Skin penetration procedures
Under the Public Health Act 2010 (NSW), a skin penetration procedure is defined as:
‘any procedure (whether medical or not) that involves skin penetration (such as acupuncture, tattooing, ear piercing or hair removal) or the penetration of a mucous membrane, and includes any procedure declared by the regulations to be a skin penetration procedure.’
Skin penetration activities are also referred to as body decorating and grooming practices.
The legislation in place to regulate skin penetration procedures carried out by people who are not registered as health professionals are the Public Health Act 2010 (NSW) and Public Health Regulation 2012 (NSW).
Skin penetration procedures include the following:
- Ear, nose or body piercing
- Hair removal (e.g. waxing or electrolysis)
- Any other procedure that involves skin penetration (e.g. microdermabrasion, Cuticle cutting)
- Any procedure prescribed by the regulations (e.g. colonic lavage).
Skin penetration procedure do not include:
- any procedure carried out by a registered health practitioner,
- by a person acting under the direction or supervision of a registered health practitioner, in the course of providing a health service,
- any procedure declared by the regulations not to be a skin penetration procedure (e.g. laser hair removal).
Key requirements for safe skin penetration
Under the Public Health Act 2010 and the Public Health Regulation 2012, the occupier of premises where skin penetration procedures are carried out is required to:
- register with the City of Ryde
- ensure that premises where skin penetration procedures are practised are equipped appropriately
- ensure that all needles and sharps which penetrate the skin are sterile
- ensure there is an appropriate sharps container at the premises
- ensure bench top sterilisers are operated in accordance with Australian Standards
- ensure adequate infection control practices and personal protective equipment (PPE) are used
- ensure compliance with all aspects of the Act and Regulation and as they relate to skin penetration.
Why is it important to control skin penetration procedures?
All skin penetration procedures are considered high-risk activities.
Procedures that involve skin penetration carry a greater risk of spreading disease because pathogens can easily enter the body when the skin barrier is broken. Microorganisms that are present on dirty instruments which penetrate the skin have caused outbreaks of diseases such as hepatitis C and B.
It is extremely important that any reusable equipment that are used during skin penetration procedures are properly cleaned and then sterilised. Sterilisation is the only way to kill micro-organisms including bacteria (and their spores), fungi and viruses.
How do you sterilise?
- Reusable instruments/equipment used to penetrate a person’s skin MUST be sterilised using a bench-top steriliser that is maintained in accordance with AS 2182-1998
- There MUST be at least one person present during sterilising who is adequately trained in the operation of the steriliser
- Instruments/equipment MUST:
- Be thoroughly cleaned before they are sterilised
- Be dry when they are removed from the steriliser
- Remain packaged until needed for use
- Sterilisation records (e.g. time, temperature, pressure, the number and type of items sterilised, operator and date) MUST be kept for at least 12 months
Instruments which need to be sterilised
- Cuticle cutters
- Razor scrappers (callus remover shaver)
- Microdermabrasion heads
- Metal nail files (if they cause skin abrasions)
- Instruments that penetrate the skin and cannot be adequately cleaned and/or sterilised must not be re-used, they must be 'single use'.
- Needles (including tattoo needles) must not be re-used. They must be 'single-use' and immediately disposed into an approved sharps container following use on a client.