How to Prevent Damage and Infection at the Nail Salon

Going to the nail salon can be the perfect way to unwind and pamper yourself. And who doesn’t appreciate indulging in a little self care? Some of us like to treat ourselves on special occasions, while others make a trip to the nail salon a weekly occurrence. While this self-care time is great for many reasons, sometimes, if the conditions aren’t right, a trip to the salon can have the opposite effect resulting in a painful or difficult infection or other unwanted damage to your skin or nails. The good news is, you can take some precautions to prevent this from happening. Follow these tips to stay safe and ensure you’ll never leave the nail salon with a pesky infection!

1. Assess the cleanliness of the salon.


Before booking into any salon you haven’t tried before, it’s always helpful to scope out a few different salons before making your final pick. Check out the floors, pedicure tubs, ventilation, and overall tidiness of the salon to predict whether or not the staff will take the extra steps to ensure a safe environment. It may also help to check online and read reviews to see what previous customers are saying about the salon. It’s best to avoid going to salons with wall leaks, moldy ceilings, dusty windows, and an overall seemingly lack of hygiene. If they can’t keep their space clean and tidy, chances are the tools and equipment they use won’t be properly cleaned and sanitized either.

2. Inform your nail technician of any allergies or preexisting conditions.

Your nail technician probably isn’t a mind reader. It’s important to inform them of any chemical allergies you have to avoid potential reactions. Many people suffer from reactions to acrylic and gel nails, which may result in itchiness, redness, and discomfort. For a dip manicure, ask if your salon carries SNS Nail products, who prioritize healthy, natural nails. They are non-toxic and contain no harmful chemicals that could potentially irritate your skin, eyes, or nose. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, and your nail beds will thank you for the extra care.

3. Skip the salon if you have any open sores, blisters, or bug bites.


Do NOT…I repeat…do NOT go to a nail salon with any open wounds, cuts, or sores. Having broken skin puts you at risk from contracting all sorts of bacteria and disease as it’s easier for it to enter the skin this way. Not to mention acetone can get into your wounds and leave unsightly burns and getting chemicals in your wounds will most likely hurt terribly.

4. Opt for a salon with an autoclave.

An autoclave is a cleaning machine used to sterilize equipment and supplies using high pressure steam, which can kill 100 percent of all bacterial organisms. Be mindful that only three states (Texas, New York, and Iowa) require autoclaves in nail salons by law. However, most quality salons use them, so it doesn’t hurt to ask before booking in for an appointment.

5. Ask for one nail technician instead of two.


Sometimes two nail technicians will work on your nails to save time, and while it does save time, it can potentially put you at a higher risk of contraction infections as two people have come in contact with more clients than a single technician. Reduce the chance of contracting any infections by requesting only one technician. Having one technician instead of two will give you the peace of mind that you are being touched by hands that have touched less customers before you, and it also helps you keeps tabs on what they are doing and the tools they are using more easily.

6. Make sure your nail tech is using new tools.

It’s vital to be observant of the tools your nail technician is using to make sure they are new or properly sanitized. They should be using new emery boards, nail buffers and toe separators during your appointment. These types of nail tools need to be for individual use to prevent the spread of bacteria, infection, and disease. Pumice stones can be soaked and sanitized to be re-used. Check if your nail tech is taking tools out of a sanitized packaged, a sanitizer machine, or is opening a fresh single-use tool.

7. Book your appointment on less busy days.


Going to the nail salon on a less busy weekday ensures that the staff has ample time to keep stations and equipment clean and sanitized. Your best bet is to opt for an early morning appointment before the daily rush storms in or if possible, during a week day while most people are at work.

8. Wait 24 hours after shaving your legs for a pedi.

You don’t need to walk into the salon with furry legs, but it’s important to not shave the day you plan to go to the salon. Shaving creates micro-tears in the skin making it easier for fungi, bacteria, and irritants to enter into broken skin and shaving nicks. We promise that your nail technicians will understand. Hold off on the shaving, and wait until you get home.

9. Make sure your feet are dried properly.


After your pedicure, make sure your feet are completely dried to prevent infections or fungi from growing. Fungi thrive in a moist, damp environment. Make sure your nail technician has dried under your foot, on the top of your foot, and in between your toes just in case.

10. Callous shavers should also be avoided.

When we get a pedicure, most of us want smooth feet free of callouses , but avoiding callous shavers is the best bet to reduce cuts and irritation on the bottom of your foot. If opened, the bottoms of your feet could collect dirt and bacteria, which could lead to a potential infection. Save the 5 dollars, and skip the callous removal, and opt for buffers and pumice stones instead. I promise they are strong enough to do the trick when used regularly.

Bogdan Radicanin
Bogdan Radicanin

My name is Bogdan Radicanin, but everyone calls me Boba. I also work as a full-time musician. I approach both jobs with a lot of passion, and I believe that's what makes me successful.