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Posted by Victoria Thompson, May 9 2011 8:30PM

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spots and pimples on clients !

A really basic question perhaps, but I had a client last week who had a small spot on his back and I caught it with my hand (it was so small he didn't notice) but it bled slightly. I carried on but tried to avoid the area without success, and although he was a regular client I did not feel able to stop and say I couldn't continue to massage that shoulder or suggest a plaster, but I did wash my hands very thoroughly afterwards and worried about it for a while ! Is there a standard procedure for this ? Thanks !
Amanda Clegg
May 9 2011 9:07PM
I usually mention a spot or pimple and ask if they'd like a little dab of tea tree oil to help heal/dry up - that way you also know there's no big risk of infection. Tricky one, tho!
Carla Hanreck
May 9 2011 9:27PM
Not quite sure where you are coming from here - are you worried about infecting yourself with blood bourne disease or any discomfort it caused the client? You will have a first aid kit in your room with plasters, so would think a plaster on the area should cover both issues - if the bleeding/weeping is not addressed they will get stained clothes.
Nicki Lee
May 9 2011 9:30PM
I agree - this can be tricky and I've had similar happen. Some clients can be embarrased about spots so you don't want to cause them further embarrasment.

I generally am very matter of fact and fairly low key about it. More than once massaging has caused a blackhead or pimple that was not visible, and which I didn't feel until too late, to 'erupt'. I just mention and then ask/suggest I apply a bit of antiseptic. I then just avoid that particular spot and am happy not to keep rubbing oil (mine and their own skin oils) into it. But I really wouldn't worry about it too much - it's pretty much a natural skin reaction and as long as you then avoid the area it should be ok. And unless you had cuts on your hands or something you should have been just fine if you were worried about contamination to yourself.

If you are concerned, although I wash my hands with soap and water before and after clients, I also have santiser gel ready, and if something like that happens I can clean my hands quickly for mine and the client's benefit.

Sadly, just like peeling skin after a sunburn has healed (ugh-even worse) it's just one of those things we have to deal with sometimes. Not the glamourous side of the job! (Hats off to beauty therapists who do all this all the time.)
Nicki Lee
May 9 2011 9:52PM
Sorry, I've just realised I didn't address the issue of it being specifically blood rather than any other fluids. Yes, next time I would suggest blot the oil and blood off with tissue and dispose (in contaminated waste bin if you are in a salon that has one, but if working on your own put in a plastic bag and then into the bin when they leave) and then certainly cover with a plaster and avoid the area. Then clean hands with antiseptic and carry on. If you believe blood has gotten onto any toweling, etc, afterwards change everything even if you use couch roll, and wash in hot water. This is 'better safe than sorry' just to give you peace of mind you don't cause any cross contamination.
Caz Sayles
Jun 7 2011 9:55AM
Yes I agree, I tend to keep some antibacterial hand wipes to hand and a tea tree solution to wipe down my couch etc....Tea tree oil is great for disinfecting areas, but warn the client first as it can sting a little.
The risks to yourself are very low, and if you have done a full consultation you should be aware of any illnesses your clients have that could be transferable.
It is just a part of the job and as long as you deal with it in a calm professional manner there won't be a problem....:)))

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