Treating yourself to a salon manicure and pedicure can be very relaxing and rejuvenating but take precautions to avoid any sort of spread of infection like warts and nail fungus.
What exactly is a manicure?
You sit back in a salon and first your hands are soaked in bowls of warm bubbly water. Then the nails are cleaned, cut and filed, the cuticles are pushed back and any extra skin is cut away. The nails are then buffed and polished. A moisturizing cream is applied on the hands and massaged.
What are the infections and other reactions commonly caused by manicures?
Sometimes, acrylic glue is used to fix false nails or nail wraps. This glue can cause allergies which irritate the hands and eyes.
The nails could acquire an infection with a fungus called yeast. Yeast-infected nails become deformed, and start breaking and crumbling.
A large population lives with chronic hepatitis – without being aware they even have it. Some studies point the source to nail salons where clients are at risk when sharp instruments are infected and re-used.
What steps should you take to avoid infections due to manicures?
First, make sure you don’t have a skin or nail infection as you could spread this to many other women.
Both you and the nail technician need to wash hands well before a manicure and use a sanitizer which has 70% alcohol before starting the manicure.
Refuse to use instruments which are lying around open. Make it a point to see that a new set is opened from a sealed envelope. Instruments like scissors and clippers must be cleaned well, disinfected with alcohol and kept in the sterilizers - which are also known as Autoclaves.
Autoclaves produce steam under pressure and can destroy microscopic germs. This is the same process used by hospitals across the country to sanitize operating tools.
It is better to discard any items which cannot be disinfected – like nail files and pumice stones. See that fresh ones are used. You can carry your own manicure set to be on the safer side.
Check that the nail technician wears gloves before working on your hands.
It would be a good idea to omit the cuticle pushing as cuticles actually protect us against fungal and bacterial infections. When there is an infection, the skin along the side of the nail swells up with pus. The podiatrist will have to cut open the skin at the nail site and remove the infection.
There are salon inspectors to keep a check on hygiene and unsanitary practices but as it is impossible to keep checks on a daily basis, customers should be aware of exactly how they need to assure themselves about hygiene before they can relax and enjoy being pampered.
Avoid getting a manicure or a pedicure if you have broken skin, cuts or abrasions. Do not get a manicure or pedicure at least 24 hours after shaving or waxing hands or feet.
Use a non-toxic nail polish; bring your own if you have any doubts. Some nail polishes have some toxic chemicals like - dibutyl phthalates (DBP), toluene, formaldehyde and oxybenzone, and should be avoided.