What to Look for in a Safe Nail Salon
What to Look for in a Safe Nail Salon
In most areas, it seems nail salons are on every corner, so finding the best salon for you can be overwhelming. One question we, as podiatrists, get asked quite frequently is: How can I be sure my salon is safe? What these patients are really asking is: “what do I look for in a nail salon?”.
A great first step would be checking reviews. Avoid any salons with reviews concerning sanitation, skin infections, bleeding or pain. Also, for pedicures, take a minute to look for podiatry practices that have in-house salons as these usually offer a “medical grade” pedicure with superior sterilization processes and technicians trained or supervised by doctors! Once you book your appointment, we recommend you get to the salon early to check it out, especially if it’s new to you. Things to look for immediately are up to date licenses and/or certificates as well as general cleanliness of salon and bathroom(s). Also take time to note what procedures are taking place between appointments- are stations being cleaned? Is your technician washing their hands between appointments? Are protective covers being used on pedicure tubs and changes between appointments? It’s also important to notice if there are strong chemical odors in the salon as these can trigger conditions such as asthma or be harmful for your lungs in general. All of these things can be assessed in just a few minutes and can help avoid a bad experience, even before starting your service.
Once you have scoped out your salon and deem it up to par, there are still a few things to pay attention to before turning on the massage chair and zoning out with the latest gossip magazine. Check to make sure any tools or equipment being used are coming out of autoclaved bags– these are typically white or blue with a clear film and are sealed. Also take a second to make sure the autoclave is running a full cycle before the tools are removed. Don’t be afraid to ask your technician about their cleaning protocols! Another thing to try to avoid is pedicure tubs with jets– just like in jacuzzis, jets tend to trap and then re-introduce debris and bacteria. If the tub does have a jet, ask your tech to turn it off. Technique is also important when it comes to safety and health. Cuticles are actually our body’s natural defense from bacteria, because of this, they should NEVER be cut or trimmed- they should be softened and then gently pushed back. Avoid having cuticles cut to prevent infections and ingrown nails. Along the same lines, do not allow your tech to “go digging” if there is a painful ingrown that cannot be easily taken care of by trimming or filing the nail, seek medical evaluation by your local podiatrist. These types of ingrowns likely need a medical procedure and/or antibiotics to be addressed properly. It is very common for infections to stem from this aggressive “digging”. When it comes to callus treatment, avoid places that use metal “cheese grater” type tools. These tools are very hard to clean thoroughly and can actually nick your skin which can cause pain, bleeding, and infection. Look for salons that use skin softening creams and disposable, gentle exfoliation squares. In addition, always bring your own nail polish! Sharing bottles from the salon increases your risk of getting a nail fungal infection.
With all that being said, we do not recommend for our diabetic or immunocompromised patients to utilize a general nail salon, as this patient population is very susceptible to infections. We always recommend that these patients have toenail care performed by their podiatrist or a podiatrist- supervised salon. If there is a special occasion or circumstance, we recommend only having a nail polish applied and avoid any soaking, trimming or shaping.
Using these tips as a guide will ensure you find the best salon in your area, and help avoid any unnecessary skin or nail conditions. However, if you ever have any questions or concerns about toenail or skin health, don’t hesitate to reach out to your local podiatrist!
- Invest in your own tool kit and bring them with you to appointments
- Buy antifungal nail polish such as Dani-Pro or Dr. Remedy
- Avoid pedicure tubs with jets or ask your tech to turn off the jet
- Allow nails to air dry when possible- UV lights can be damaging to skin
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