Is Your Nail Salon a Breeding Ground?

Fungus or Infection?

One mani/pedi you don’t want? Uh, one that comes with nail fungus. Or,
like, a super-nasty infection. Or, who knows, maybe even hacking and
coughing because your lungs are suddenly lambasted with toxic fumes
coming from a poorly ventilated nail salon. No one’s trying to ruin your day
at the spa, but you do have to be careful when you go to have your nails
done – if for no other reason than you’re probably doing so way more than
you realize. One survey found that 40 percent of women visit nail salons at
least twice a month, and some as often as five times.

So, you know, it makes sense to know your salon is there to truly pamper
you, not make you horribly ill. And we can help with that! Karen Hodges,
co-owner of Nailcare Academy, which provides online education for nail
care professionals, explained to The Stir just how we can all ensure we’re in, um, good hands.

Get a good first impression. Trying out a new salon? Call first. “If it’s a first appointment, the receptionist [of a safe salon] will say, ‘Please come in …early to fill out a questionnaire,” says Hodges. They’re not trying to shove busywork off on you. This is a sign of conscientiousness, since gathering info about your health might affect what they do.

Ask questions. Be curious: How are their instruments cleaned and cared
for between clients? How are the foot basins disinfected? (Because if
they’re not? Uh, no.)

Don’t be embarrassed to ask lots of Qs, and they shouldn’t make you feel
guilty for doing so either. “A salon that’s concerned for your health and
safety, and that of their workers, will be happy to answer your questions,”
Hodges says.

Look for a clean, uncluttered space. Okay, you’re in! But while that stack
of celeb mags might be calling your name, don’t relax just yet. Is every area
of the salon tidy? Are all surfaces clean and disinfected? “Clutter and dust
attract fungus and harbor infectious disease microbes,” explains Hodges.

Go ahead. Be critical.

Check that technicians are following safety guidelines. That means
disposable materials like files and toe separators are used; technicians’
hands are sanitized and gloves are changed between clients; and every
person there has a license displayed. And don’t forget: “Metal implements
should be removed from a SEALED pouch, which has clearly been
autoclaved,” says Hodges.

Make sure they’re asking you questions. Like, “Did you shave before you
came in?” Because who knew, you’re really not supposed to do that right
before a pedicure because it can leave teeny-tiny nicks in your skin that can
get infected.

Or here’s another good one: “Um, what’s that wound/injury you have on
your hand/foot?” Because if you do have one, the technician should look
out for your best interests and send you to the doctor, not to a shelf of polish to pick out your fave shade. True, gorgeous hands and nails are nice to have, but your health is far, far more important.

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