You’ve all heard the horror stories about the cleanliness of nail salons. Don’t just cross your fingers in hopes that you won’t end up with a health problem, though. Here is some handy information and advice to keep your nails healthy and fungus-free:
Where does nail fungus come from?
Nail fungus organisms live in warm, moist environments. They invade your skin through tiny invisible cuts or through a small separation between your nail plate and nail bed. You can contract fungus in the salon or spa—also your gym—when surface areas and instruments are not sanitized properly.
Make sure your salon/spa is sanitary.
Use of an autoclave, a medical-grade sterilization unit that uses steam and/or extreme heat to kill bacteria, is the most thorough way for a salon/spa to clean instruments. The instruments should then be sealed in a pouch and not opened until they are used on another client. In some states (not Georgia), use of an autoclave is mandatory by law.
If your salon/spa is using barbicide, a transparent blue disinfecting solution, to sanitize instruments, you want to make sure that you can see the instruments fully submerged in the solution and that the barbicide is clear from any visible debris. When in doubt, bring your own tools along.
There are only a few types of nail files that can be sanitized, and that will be indicated on the file itself. Buffers cannot be sanitized due to the material from which they are made. Ask your technician to use new ones.
One of the biggest problems causing fungus in the nail industry is the use of jetted pedicure tubs. The reason is that the filters and jets may not be cleaned properly, and if you have any kind of cut on your legs and feet, you are susceptible to many infections. Look for salons that use non-jetted soaking bowls to ensure the safest environment possible for your feet. If you just can’t give up the whirlpool footbath, at the very least ask the spa how they are cleaning the jets and filters and ask to see a log to prove that they are cleaning by the State Board of Cosmetology guidelines.
Don’t ever feel like you can’t ask the nail technicians about the salon/spa’s safety measures. Your technician should want to educate you about their salon’s safety, and if they don’t, you should be concerned and consider visiting a new salon.
How to heal from it.
Don’t ignore an infection as it will only spread and worsen. See your doctor for a prescription oral or topical antifungul medication. It takes anywhere between 3-12 months to completely heal after beginning medication.
Karina Timmel contributed to this article.