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Thursday, 29 November 2007 12:46

Minding Your Investment

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Let’s face it (no pun intended): aesthetic equipment is an investment. By following the manufacturer’s care and maintenance guidelines, you may prolong the life of your machines beyond the warranty as well as practicing safe aesthetics.
When it comes to caring for your equipment, cleanliness is next to Godliness. If you think the spots, cloudy water, dust, or wax drips go unnoticed by your clients… think again. As a spa client, the first thing I do when I enter the room is observe my surroundings. I expect that whatever is being used on my skin is disposable, sterilized, sanitized, or disinfected and is in good working order.

If I observe aesthetic equipment in need of repair (drippy steamers, tape on the H/F holder, rust or sharp edges on a skin scrubber spatula), I’m outta there!
Facial Steamer - We learned in school to empty the glass beaker at the end of each day, and yet I repeatedly see this rule being ignored. By emptying the water, you are protecting the metal or plastic piece that sits within the beaker from unnecessary corrosion caused by overexposure to water and moisture. Most steamers require the use of distilled water and failure to follow manufacturer’s guidelines can result in mineral and metal build-up (shortens the life expectancy of the steamer). However, there is a steamer on the market that requires the use of tap water and failure to follow instructions will burn out the steamer. If you notice your steamer dripping hot water, chances are your client does too. Not only is it annoying to you, but it is unsafe for the client. Contact the vendor you purchased the steamer from and either resolve the issue through troubleshooting or purchase a replacement piece. 
Multi-Function Machines: High Frequency, Galvanic, Brushes - Not only should these items be disinfected and sanitized with OSHA approved products, but they should be checked regularly to be sure they are operating properly. Plastic spray bottles have a tendency to split when not used for a long duration of time (similar to dry rot), so use it or lose it.
UV Sterilizers, Magnifying Lamps, and Wood’s Lamp - When cleaning these items, avoid touching the bulbs with bare hands or a damp cloth. Touching the bulbs with dampness or oil from hands can affect the life span of the bulbs. Some states require the use of UV sterilizers and it is suggested that UV light bulbs be checked frequently and replacement bulbs kept on hand.
Ultrasonic Skin Scrubbers - The lead bracelet should be used according to the manufacturer’s instructions (using it may prolong the life of the unit). Some units have an automatic shut off or built-in safety mechanism and the unit will not start unless the lead bracelet is used. Use a soft cloth when cleaning the spatula’s stainless steel blade and allow to air dry before replacing the cover (this will help prevent rust spots or pitting). Keeping the cover on the spatula when it’s not in use will help avoid chips or dings (sharp edges) in the blade if accidentally dropped. Note: It is normal for the spatula blade to feel warm; however, it should never feel hot to the touch. Unplug and discontinue use if the spatula is hot to the touch and contact the manufacturer immediately. Refrain from applying too much pressure on the spatula as it can damage the blade. The use of an aesthetic conductive gel is recommended for the penetration mode along with water soluble skin care products.
Microcurrent Unit - Never use abrasive cleaners or solvent on the unit. Clean with a damp cloth (not wet) and wipe dry with a clean soft cloth. The electrode holders should be cleaned once a month and remove any corrosion from within the barrels. Failure to perform this maintenance could result in a lack of conductivity. Since the metal coated electrode holders tend to become discolored, use a mild brass polish (be sure to remove any polish residue before reusing). The use of water soluble only serums, ampoules, or creams must be used in order to allow conductivity. If you have any reason to question the conductivity, double check the ingredients in the cleanser or toner you are using. If any residue is left on the skin from theses products, conductivity will be affected.
Microcurrent Gloves - Use an OSHA approved disinfectant, rinse well, and allow to air dry. It is recommended for the service provider to wear vinyl or latex gloves under the microcurrent gloves (this forms a current barrier for the service provider). Microcurrent gloves should be wet prior to using on the skin, as well as using an aesthetic conductive gel. Avoid immersing or soaking the electrode snaps in water.
LED - When available use disposable plastic coverlets on the probes. Disinfectants and sanitizing solutions may cause light clouding or damage so be sure to remove all residue (immersing light probes in liquid is not recommended).
Crystal Microdermabrasion - The leading cause of mechanical failure, poor vacuum suction, or decreased crystal flow is not emptying the filter after the third or fourth use. Mixing the crystals prior to use can help reduce the tube from clogging.
Diamond Tip Microdermabrasion - The filter should be cleaned after each treatment and replaced after the third or fourth use. Ultrasonic cleaning units are recommended for diamond tips. Prior to immersing tips in ultrasonic cleaner, use a disposable mascara brush to clean inside the tip to remove dead skin cells.
Microdermabrasion machines vary from manufacturer to manufacturer so it is imperative that you follow the manufacturers suggested maintenance and care plan.
Towel Cabby - It is a good idea to clean the inside of the towel cabby once a month with a gentle detergent and damp cloth (especially if you soak your facial towels in essential oils). Most manufacturers do not recommend using their towel cabby for anything other than wet towels. If you insist on using your cabby for hot stones or warming lotions, you should consult with the manufacturer prior to doing so. If the warranty specifically says for “wet/damp towels only,” I would pay heed and use as directed or it could cause insurance or lawsuit issues if an accident takes place.
Wax Units - Use wax remover solvent to clean wax drips from the outside of the unit daily. Double dipping is never acceptable; however, if double dipping occurs, remove the wax from the unit and follow disinfectant and sanitizing instructions. Always shut the wax unit off before leaving. Failure to follow manufacturer’s usage guidelines can cause accidental fire or damage, which may result in insurance coverage denial or a decreased percentage of insurance settlement.
Oxygen Machine - For machine longevity remember to turn the oxygen off when not in use and replace standard candles with battery operated or electric candles for safety.
Facial or Massage Beds - Many manufacturers are now using pretreated antimicrobial upholstery for their beds. Antimicrobial treated upholstery should be cleaned using a soft, damp cloth and gentle detergent. Using any solution that is not manufacturer recommended can damage the upholstery or greatly reduce the antimicrobial effectiveness. Protective bed covers are recommended to help prolong the life of the upholstery. Some states will not allow tape or other upholstery menders to be used on tears, splits, or cracks on beds. If an upholstery conditioner is recommended per manufacturer’s request, it would be wise to use it (for warranty purposes).
Frequent dusting and damp wiping of the outer equipment casings is not only aesthetically pleasing to the client but also decreases grime build-up on machines. Vinegar diluted with equal parts of distilled water is recommended instead of using chemical glass cleaners to clean lamps, stainless steel, knobs, and buttons. Prolong use of chemicals can break down the metal or steel and cause pitting, holes, and dullness. Never, under any circumstances, take machines apart. Not only can this be dangerous, but it will null and void your warranty.
Caring for your equipment now will pay off later.

Karen Osterblom has 30 years experience in the skin care industry. She left her Executive Director position with a leading cosmetic company to pursue her dream: training with famed make-up artists Kevyn Aucoin and John Maxwell. She later accepted a position as Educator for Vidal Sassoon’s Academy until moving to Florida. With her savvy business background and passion for aesthetics, Osterblom opened a successful aesthetic practice in Cocoa, Fla. Her knowledge and dedication has led to yet another phase of her career as Director of Education for SSI. To contact Osterblom, call 321-327-3799.

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