Investigation launched by PHE on needlestick injuries

12 January 2017

A series of needlestick injuries associated with needle microdermabrasion are being investigated by PHE. Needle microdermabrasion is a cosmetic procedure that, in recent years, has become widely available in beauty salons and cosmetic surgery premises throughout the UK.

Needle microdermabrasion is undertaken using proprietary devices that typically comprise a handset with a detachable needle-studded cylindrical roller, and integrated tubing that delivers cosmetic solutions onto the needle cylinder. By holding the handset, beauticians apply mechanical pressure to roll the needle cylinder onto the skin of the face and body of clients, creating multiple small abrasions. Currently, there are no regulations governing the use of needle microdermabrasion systems.

Use of needle microdermabrasion systems can result in bleeding and generation of serous fluid at the site where the device is applied. As such, there is a risk of transmission of blood borne viruses (hepatitis B virus, hepatitis C virus, and HIV) to staff members should needlestick injuries occur, or to clients through cross contamination.


Between March and May 2016, three staff members working in beauty salons in the North West of England experienced needlestick injuries while providing needle microdermabrasion. All exposed individuals were using the same needle microdermabrasion device. Needlestick injuries occurred during the process of disassembling the device after use on clients. All three exposed individuals subsequently tested negative for blood borne viruses.

 Originally published by Public Health England 6 January 2017.  


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