Nail Salon Safety

Beauty, Home & Family
on January 12, 2012

A trip to the nail salon should be fun, relaxing and all about feeling beautiful. It also should always be safe. A nail salon with unsanitary conditions is dangerous to your health. It puts you at risk for bacterial infections, viruses and worse. Beautifully manicured nails are nice, but not if your health is compromised.

First impressions. Your first impression of a nail salon’s waiting area is important. If it is dark, cluttered and feels unkempt, chances are the salon’s stations are equally neglected. A safe nail salon will be bright, tidy and have clean floors and stations. The salon’s employees should also appear neat and professional. You should not smell any strong fumes from product chemicals. Strong fumes can cause dizziness, headaches and nausea. Throat and eye irritation may also occur.

Credentials posted. The nail salon’s license from the state’s Board of Cosmetology should be posted where customers can see it. A safe and sanitary salon also will post a copy of the state’s Health and Safety rules. At each station, the technician’s license should be posted with a photo. If you can’t easily see any of these credentials, it’s time to find another salon.

Sanitary practices. A safe nail salon will require hand sanitation for each client and the technician before beginning any service. Towels and linens must be fresh for each client, as well. If the technician’s table is cluttered and dirty, it’s a good guess that sanitation is not a priority with the technician. Pedicure whirlpools must be disinfected for each client with a disinfectant approved by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Unsanitary conditions = health risks. According to the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, improperly sterilized manicure tools potentially can infect you with hepatitis B or C, warts or even HIV. One way to avoid these infections is to bring your own manicure tools. If you can’t, be sure the salon practices proper sterilization techniques.

Sterilization techniques. All non-disposable salon tools must be disinfected for each client. An ultraviolet sterilizer does not kill bacteria; however an autoclave or a disinfectant labeled tuberculocidal does. The tools should be washed in soapy water first and then disinfected. Make sure your nail salon is using EPA-approved disinfectants. If it is approved, it will have an EPA registration number on it. If the salon employees can’t or won’t answer questions about their sterilization techniques, walk away.

This article was originally published as Nail Salon Safety on