How clean is your nail salon?
A pedicure from a salon with poor hygiene practices can leave a person with serious health problems.
“Many infections have been linked to manicures and pedicures,” says Dr. Kamo Sidhwa, infectious disease specialist at Advocate South Suburban Hospital in Hazel Crest, Ill. “These include staph infections like MRSA, athlete’s foot, toenail fungus, HPV warts, rare infections involving Hepatitis B and mycobacterial infections that are in the same class as tuberculosis but cause skin infections.”
Dr. Sidhwa says there are three things a person should check before getting a manicure or pedicure:
- Sanitation techniques: An autoclave, which is a pressure chamber that steams or uses ultraviolet light, should be used for sanitizing tools. If the salon uses a liquid disinfectant for sterilization, then the tools should soak for at least 10 minutes between uses. Liquid disinfectants do not ensure complete sterility like an autoclave.
- Foot tubs: These should be drained completely and the walls should be scrubbed and disinfected between clients.
- Disposable tools: All buffers and files that are disposable should be thrown away after each use. If you notice any stains on disposable items, that is a red flag.
Nail salons in California are paving the way for more sanitary spas with the development of the California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative, an organization that works with nail salons to adopt practices that protect the health and safety of the nail salon workforce, clients and environment.
Some of these practices include nail salon staff wearing nitrile gloves while using nail products, ventilating the salon, and avoiding nail polishes with certain toxic ingredients.
Dr. Sidhwa also recommends finding a spa with chairs that have a pipeless system. In chairs that are connected by pipes, bacteria can breed more easily because it thrives in warm, moist environments.
“Chances for the transmission of infections is somewhat increased in those that are immunocompromised such as individuals with cancer or diabetes,” says Dr. Sidhwa. “In a healthy population, risk is increased when a client sustains some sort of trauma like cutting too much cuticle or cutting nails too short.”
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