Manicures and pedicures look great, but you need to ensure you’re only taking the polish and nails when you go. Here’s how.
1. Make sure your nail pro is careful
- In most clean nail salons staffed by conscientious workers, you won’t have to worry about contracting a serious disease from a manicure or a pedicure.
- A study did find a small statistical connection between hepatitis C and manicures.
- The hepatitis virus can, in some rare instances, be transmitted if contaminated instruments nick your cuticles or the skin under your nails.
2. Leave your cuticles alone
- Your cuticles protect your nails from infection, so leave them be.
- One of the most common medical issues picked up in nail salons is paronychia, an infection around the base of the nail.
- The primary cause of paronychia is having your cuticles pushed too far back. That’s why you should never let a manicurist do this.
3. Know the risks with glue-on nails
- Make sure the nail technician is highly experienced in applying artificial nails. A shoddy job can let bacteria grow between the real and artificial nails.
- Acrylic nails are so tough, so the nail will frequently be lifted off the underlying skin. This can lead to infection.
- If you still want glue-on nails, don’t wear them for longer than a month.
4. Get salon-ready
Before heading to the salon, do the following for extra safety and cleanliness:
- Wash your own hands thoroughly with an antibacterial soap before the manicure.
- Don’t trim or push back your cuticles, and don’t allow the manicurist to do so.
- Bring your own manicure tools, such as nail clippers and emery boards. Or, ask the salon about their sanitation process (more on this below).
- Don’t shave your legs before having a footbath. This will help prevent an infection that causes boils and may require antibiotics to treat.
5. Ensure your salon is safe and clean
To stay safe, whether you’re having a manicure or pedicure, use these tips:
- Make sure both the salon and the workers are licensed.
- Ask how their tools are sterilized. The salon should use an autoclave or soak tools in a disinfectant solution for at least 10 minutes.
- Don’t patronize a salon that smells of fumes. It’s a sign of dirtiness and poor ventilation.
- Notice whether the nail technician washes her hands before working on a client. If she doesn’t, the hygiene standards are too low. Go elsewhere.
- Don’t let the technician clean under nails with an instrument. It’s not necessary. The nail then lifts and invites yeast, bacteria or fungi to breed underneath it.
- Get a polish change instead of a full manicure. It can yield similar results if your nails are in good shape.
Many women — and even some men — simply feel more attractive and better groomed with manicured hands. Just be smart when you visit a nail salon, or you may take home more than beautiful nails.