5 health precautions you should be taking at the nail salon
By Brittany Anas
Anybody who remembers Paula Abdul’s botched manicure that left her with an infected thumb during her American Idol-era has probably given nail salons a second look. But what exactly to be on the lookout might be a mystery.
Mani-pedi season is upon us, friends, especially as we start to unpack our open-toed sandals for the hot days ahead.
Robert Urfer, with LUCAS-CIDE Salon & Spa, is sharing must-know safety tips to make sure your little pedicured piggies don’t come home with an infection. Afterall, the warm and wet environment at salons can provide an ideal environment for pathogens if safety protocol aren’t in place.
- Show up 15 minutes before your appointment. Check out the salon to see if it appears clean and professional. Urfer says a tidy salon on the surface is a good indication that the owner and technicians value cleanliness — and, thus, are more likely to sanitize their equipment and tools. When the trash cans are overflowing and the there is dust on the shelves, you shouldn’t trust that the foot baths and nail clippers are sanitized, Urfer says. Also take note as to whether the foot baths are being washed with hot, soapy water. After being washed, Urfer says the foot spas should be filled again with water. Disinfectant should be added to the water and the spa should be run for at least 10 minutes before it’s drained and wiped clean. Take a looksie at the nail technician areas: Are disposable nail files and used cotton balls being properly thrown out?
- Ensure there is a license. A salon’s license should be posted near the front entryway. Also, technicians should have licenses on display, too.
- Run if you see the UV sterilizers. Some salons use UV sterilizers, devices that resemble toaster ovens, but those sterilizers don’t kill bacteria, Urfer says. Look for a bottle of disinfectant and make sure the liquid does not appear cloudy or foggy (which is a sign it needs to be changed).
- Don’t let the tech cut your cuticles! Urfer explains that cuticles provide natural protection against infection in your nail bed. Ask the technician to gently push back your cuticles, but not to cut them. (When cuticles are cut, it can cause skin to tear and open you up to a greater risk of infection).
- Ask if there are individual file bags for repeat customers. Some salons offer customers individual bags with the tools technicians use for manicures and pedicures — such as files, brushes and buffers. The sanitized tools are placed in a bag (not airtight!) between uses labeled with your name, Urfer says, awaiting your next visit. Some clients also prefer to bring their own manicure set.
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