Nail Salon Safety: Tips To Follow

From stories about customers with fungal infections to the woman who lost her toenails after a fish pedicure, it is known that not all nail salons meet the right standards. Most spas and salons are safe and sanitary according to the American Academy of Dermatology.

Though the risk is low with licensed, trained nail technicians, many of us do want to know what extra precautions we can take. Here are a few safety tips to help reduce your risk of developing infections and other problems.

1.  Don't shave your legs before a pedicure

It is highly recommended that you avoid shaving your lower legs for a few days before you get a pedicure. And really, a little stubble is nothing to be embarrassed about.

Shaving can create tiny nicks in the skin which makes it easier for bacteria to slip in and cause an infection after the pedicure. In general, it is a good idea to avoid pedicures if you have any cuts or blisters on your legs.

2. Take a close look at the manicure tools

Any instruments you come into contact with should be disposed or cleaned properly after every use — this includes simple steps such as replacing towels and making sure the technician washes their hands or uses a new pair of gloves before getting started.

Celebrity manicurist Deborah Lippmann told Cosmopolitan that certain tools like nail files or buffing sponges should not be reused as they could be clogged with the dead skin of previous users. She recommends bringing your own nail kit to the salon if you are particularly concerned.

3. Limit the use of ultraviolet lamps for drying

Depending on the machine, the UV lamps used to dry nails may be hazardous, according to a study published in JAMA Dermatology. Exposure to UV radiation is considered a risk factor for skin cancer, but this largely depends on the power levels and wattage used in the lamps.

While occasional use may not do harm, you should stick to natural drying methods if you are someone who visits the nail salon multiple times a month. You can also consider quick dry nail polish to speed up the process.

4. Pedicure tubs should be cleaned properly

Pedicure tubs may harbor germs, especially inside Jacuzzi filters. Elle notes that the employees should make sure to clean them thoroughly with hot, soapy water after being used by a client.

"After which, they should be filled with water again, as well as disinfectant. The spa should run for at least 10 minutes before being emptied out and wiped clean," the website adds. And if your tub appears dirty, do not hesitate to make a request for it to be cleaned.