Nail salons are not exactly my favorite haunts, but I know they are frequented by many women. Though they may appear spic and span, there really are things to watch out for in nail salons. Have you heard that several outbreaks have come about due to poor hygiene practices in nail salons? Don’t be the next victim. Before you return to your nail salon for your regular visit, take time to ask these questions from the nail salon owner or worker:
How do you sterilize your foot basin?
Imagine dozens of different feet soaked each day in a foot basin: after each use, it becomes a cesspool of dead skin, shaved callus, nail clippings, a few hairs, blood cells and worse, bacteria or fungi from diseased feet. The foot basin may look sparkling after being washed with soap and water but it is not safe to use on another client when it is not sterilized with at least 70% alcohol.
The next time you visit your nail salon, politely ask your nail salon worker how she goes about in cleaning the foot basin. If her answer is not satisfactory, forget about soaking your feet and politely ask her or the management to implement the correct hygiene practice. Skip the foot basin, too, if you have cuts or wounds in your feet.
How do you sterilize your hands or gloves?
The hands or gloves of nail salon technicians are very likely carriers of microorganisms which could transmit fungi and bacteria if she is not particularly careful. Gloves should ideally be disposable and not frequently reused throughout the day. If the nail salon technician is not wearing gloves, she runs the risk of being contaminated by her clients and of passing on the microbes to her succeeding clients. Ask your nail salon worker whether or not she is using disposable gloves and/or washing her hands with the same meticulousness that doctors and nurses scrub their hands before doing surgery on their patients.
How do you sterilize your nail implements?
If you pause to think about how nail salon implements are being used, you will quickly realize that they are agents of transmission of contaminated blood. A nail clipper or pusher that has come in contact with the blood of someone who has certain infections would be able to transmit the germs to you if you happen to get even the tiniest points of entry—such as a cut or a wound.
Nail cleaning tools which are made of steel should be free of rust and should be washed with soap and water and disinfected with hydrogen peroxide every after use. Nail cleaning tools which are made of wood (such as orange sticks and nail buffs) obviously cannot be washed or disinfected and therefore should be disposable. Do your nail salons dispose their wooden nail cleaning tools? I doubt if they do.
It is therefore quite imperative to buy your own set of nail implements and bring them with you when you go to nail salons. Ask the salon technician to use your nail cleaning tools instead of the publicly-used nail salon implements.
Do you remove cuticles?
If you are fond of having your cuticles removed, stop. Cuticles are created to protect nail beds from bacteria. If you have them removed, you run the risk of being easily infected. Simply push back cuticles with an orange stick. Cuticles actually frame your nails for a more polished look.
If, like me, you are too timid to insist on the above nail salon safety tips, better do your own mani and pedi. And if, like me again, you are too busy with other things to do your own nail care (honestly, I would rather garden than spend an hour doing pedicure on myself; and I have never done manis as it’s useless, I do a lot of house work), just slip your pretty feet into those trendy flats and pumps.
When I do find time to do my home foot spa, I simply soak my feet in my own foot basin. I use warm and soapy water and soak 30 minutes away as I read my Bible or brush my hair or blog. At least I get safe nail care without having to inhale the toxic chemicals circulating in nail salons (another issue with nail salons).
What are your thoughts about nail salons and foot care? How do you protect yourself from nail salon hazards?
Photo Credit: nailbless.com