Dawn Forshaw, CEO of Finishing Touches and Chairman of Safety in Micropigmentation, campaigns to raise the UK safety standards for safe needle practice.

Micropigmentation is a booming industry in the UK, and Finishing Touches are proud to be a part of this exciting and ever-changing market. As we are the UK’s leading training school and supplier of products in this sector, high standards of health and safety are at the forefront of our very foundation.

As the micropigmentation industry has evolved to include all sectors within that industry, there is now even more choice of suppliers for technicians to select their needles. As a result, we have seen an increase in modified and fake needles being sold across the UK. Alarmingly, these counterfeit needles look identical to the safety cartridges found in reputable suppliers, like Finishing Touches. Therefore, we need to draw the industry’s attention to these dangerous replica needles and create greater awareness of the counterfeit needle industry. Afterall, is a cheaper needle really the answer over safety? The key to this is that all needles should be sterilised, sealed and have a safety membrane. ‘Sterilised’ is the tricky one as most packaging will state this. The question is, how can you tell? There is no simple answer, but your supplier will be able to provide you with paperwork to prove sterility. All genuine needles and cartridges will have a safety membrane. Leading global producers, such as MT Derm in Germany, hold the patent to this technology. The safety membrane is imperative and affects the backflow into your handpiece.

This means that when the technician uses the needle to break the skin, causing the skin to bleed and produce bodily fluids; these fluids mix with the pigment inside your needle that are then drawn up into the cartridge. The needle with a safety membrane stops this movement of fluids and contains them safely in the cartridge. A cartridge without a safety membrane often contains a spring that allows these fluids back through into the handpiece. The danger is, that when the handpiece is then used with the next client, they have a ten-fold increased possibility of cross contamination. Terrifyingly this means exposure to infectious diseases like HIV, Hep C, etc.