Skin antiseptics for piercing preparation

Thoughts on options for skin cleaning prior to body art procedures.

If a product is not labeled for surgical preparation, it really doesn’t matter how good of a hand and body soap or cleanser it is. It would only be a really strong hand wash product, or possibly aftercare for our purposes.

Choose a product that has claims as a “surgical skin preparation” because “scrub” alone is only the first step as cleaning. A two step “scrub then paint” process is appropriate and advised by CDC. That involves a solvent or detergent scrub to clean followed by the surgical antiseptic to kill microbes to an irreducible minimum level of contamination.

What does the evidence suggest that we use?

I have replaced this two step product in my procedure with a sterile version by Aplicare or Cardinal Health
  • I’ve been using FDA approved skin prep PVP-I, CHG or alcoholic CHG, or alcohol depending on the area, with a preference for sterile products, and keep looking for other safe, appropriate options.
  • For oral preparation, an antiseptic mouthwash containing CPC or dilute H2O2 and friction.

I’m still looking for a universal surgical preparation agent, and have not found anything on the market that is both proven and FDA approved other than PVP-I, CHG based products and alcohol. I don’t want to recommend anything unless it is tested and labeled for the purpose.

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