If you’re planning to glam up your nails this holiday season, you could be putting your health at serious risk.
A new study, “How Safe is Your Nail Salon,” released by the City of New York, reveals a number of alarming findings about the safety and cleanliness of salons, including:
- Fifty-six percent of New York salons are in violation of health and safety rules, and customers have been infected with hepatitis and staph infections due to unclean conditions.
- There is “little to no regulation on the manufacturing of” UV lamps, used to dry nails, even though they can be as harmful to skin as tanning beds, according to the report.
- Toluene, formaldehyde and dibutyl pthalate—known as “the toxic trio”—are found in many nail products, even though they have been linked with reproductive harm, respiratory problems and cancer. Of the 10,000 other chemicals contained in nail products, 89% have not been tested by independent agencies.
The report suggests that cities can help create safer, more sanitary conditions in salons by developing programs similar to San Francisco’s first-in-the-nation Healthy Nail Salon Recognition Program. The program, which started in 2012, recognizes salons that pass health and safety standards with a window sticker to showcase their compliance to customers. With places that you have visited before and have a standard of good customer care or above, it makes sense for you to visit them once again for your treatments. But with any place you are not familiar with, it is best to do some research into them before making any future appointments. It may also be beneficial to check out the place beforehand.
Whether you frequent a corner nail place or an expensive salon, it’s important to take precautions to ensure your manicure doesn’t turn into a mani-curse. Consider bringing your own nail-care kit. For $50 or less, you can purchase the needed tools at your local beauty supply store. This small investment and extra step may save you from contracting a serious infection that could have life-threatening consequences. If you’re treating yourself to a gel manicure, make sure to protect your hands from the UV light used to cure the gel by applying sunscreen before getting your nails painted.
When it comes to pedicures, foot baths may seem like a blissful moment of Zen, but they’re also the perfect breeding ground for infectious bacteria. Stainless steel soaks are ideal, but if the salon only offers plastic, make sure it is thoroughly cleaned with an antibacterial cleanser or covered in a plastic bag before you dip your tootsies in.
When it comes to manis and pedis, you can’t be overly cautious. With a few prudent steps, you can ensure your next visit to the nail salon is enjoyable and safe.
How are you nourishing and protecting your nails? Share by commenting below.