Who doesn't love a relaxing mani/pedi? The pampering and attractive end result is worth the money, especially when your hangnails and calluses have turned your hands and feet into something suitable for a horror film.
But with beauty comes what to beware. Nail salons may seem innocent, but lurking amidst the 10-minute massage chairs and rows upon rows of polish colors to choose from, dangers exist. And we're not talking smudging your freshly painted French manicure while reaching for your cell phone.
Here are 4 real dangers to beware of. Take precaution while at the salon and you should be in the clear, just like your shiny base and top coats!
1. Pedicure Tubs/Whirlpools
Soaking your tired feet in a bubbly bath of scented soaps and salts may feel delightful, but the relief may not be worth the potential woes.
According to the Huffington Post, "These (foot baths) are a breeding ground for mycobacterium (which can produce boils), warts, MRSA (hard to cure infections), athlete's foot, toenail fungus, HPV and swine flu virus. All of those issues thrive in a warm, wet environment." Yikes! Are polished toenails and soft heels really that important?
In order to be certain you're as safe as possible, be sure your salon disinfects the tubs between appointments. Essence notes that disposable liners inside the bowl are a good precaution as well. Pedicures don't come cheap, so get your money's worth in both customer care and a job well done.
2. Re-Used, Unclean Tools
Any salon that uses the same filing board, cuticle clippers, and other tools, client after client without proper sanitation is an invitation for sharing bacteria and viruses. Some items are often placed in what's called an "autoclave" to kill germs, but as per Total Beauty, "You can only put metal tools in the autoclave. Tools like pumice stones, emery boards, nail buffers, and foam toe separators need to be swapped out after each use to prevent the spread of bacteria." "Toe jam" is not the kind of jam you want to spread.
Be sure your salon uses fresh equipment for every client, or better yet, bring along your own gear. Peace of mind is worth the few extra bucks and you'll know your nails are safe from another person's possible illnesses and infections. "File" this one under prevention before pain!
3. Cuts to the Skin
You may have been inadvertently nipped or scratched at the salon, and the technician quickly clears away the blood and cleans your cut to her best abilities. But other times, a small nick can go unnoticed leaving room for infections to weasel their way into your body.
As per Total Beauty, "Just because no blood is visible, it doesn't mean these 'portals of entry' aren't susceptible to infective organisms." The Talko suggests, "As a customer, you should refuse having your cuticles cut."
Be sure to take care of any cuts immediately; wash your hands thoroughly and even spray with some alcohol. If your technician seems particularly heavy handed and you often leave with minor nicks, it may be time to seek a new technician who is more delicate with your tender cuticles. A nail trimming isn't major surgery!
4. UV Ray Exposure
According to The Talko, "Gel manicures may be trendy, but they can be dangerous to your health, too. UV lights are used to seal the gel polish, increasing a person's risk of skin cancer." Same goes for many of the drying stations used for a speedy finish at the salon. As per U.S. News & World Report, "It turns out these light stations emit UVA rays – the same rays emitted by the sun and tanning beds, which have skin-damaging effects and can lead to cancer. Those who have fair skin have a higher risk of damage than those who are dark-skinned."
To avoid such risks, forgo the gel mani and opt for the traditional type. If you can't pass up that shine, use some sunscreen before using the lamps. And as for drying, be sure the UV light isn't turned on or use a basic fan. Ask for the "quick dry" top coat if you're in a rush.