Is Your Nail Salon a Breeding Ground for Fungus or Infection?

woman getting manicure at nail salon

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.

More from The Stir: 9 Nail Care Mistakes That Are Keeping You From Peak Mani

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.



Image via Kzenon/Shutterstock

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