Going to the nail salon is a treat for many women, but unfortunately, it can come with some hidden dangers; something as seemingly innocent as a manicure or pedicure can end up leading to a nasty infection.
This month, a woman from Arkansas got a foot infection that landed her in the hospital, according to Self Magazine. The injury was sustained from a minor cut she received when the spa employee was scraping away dead skin with a pumice stone, which then resulted in a bacterial infection called cellulitis.
Although this may seem like an isolated incident, cellulitis is not uncommon in nail salons. These bacterial infections occur when salons don’t take proper care to disinfect their tools between each client. Taking proper care when getting your mani-pedis can help keep you safe and lower your risk of infection.
Next time you’re getting your nails done, keep these tips for avoiding an infection in mind for a safer and less risky experience.
1. Don’t Shave Your Legs Beforehand
Cellulitis and other bacterial infections enter the skin through small openings. Shaving your legs creates microtears in the skin, which can allow the bacteria to enter. In addition to cellulitis, you can also contract other more dangerous infections this way.
2. Consider Bringing Your Own Tools
According to US News and World Report, about 75 percent of salons don’t follow state protocol for disinfecting their tools. To add to that, certain non-metal tools can’t be fully sterilized, and they should only be used on one person. To ensure this, consider bringing in your own nail files and foot pumices from home. This way, you know for sure they haven’t been used on other clients.
3. Avoid Fish Pedicures
Regular pedicures aren’t the only treatment that can put you in danger. Submerging your feet in tubs full of fish, which eat the dead skin off, can also put you at risk for infections, as tubs swimming with fish can’t be adequately sanitized. A study published in the journal, Infection, even found that people can contract methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) from these types of pedicures.
4. Look For Licenses
Be prudent when choosing a salon. Look for places that display a state license somewhere visible, and check that the nail technicians have their own license as well.
5. Go First Thing In The Morning
The American Podiatric Medical Association recommends going to get your nails done first thing in the morning, as this is often when foot baths are the cleanest and haven’t been used by many people. If you can’t make it to an appointment early in the day, check to make sure the salon properly cleans the tubs between clients.
6. Nix The Cuticle Cutting
According to the APMA, cutting cuticles increases your risk of infection, as cuticles serve as a protective barrier against bacteria. Avoid pushing back cuticles as well. Many nail technicians automatically do this, so let them know beforehand you want to skip this part of the manicure or pedicure.
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