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How Sanitary is Your Nail Salon?

If you have already read our previous blog  ‘Questions for your Pedicurist – Find the Best (and Safest!) Pedicurist for You’, you may be interested in reading these additional tips that will help keep your feet clean and healthy!  Once you have your questions answered, and you are ready to book your appointment, these are all valid items to consider before, during, and after your appointment. So how sanitary is your nail salon?

  1. Do a visual inspection of the salon
    • Once you have arrived at the salon you have carefully chosen, take a look around.
    • Do the surfaces and water where clients put their feet appear sanitary? If they look dirty, find another place to get a pedicure.
    • Check out the bathroom. If the bathrooms are not presentable, that is a clear clue that the pedicure salon may not have high hygiene standards.
  2. Schedule your appointment early in the day
    • Although most nail salons follow strict cleanliness guidelines, experts say that foot baths are typically cleanest earlier in the day. If possible, protect yourself by being one of the first customers.
  3. BYOU (Bring Your Own Utensils)
    • Buying and bringing your own utensils will ensure that the utensils used on you are not contaminated.
    • Bacteria and fungus can easily travel from one person to the next on pedicure tools that have not been properly sterilized. If you bring your own tools, you eliminate that risk.
  4. Pedicures are one place where sharing is NOT caring!
    • Do not ever share an emory board with someone else!
    • Emory boards can’t be sanitized, and they are porous and can trap bacteria.
    • Even in the most pristine salons, these tools may not be replaced after each customer, which is essential.
  5. Wait to shave your legs
    • Be more concerned with your health than a little bit of stubble on your legs!
    • Shaving can open up pores in the skin, or cause subtle abrasions. These tiny openings in the skin can allow bacteria and fungus to enter your body.
    • We recommend holding off on shaving your legs 24-48 hours prior to your pedicure appointment.
    • This goes for waxing as well – wait until after your appointment.
  6. Inspect your legs and feet
    • Look for small scratches, bug bites or other cuts. All of these can allow bacteria and other germs to enter your skin and cause problems.
    • If you have any open areas, wait until they healed to have your pedicure.
  7. Cutting your cuticles
    • Cuticles act as a protective barrier for your nails. If they are cut, you may be at risk for an infection.
    • Your cuticles should be gently pushed back, not cut.
    • Don’t allow technicians to use a foot razor to remove dead skin
      • Using a razor can result in permanent damage if used incorrectly and can easily cause infection if too much skin is removed.
  8. Smoothing your feet
    • Your feet should be properly smoothed. A standard pedicure usually includes removal of dead skin on the feet, but this should be done with a pumice stone or foot file, not a razor-type tool.
    • When eliminating thick, dead skin build-up, also known as calluses, on the heel, ball and sides of the feet, use a pumice stone, foot file or exfoliating scrub.
      • Soak feet in warm water for at least five minutes, then use the stone, scrub, or foot file to gently smooth calluses and other rough patches.
  9. Trimming and shaping toenails
    • When trimming nails, use a toenail clipper with a straight edge to ensure your toenail is cut straight across.
    • Don’t round the edges of your toenails. This type of shape increases the chances of painful ingrown toenails.
    • Other tools like manicure scissors or fingernail clippers increase the risk of ingrown toenails because of their small, curved shape.
  10. To smooth nail edges, use an emery board.
    • File lightly in one direction and be sure not to scrape the nail’s surface.
    • Schedule an appointment with one of our Podiatrists if you have a tendency to develop ingrown toenails!
    • Gently run a wooden or rubber manicure stick under your nails to keep them clean. This helps remove the dirt and build-up you may or may not be able to see.
    • Don’t use any sharp tools to clean under nails. Using anything sharp makes it easy to puncture the skin, leaving it vulnerable to infection.
    • Maintain proper moisture balance of the skin on your feet by applying emollient-enriched moisturizer to keep soles soft.
    • Dry any residual moisture between your toes. Moisture left behind can lead to the development of athlete’s foot or a fungal infection.
  11. If you suffer from thick and discolored toenails, which could be a sign of a fungal infection, don’t apply nail polish to cover up the problem.
    • Nail polish locks out moisture and doesn’t allow the nail bed to “breathe.”
    • Once you fix the underlying issue, then it is safe to paint nails.
    • If the problem persists, be sure to visit your podiatrist.

Post pedicure, pay particular attention to the health of your feet.  The appearance of a pimple or boil that’s red, swollen, or painful could be a sign of a bacterial staph infection. An itchy foot rash or yellowish toenail could signal a fungal infection. Visit our podiatrists if you suspect that you may have an infection in your foot or nails.

Intuition rarely fails us!  If you have followed all the procedures we suggested when making your appointment, but upon arrival you get an unpleasant feeling, listen to that and go elsewhere.  There are a lot of salons out there, and it’s better to wait to go to one you feel good about!

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