Many women (and even men) will indulge in a manicure several times a year and some have standing weekly appointments. While the results of nicely buffed, trimmed nails may be nice, occasionally you could pick up a bacterial infection or even nail fungus. Not only are infections unsightly, they can be quite painful if left unchecked. Although rare, AIDS or HIV can also be transmitted at a nail salon, especially when you have any broken skin and infected instruments are used to introduce the infection.
Do you know what you can do to avoid or lower your risk of infection when getting a manicure? There are several tips to employ before sitting down for your next manicure:
1. The number one tip to avoiding an infection is purchasing your own manicure kit and taking it with you to the salon. Of course, you want to clean and disinfect your own manicure tools in your kit immediately after each use, even when you are the only person using them. This is the best way to ensure that no one else’s germs from manicure tools can be transferred to you. 2. Remove your own nail polish at home before you arrive for your manicure appointment. You can also bring your own polish remover with you to avoid having to use the salon’s which could be tainted with germs. 3. Bring your own nail polish including base coats and top coats. In a nail salon, the manicurist may use the same polishes on other customers and not clean the brushes before replacing them in the bottle of polish. By bringing your own, you know exactly who has been using your polish bottles – you! 4. Inspect the nail salon before setting an appointment for a manicure. Is the place clean and appear sanitary? Do you clearly see disinfectants used in the place to maintain clean work spaces? Is the trash can have a bag in it and covered? Is the floor swept clean? Does each manicurist work station appear clean and well lit? All of these aspects are important in indentifying a nail salon that likely will be save and infection-free. 5. If you plan to allow the manicurist to use their own tools, can you tell if they are cleaned and disinfected after each use? Can you tell if they use clean instruments on other customers? Do you observe each manicurist remove the disinfected instruments from their clean containers in front of you before starting?
You want the manicurist to remove the disinfected tools in front of you as this is a sign that you will not be exposed to potential germs from the tools. In addition, you want to make sure that the buffers, nail files and other items are clean before they are used for your manicure. 6. Watch and make sure the manicurist washes their hands after each customer and non-manicuring tasks before touching your tools and hands. 7. Do not use any towel that is already wet or appears to have been used before you. 8. Use a cuticle softener rather than cuticle scissors to lower your risk of breaking open the skin and courting infection around your nails. 9. When using emory boards, make sure the manicurist uses new ones for each client, including you. 10. Check and make sure that your manicurist has a good supply of disinfected, clean nail brushes ready for use.
It is important that you check for all of these sanitary conditions to avoid infection when getting a manicure. In fact, most of these tips also apply when receiving a pedicure as well. If you somehow manage to pick up an infection of some sort from your nail salon or even observe unsanitary conditions, you should file a complaint with your state’s cosmetology governing board.