in a broad range of skin, nail and aesthetic services. At times, this was to protect from blood and bodily fluid borne diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis, and at others, to reduce inhalation or dermatitis risks.

However, Covid-19 presents a different risk. Coronavirus is a respiratory virus with an aerosol nature that may be spread through inhalation of infected droplets or via contact with a contaminated surface. 

This means increased sanitation and disinfection measures, along with extra handwashing and PPE, are necessary to reduce transmission in any business that offers close contact services. 

Yet, simply purchasing PPE doesn’t necessarily make you safe or reduce transmission risk. It is essential to know how to put it on, wear it correctly and take it off the right way. It is also recommended to store your PPE in a closed cupboard or container to avoid contamination.  

While PPE requirements may vary slightly across the devolved nations of the UK, the principles for using PPE safely and effectively remain the same. Dermalogica’s Candice Gardner, education manager – digital & content, gives us the lowdown on how to wear and remove PPE correctly. 

How to correctly use and remove your face mask:

Masks should fit correctly over the nose and mouth and lie flush to the face with no gaps. If your mask tends to slip down and expose your nose, consider whether the fit is right for you. You might invest in a head strap that is more secure than ear straps, or clip the straps into your hair. 

A silicone plaster on the bridge of your nose may also be helpful – whatever you choose to keep your mask secure is up to you. What is most important is that you do not fiddle or adjust it when you’re working in contact with the client. 

It is best practice to wash your hands before and after donning or removing your mask. If at any point you touch the mask, then you should rewash your hands for 20 seconds. 

How to correctly use and remove your visor:

Face shields are referred to as visors in the UK and Irish guidance. Visors come below the chin and create a full barrier that protects the face, and you should maintain your two-metre social distancing unless you’re wearing a visor. 

It is now required that beauty therapists wear a mask in addition to a visor. Reusable face shields need to be sanitised and disinfected between each client. Wash or sanitise your hands prior to applying your face shield. Your face shield should feel comfortable to avoid having to constantly readjust it throughout your interaction. You should not remove the face shield during a service unless absolutely necessary. 

In the instance where you need to remove your shield during a service you must apply the two-metre rule and socially distance from your client or other members of staff before removing the visor. Do not touch the front of the visor or wipe the surface with dry tissues without proper disinfection. 

Also, be sure to sanitise and disinfect with an appropriate disinfectant solution before putting it back on. Always wash your hands before and after application and removal of your face shield.  

How to correctly use and remove gloves:

Besides the quality of the gloves, the size you wear is important. If your gloves don’t fit, the integrity of their function may be compromised. You also may suffer from hand fatigue; your gloves might fall off and/or the protection they provide may be affected. 

It’s best to choose a pair of gloves that fit your hand as closely as possible but aren’t too tight. Wash your hands before applying gloves and between glove changes. Wash your hands after you have removed your gloves.

The correct order to take your PPE off:

  1. Remove gloves – be careful not to cause inadvertent contamination by removing incorrectly. 
  2. Remove apron – if you’re using a disposable apron, remove it carefully in a gentle manner, avoiding forceful movements that could shake contaminants off and onto surrounding surfaces. Roll the outer surface inwards and dispose of appropriately in a closed waste bin.
  3. Remove face shield or goggles – carefully remove your face shield or goggles by grabbing the strap and pulling it upwards and away from your head, or by sliding it off from the side arms if your shield has a glasses-style frame. Do not touch the front of the face shield or goggles.
  4. Remove mask or face covering – do not touch the front of the disposable mask or reusable face covering. Dispose of the mask correctly. 
  5. Wash your hands for 20 seconds.

Using PPE effectively will instil confidence in your clients and reassure them that their risk of contracting Covid-19 is minimised when visiting you. Watch Dermalogica’s video on how to use your PPE correctly and effectively

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