Finally we’ve shed the cracked, aged appearance of our wintertime skin and we can show off our beautifully manicured hands and our smooth, painted toenails in our fashionable sandals. It’s certainly one of the perks of summer. But before you head out for manicures and pedicures, educate yourself on the hidden dangers of nail salons. Bacteria, toxins and other hazards may have a negative effect on your skin, nails and entire body.
Today we’re exposing where the hidden dangers of nail salons are lurking so you can protect yourself before your next manicures and pedicures.
The spread of bacteria and fungus in nail salons often begins with the tools nail technicians use repeatedly on each customer. Metal tools should be sterilized thoroughly in an autoclave, which uses steam and pressure to disinfect materials. Alternatively, the tools can be soaked in a liquid disinfectant for 20 minutes between customers. Other supplies such as nail files, wooden cuticle sticks, buffers and pumice stones or blocks should be discarded after use on a single customer. Most salons do not follow that procedure so it’s wise to bring your own supplies. Also, ask nail technicians to wear gloves to prevent microbes from spreading.
Many customers enter salons with nail fungus like athlete’s foot, which can infect other customers and spread quickly. Serious bacterial infections can also come from manicures and pedicures including hepatitis B and MRSA, according US News and World Report. Bacteria breeds in warm water and dark, moist pockets such as the foot and hand tubs that nail salons frequently use. These containers should be sterilized between customers. It’s wise never to put your feet in a jetted foot tub when the jets are running. This pushes all of the germs from the jets into the water where your feet are submerged.
When bacteria and fungus are present at a nail salon, they can linger under your nails or enter your bloodstream through small cuts in your skin. If a nail technician accidentally nicks you with nail scissors or cuticle clippers, you are at higher risk for infection. Even nail filing can cause small scrapes on your skin where bacteria can penetrate. Never go to a nail salon for a pedicure with freshly shaved legs as razors create micro-tears, and if you have any open wounds, avoid nail salons until they heal.
Beyond potential fungal or bacterial infections, there are other hidden dangers of nail salons that you may not have considered. Have you ever noticed some nail technicians wearing face masks over their noses and mouths? The fumes of many harsh nail products can cause respiratory conditions when inhaled. This is one of the reasons why pregnant women are encouraged to avoid nail salons. And those toxins aren’t only inhaled; they are also absorbed through the skin. Even polish contains a number of chemicals and dyes that can be damaging to the human body.
Additionally, the drying lamps that help prevent smudges are actually UV lights. Much like the sun or tanning beds, these lamps expose you to dangerous UV rays, not only on your hands and feet, but your entire body due to proximity. If you plan to sit anywhere near the UV lamps, wear sunscreen. Or skip the lamps altogether and let you nails air dry outside the salon.
So what’s a girl to do when she wants beautiful nails this summer? These warnings aren’t to deter you from getting manicures and pedicures altogether. Rather, be informed and make smart choices when it comes to your health. Look for licenses that indicate that your salon is up to code and watch what technicians are doing to clean tools and their work stations. If you are dissatisfied, speak up. Don’t go to crowded salons as they may get sloppy when they are working too fast to churn customers in and out. Also, you may pay the price later for going to cheaper salons.
Show off your hot nail colors this summer but stay smart and protect yourself from the hidden dangers of nail salons.