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Proper Sterilization


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Proper Scalp Pigmentation Sterilization

We felt it urgently necessary to post this newest Library article.  The below was recently sent to Artistry Concepts from a client who found it on another company’s website regarding tattoo needle sterilization:

“It is possible that needles may not be 100% sterilized due to a mechanical problem with the autoclave or human operator error.”

This is very alarming…….Needles and all equipment MUST be 100% sterilized. If the company is following proper health regulation procedures, anything less than 100% sterilization is impossible. If the company purchases prepackaged needles, they all have an expiration date which is inspected by the health department. There is no excuse for such a disclaimer on an provider’s website.

While it is not illegal to reuse needles, it is highly unethical.  Most states simply allow the tattooist/pigmentation technician to dip the needles in alcohol.  However, this is a practice that is highly unethical and should not be practiced by any pigmentation provider.  Some providers claim they “hand make” their own needles.  If this is the case, request their procedure for sterilization.  If they don’t have an autoclave, look for the door right away. Reusing of tattoo needles under any circumstances is inappropriate.

The ACHM2® and ACHM2.5 needles are single use only, and never autoclaved for re-use on another client.  In addition, our needles are so tiny they cannot possibly be reused because they become damaged very quickly on most scalps.  In many cases, as many as 6 new needles will be used on one man’s scalp.  All needles are opened in front of the client from their sealed, dated and autoclaved pouches.

Weston’s ACHM2® and ACHM2.5 needles are assembled in their respective groupings, soldered together, disinfected, then placed into sterilization pouches for autoclaving.  Whether it is Weston’s patented needles or standard needles purchased from either tattoo or permanent cosmetic supply houses, all needles are made the same way when manufactured.

Sterilization pouches must be purchased from an approved supplier with proper expiration dates.  Doctor’s and dentist’s office also need to comply with these same health regulations.  So whether the provider purchases needles commercially or are made by Weston, ALL needles are sterilized in the same manner.  Once autoclaved, needles are stamped with an expiration date, as the sterilization packing can expire and needle supplies and expiration dates are routinely checked by the Florida Department of Health.

Autoclaves are either steam or chemical.  Users of autoclaves must maintain a daily, weekly and monthly maintenance records.  A spore sample is taken and placed in an autoclave pouch which then is run through a standard 30-minute autoclave cycle.  After the cycle is over, the sample is sent once per month to an independent monitoring lab for analysis.  The sample is then incubated for any growth.  If no growth was observed, then your autoclave passed the monthly test.  If growth was observed, your autoclave has failed and the State Department of Health is promptly notified.

Weston has never had a rejected autoclave test in all his years of tattooing.  But once again, the ACHM2® and ACHM2.5 needles are never autoclaved for reuse, only after their initial assembly.

Reports also rapidly coming in from clients that their previous scalp pigmentation provider did not wear gloves, and/or did not provide a sterilized barrier cover on the machine nor cord.  In may cases, the technician already had the “set up” done.  It is customary to open all sterilized equipment, needles and supplies in front of the recipient.

Additional Sterilization Procedures

Scalp Aesthetics no barrier cover

This provider is not following most States’ health regulations by providing a barrier cover on his machine and cord. This company is also training techs in the only two states in the US that don’t have health regulations regarding tattooing.

Weston proper barrier covers

Notice the clear sterilized barrier cover on the machine, as well as the cord cover. This must be a practice in ALL states, whether there are current health regulations or not.

All equipment and supplies are single service, which means that each tube set and grip is individually packaged, dated, sealed and sterilized. Pigments, gloves, plastic barriers, and ink caps used in applying your scalp pigmentation are discarded after use.  The ACHM2® and ACHM2.5 needles are discarded after the tips are cut off and placed in a bio-hazard container for removal.  After your ACHM2® and ACHM2.5 is completed, the procedure room and work area is thoroughly disinfected with a chemical that kills all viruses and bacteria.






©2014 Mark A. Weston


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