Have you ever heard of pedicure horror stories either through friends, in a magazine, or on the news? Well ladies, they sadly exist. It’s up to us to make a good judgment with choosing the right nail salon for our mani and pedi maintenance.
Can you imagine coming home from a pedicure to an unstoppable itch on your foot, seeing an open wound turning from pinkish to greenish, learning that a toe nail is turning yellow and it’s visibly threatening to come off, or watching a plantar wart growing on your foot?
All these could be signs of athletes foot, skin or nail infection, bacterial or viral infection, a toe nail fungus, and the list can go on and on… But what is most shocking is that all these infections and diseases could be contracted while at that relaxing spa/whirlpool tub and chair.
What do you mean, Sasha? How is that so?
Yes, Stiletto Dolls, many of these bacterial and viral infections grow and thrive in warm to hot environments. And if the whirlpool in which your feet are being soaked hasn’t been properly cleaned and sterilized, you are at a high risk of contracting any of the infections mentioned.
Here are 3 helpful hints in searching for a great nail salon:
1. YELP – Take time to search and review the salon you have in mind through the YELP app on your phone. Don’t only look at the overall ratings for that salon, but also dig deep in the comments. YELP is a great source where people who are dissatisfied with their service will definitely speak up and warn potential customers from even considering a trip to a particular salon if their experiences there were short of excellent. So, next time YELP and read the reviews. Most times they are great indicators.
2. ASK A FRIEND – Referrals are great, especially from people we know. Friends and family will boast about a great product or service to you if they really recommend it. And conversely, they will also warn you from purchasing a product or forbid you going to a nail salon in which they had a bad experience. So, don’t forget to ask your friends and family, as most times they make the best recommendations.
3. KEEP UP WITH LOCAL NEWS – Stay up to date with your local Current Events, and pay attention to any regional reports about outbreaks in your area. Chances are an outbreak, if it is infectious, could be going around in your neighborhood. In this event, stay away from spas at all costs… You can always come back when the infectious outbreak has been contained or a vaccine has been put in place for it.
Taking Care of Your Feet
Once at the salon, don’t be afraid to look around and ask questions. Just because the place looks clean doesn’t mean it is clean… For example, do you know if the salon sanitizes its instruments or if it sterilizes them? Do you even know the difference between sanitizing, disinfecting, and sterilizing an instrument? There’s a HUGE difference… We’ll get to this in a moment. Just keep reading… Don’t skip…
To help ensure a clean and safe trip to the salon, these are the…
7 Absolute Don’ts at the Nail Spa
1. Don’t Use the Hot Tub
What? Yes, avoid the hot tub as much as you can, ladies. Most nail spas don’t properly clean the tubs. They leave remnants of dry skin, bacteria, or viruses on the surface of the tub or trapped in the rim of the drain. Instead, ask for a disposable pedicure plastic lining to be put over the tub or have a dry pedicure as another alternative. Dry pampering is not as fun, but it can keep your pretty feet safe and healthy long term.
2. Don’t Use the Nails Salon’s Pumice
Just when you feel relaxed on the chair and your nails and cuticles have been trimmed, now it’s time for the pumice! The spa ladies will recommend this part of your pedicure even if you’re ticklish and can’t stay in your chair. However, resist using the salon’s pumice. Chances are they have used it on other people before you. Dead skin, also called DNA, from other customers could have been rubbed into the pumice and could now be rubbed onto your pretty little feet.
This is a RED FLAG, as plantar warts can be spread if a salon worker uses the same pumice stone for different clients and HPV makes contact with a break in the skin. To prevent this and many diseases, either request a newly unopened pumice or bring your own to the salon every single time.
3. Don’t Shave Your Legs Before a Pedicure Spa Treatment
Shaving leaves micro-tears in the skin, which is a perfect avenue for bacteria which might be floating around the tub area to enter your blood stream. Bacteria such as mycobacterium fortuitum are prevalent in foot baths, and the risk of acquiring such is greater when you have shaved your legs. Women who have been infected at nail spas with this bacteria complain of large boils on the toe, leg, or foot areas. These can turn into open sores or leave heavy scarring after medical treatment of heavy antibiotics. Shave your legs 24-36 hours before your appointment to avoid any skin infections and simply a bad experience at the nail salon.
4. Don’t Use the Salon’s Instruments
How many times have we walked into a salon empty handed only to sit on a chair to relax and get pampered? Has it ever dawned to you if perhaps you should’ve brought your own equipment? To get better clarity on this, let’s define what sanitize, disinfect, and sterilize mean in a salon setting. In simple terms, to sanitize is to use over-the-counter products that destroy 99% of the bacteria in 30 seconds. To disinfect is to use products that kill all organisms in a period of 10 minutes. To sterilize is to inactivate or kill ALL DISEASE using chemicals, temperature, gas or pressure. In a typical nail salon setting, an autoclave device should be used to sterilize all the equipment. The autoclave method ensures the equipment used is disease free for the use of the next customer. The rule of thumb is if you don’t see the equipment used on you come out from the autoclave, don’t trust it, and refuse it be used on you.
Better yet, to leave chance out of the equation, bring your own pedicure kit to the salon. They are sold everywhere and pretty inexpensive. Remember, Safety First!
5. Don’t Go to the Nail Salon Too Late in the Day or When It’s Too Busy
The best time to get a pedicure is as early in the morning as possible. This is the time the nail spa is the slowest and the cleanest. Why go to the nail salon when it’s slow? When the salon is slow, the personnel have more time in between customers to fully disinfect and sterilize the equipment. When the salon is busy, personnel spend less time disinfecting and cleaning the tub or the equipment. The emphasis is getting customers in and out as fast as possible. Keeping this in mind, make your mani/pedi appointments in the morning or on days the salon may not be too busy, such as on Tuesdays or Wednesdays.
6. Don’t Trim Your Cuticles
Avoid trimming your cuticles, despite how cute your toe nails look when doing this. You open the gateway for allowing bacteria, fungi, and viruses into your bloodstream when you trim your toe’s only barrier of protection. So, avoid having your cuticles trimmed at a nail spa. But if you do your own pedicure with your own equipment, there’s no harm in doing this yourself. The harm is present when you risk coming in contact with other people’s germs, and this most likely can occur at a nail salon.
7. Don’t Walk Barefoot
Think about this: You just had a warm/hot spa chair pedicure. Your pores are open, and you decide to put your bare feet on the floor or carpet. Imagine all the possible bugs, bacteria, dry skin (DNA), and viruses which could potentially live on the floor and carpet surfaces and that could enter your bloodstream because your pores are open? Instead, bring your own sandals, and refuse to walk on the floor barefoot. It’s not worth it, not even for one second.
At the end of the day it’s about keeping your feet pretty, healthy, and comfortable… Cheers!
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