Microblading public awareness

Information about microblading and the risks associated.

What is microblading?

Microblading is a form of tattooing; it is carried out using a blade, which is made up of a row of fine needles. The blade is dipped into a coloured pigment (ink) and then placed into the upper layer of the skin with a slicing motion to create fine hair like strokes. The results are natural looking fuller eyebrows.

What are the risks?

The microblading procedure involves puncturing the skin and inserting a pigment (ink). If the microblading equipment is re-used between clients, it will become contaminated and can result in causing localised infection at the site of the puncture or the transmission of blood-borne viruses, for example, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C or HIV.  Allergic reactions to the pigment, numbing cream and ointments used as well as scarring from repeated procedures are also associated risks of microblading.

Common symptoms of infection to look out for:

  • Fever
  • Swelling
  • Tenderness
  • Discharge – yellow/green/brown colour
  • Off-putting smells

If you experience any of the above symptoms, please seek medical advice and report your concerns to your Local Environmental Health Department.

How do I find a salon using safe microblading practices?

  • Choose a business that is licensed and/or registered with the Local Authority.  Businesses are required by law to display their Licence or Certificate of Registration along with the local byelaws if these apply in your area.
  • Research the business. Visit their website or look at their social media page, For example, look at their Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts to see if anyone has mentioned anything about poor hygiene or infection following the procedure.
  • They must arrange a patch test with you, preferably 48 hours prior to treatment.  This will test whether you have an allergy to any of the pigments or inks.
  • You should always expect to complete a health questionnaire or consultation before the treatment to minimise any adverse health effects. 
  • When you visit for your consultation have a look to see that the room where the procedure is being carried out is in an enclosed, dedicated space away from the public and other beauty treatments.
  • Look at the cleanliness of the salon or room where the procedure is being carried out and the condition of the equipment including the treatment bed. It should be in good repair, clean, orderly and free from clutter. Ideally there should be a wash hand basin in the room. If not, there should be one easily accessible to the room.
  • On the day of your treatment pay attention to how the Technician sets up their work station. It should be on a clean, clutter free trolley or work surface and already laid out prior to the procedure.
  • Check the microblading blade and hand tool is pre-packaged, single use, sterile and discarded after the treatment into a yellow sharps bin. Reusable equipment such as scissors, tweezers and callipers should be cleaned and disinfected between clients to protect against infections and be stored in a suitable clean container. Pencils used for marking the skin are single use only.
  • Check that the Technician washes their hands and changes their gloves regularly during the procedure. This should be done before they start the procedure and put on their gloves and if they leave the room or take a break. Proper handwashing and appropriate use of gloves helps to protect the Technician and yourself from infection.

See the NHS choices website for more information (external link).