Nailed it

Katie Wright on the im­por­tance of hy­giene in sa­lons

Irish Examiner - Feelgood - - This Week -

IF your beauty salon doesn’t take the right pre­cau­tions, you could end up with some very nasty nail com­plaints, not just a dodgy pol­ish job, as one Amer­i­can wo­man found out ear­lier this year, when what started out as a tiny nick from a man­i­cure landed her in A&E.

We asked po­di­a­trist Emma Sup­ple, on be­half of Flex­i­tol, what to look out for. 1. Clean­li­ness is key “When con­sid­er­ing which salon to go to, my num­ber one rule is clean­li­ness. When you’re wait­ing for your ap­point­ment, have a good look around you. Are they bring­ing out fresh in­stru­ments and reg­u­larly cleaning their equip­ment? Are they throw­ing away used cot­ton pads and tis­sues? Used in­stru­ments, tis­sues, scrub brushes and dishes will all at­tract un­wanted fun­gus and bac­te­ria, and put you at risk of in­fec­tion.” 2. How do they treat their tools? “If your pedi­curist is us­ing wooden in­stru­ments, such as files and cu­ti­cle sticks, these must be dis­posed of af­ter ev­ery client. Ad­di­tion­ally, if your pedi­curist is us­ing metal tools, these must be cleaned thor­oughly with hot wa­ter and soap. Metal in­stru­ments should be soaked in dis­in­fec­tant and left to dry prop­erly. Do­ing this will prevent cross-con­tam­i­na­tion and avoid the risk of pick­ing up nasty a fun­gal in­fec­tion.” 3. Are the foot­baths sani­tised? “Whirlpool foot­baths that are not cleaned be­tween clients can be a breed­ing ground for micro­organ­isms. These can cause warts, ath­lete’s foot and other un­pleas­ant in­fec­tions, so make sure you look out for sa­lons that use in­di­vid­ual bath lin­ers and pipe-less foot spas. Ask your pedi­curist when it was last sani­tised, as they should be cleaned no less than 10 min­utes af­ter ev­ery use.” 4. Are the tech­ni­cians pro­tected? “It’s a good sign if they’re us­ing masks and gloves, not just for your safety, but for theirs too. The tech­ni­cians are in con­tact with toxic in­gre­di­ents found in pol­ishes, lac­quer re­movers, glues and gels all day.” 5. Are they kind to your cu­ti­cles? “The cu­ti­cles are there to pro­tect your nails’ growth — if the skin breaks, you risk get­ting an in­fec­tion, which can be painful and ul­ti­mately ham­per the growth of your nails. The best way to neaten cu­ti­cles is to soften them and push them back del­i­cately with a cu­ti­cle stick. If your pedi­curist is over-en­thu­si­as­tic or ag­gres­sive with this, make sure you tell them to go easy.” 6. Stay on the straight and nar­row “The best way to help prevent in­grown nails is to avoid the round cut and go for straight. One of the most com­mon causes of in­grown toe­nails is cut­ting them too short. They may look neat and tidy, but cut­ting nails too short en­cour­ages the skin at the sides of the nail to fold over it.” 7. Say no to harsh foot files “Over use of the metal ‘cheese grater’style foot files can cre­ate more hard skin, so I would not rec­om­mend us­ing them all the time. In­stead, choose a pedi­cure treat­ment that uses a heel balm which con­tains urea, and is clin­i­cally proven to hy­drate dry, cracked heels and feet.” 8. Do they take their time? “If the pedi­curist is rush­ing the pedi­cure process, this may leave be­hind sev­eral prob­lems as you leave the salon. If the skin in be­tween your toes hasn’t been dried prop­erly, this can help micro­organ­isms thrive in the wet and warm en­vi­ron­ment, and will in­crease fun­gus and bac­te­ria growth.”

CLOSE UP: Make sure your nail salon follows a strict code of prac­tice for cleaning equip­ment.

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