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On this webpage you will find health information related to personal service settings. Personal service settings include any businesses that provide beauty and body art services such as hairstyling, barbering, nail treatments (manicures and pedicures), tattooing, and piercing.

Watch the Public Health and You: Salon and Spa Safety video on YouTube. 

follow link to Beauty and Body Art Safety Homepage follow link to Owner and Operator Information  follow link to Public Health Inspection Results  

Click on the links below to find out more information about how to safely use beauty and body art services in Waterloo Region.

 What infections can I get?  How do I make a complaint about a business?
 How can infections spread?  New Ontario Law on Tanning Beds
 What should I consider when choosing a service?  Think Before You Ink Campaign (Tattooing)
 How can I protect myself?  Know Before You Go Campaign (Piercing)
 How do I find a reputable business for my service?  Useful links and resources

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What infections can I get?

The most common type of infection that a client can get if proper procedures are not followed are bacterial infections such as mycobacteria*, staphylococcus*, nail fungus and warts. Other organisms that may also be transmitted include Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV.

*Mycobacterium - A bacteria with over 50 species, of which at least 20 have been reported to cause disease in humans. This bacteria has been isolated from various sources including water, birds, animals.

*Staphylococcus - A type of bacteria commonly carried by healthy people on their skin or nose. These bacteria can sometimes cause skin infections such as boils or pus and more severe blood stream infections. 

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How can infections spread?

Infections can spread when our skin gets nicked or cut and these wounds are exposed to surfaces contaminated with bacteria, fungi and viruses.

Any blood or body fluid is to be considered infectious and may cause an infection if contaminated surfaces and tools are not sufficiently cleaned and disinfected. If a client has an open wound, any blood or body fluid present can spread infectious material onto surfaces, tools and the service provider's hands.

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What should I consider when choosing a service?

There are a number of things to keep in mind when choosing a beauty and body art service. Ensure that you consider the following before and during your service.

  • All beauty and body art service providers should be inspected by Public Health. Inspection reports are available on the Regional Website Check it! We inspect it.
  • The salon and work stations should be clean and organized
  • Tools and equipment should be in good repair
  • Tools and supplies should be kept in clean and covered areas such as a container with a lid or closed cupboard that is free from dust or debris 
  • All instruments that are made of durable material such as stainless steel must be cleaned and disinfected between each client. Instruments/tools that are made of non-durable materials such as emery boards, foam slippers, or toe separators must be discarded after use
  • The technician should wash their hands before starting a service and ask you to do the same or provide a hand or foot soak before a nail service 
  • The service provider should check for cuts, abrasions, or possible infections before the service
  • Service providers should use gloves if blood is present. Blood may be present during hair removal services, facials, tattooing, or ear piercings. The technician should wash their hands before putting on gloves and before starting a service
  • Creams and lotions should be dispensed in such a way to prevent the original container from becoming contaminated (e.g., by using a pump action dispenser rather than a spatula) 

If you have any questions during your service, ask the technician. Also, you should refuse any service you feel is unsafe.

If you suspect the salon or spa is not following proper infection control practices, file a complaint with Public Health.

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How can I protect myself?

Follow these tips before using any beauty and body art service:

  • Get a Hepatitis B vaccination
  • Do not get a service done if you have an infection on the area of your body where work will be performed
  • Do not shave your legs before a pedicure. Legs that have just been shaved may have tiny cuts making you more susceptible to getting an infection 
  • Ask questions. You should be able to ask questions and receive satisfactory answers about infection control practices and procedures prior to getting a service done

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How do I find a reputable business for my service?

Check it! We inspect it. is your access to public health inspection results in Waterloo Region.

Be sure to look up the latest health inspection results for beauty & body art businesses prior to booking a service.

On this website you will also find inspection results for food businesses.

 

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How do I make a complaint about a business?

If you have a public health question or complaint about beauty and body art business you call a Public Health Inspector at 519-575-4400 x 5147. You can also make a complaint through the Check it! We inspect it. website by clicking on 'file a complaint' when you are viewing the business in question. All complaints are treated as confidential.

Region of Waterloo Public Health encourages you to submit complaints when you suspect one of the following: 

  • You develop an infection after receiving services at a beauty and body art business in Waterloo Region 
  • You are concerned about the infection prevention practices and/or the sanitary condition of a beauty and body art business in Waterloo Region

To assist us in investigating your complaint remember to include the following: 

  • Date of visit 
  • Services obtained 
  • Symptoms and when they first occurred

Seek medical attention immediately if you develop a rash, an infection, or are feeling unwell after having services performed at a salon or spa.

If you have a complaint relating to customer service and/or quality of goods and services offered, please contact the business directly. These items are not applicable to the regulations or guidelines for facilities inspected by Region of Waterloo Public Health.

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New Ontario Law Bans Youth under 18 from Using Tanning Beds

As of May 1st, 2014, the Skin Cancer Prevention Act (Tanning Beds), 2013 bans youth under the age of 18 from using tanning beds. As youth are especially vulnerable to the harmful effects of artificial ultraviolet (UV) radiation, this law aims to reduce the likelihood of youth being exposed to artificial UV radiation at a young age.

No tan is a safe tan. Tanning bed use increases the risk of the deadliest form of skin cancer, malignant melanoma. This risk of melanoma is 75% greater if tanning bed use begins before the age of 35.

For information on the new requirements for owners and operators of tanning services, click here.

For more information on the harmful health risks such as skin cancer related to tanning, click here.

For additional information, visit www.ontario.ca/uvrsmart or call Region of Waterloo Public Health, 519-575-4400, ext. 5147.

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Think Before You Ink Campaign (Tattooing)

See the Region of Waterloo Public Health fact sheets below for information on whether a tattoo is right for you, information on what to consider before getting a tattoo, questions to ask when you go, and aftercare instructions.

Tattooing / Micro Pigmentation

After Care Instructions

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Know Before You Go Campaign (Piercing)

See the Region of Waterloo Public Health  fact sheets below for information on whether a piercing is right for you, information on what to consider before getting a piercing, questions to ask when you go, and aftercare instructions.

Body Piercing

Ear Piercing

After Care Instructions

Acknowledgement

Region of Waterloo Public Health gratefully acknowledges Durham Region Health Department in creating our body piercing campaign slogan.

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Useful links and resources

After Care Instructions

Body Piercing

Ear Candling

Ear Piercing

Electrolysis & Laser Hair Removal

Facials and Make-up Application

Hair Salons and Barber Shops

Hand Hygiene Fact Sheet

Handwashing Sign

Manicures, Pedicures and Nail Treatment

Tanning Beds

Tattooing / Micro Pigmentation

Waxing/Sugaring/Hair Removal

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