Eyebrow microblading can pose HIV risk if not done properly, officials warn
Published Monday, November 21, 2016 3:38PM PST
Last Updated Monday, November 21, 2016 3:49PM PST
As eyebrow microblading gains popularity across B.C., health officials are warning the public to be careful where they seek the procedure.
The semi-permanent makeup technique, sometimes known as eyebrow embroidery, microstroking or feather touch, involves applying ink around a person’s eyebrows with a small blade, making them appear fuller or changing their shape.
As demand for microblading increases, some people have started offering the procedure from home, advertising on websites such as Facebook, Kijiji and Craigslist, and not all of them are regulated businesses. Because microblading requires breaking the skin, the Interior Health Authority cautions it should only be done at places that are subject to inspections.
"Our biggest concern is that there is the risk of blood-borne infections, so things like Hepatitis and HIV," said Courtney Hesketh, environmental health manager.
Even common skin infections caused by microblading can pose a significant risk, Hesketh added, because the tattooing is done close to the recipients' eyes and brain.
Regulated tattoo and body piercing businesses are inspected at least once a year to make sure they're complying with sanitation, disinfection and infection-control procedures. But health officials issued a warning Monday that microblading services operating out of a person’s home might never have had to undergo a proper inspection.
Any tattooing, whether it involves microblades or needles, requires properly sterilized equipment to avoid the transmission of disease. Officials recommend microblading be done with a single-use microblading pen.
Interior Health said recipients can help ensure they are being tattooed with a sterile pen by asking the artist to open the single-use package in front of them.
People can also view inspection reports for licensed tattoo businesses in the Interior Health region by visiting the authority's website.
With files from CTV Vancouver's Kent Molgat