Bacteria can lurk in unexpected places - check out these tips to stay safe at the salon this summer.
As the summer sun finally begins to peak out, so does our hair, skin, and nails—and after so many months kept captive under thick winter clothing, it’s only natural to want to put our most refreshed selves forward for the upcoming days of bathing suits, t-shirts, and sandals with a spa treatment or two.
However, pampering yourself doesn’t mean forgetting to protect yourself. Certain salon treatments, especially those involving nail care and hair removal, can pose health risks if not done properly and safely. Arm yourselves with information in regard to safe salon practices, and ensure that your next spa stop is a good one.
Keep it clean
It is important to ensure that all tools being used in the manicure or pedicure process have been properly sanitized. Since these are often used to push back cuticles and scrape under nails, they can contain harmful bacteria and lead to serious infections if not cleaned between clients.
Salons are considered to be at high risk for cross-client contamination if they store tools in dirty or unmarked containers. If you are unsure, ask—technicians should be able to explain how tools are cleaned and disinfected.
Salons are also putting you at high-risk if they do not sanitize their tools whatsoever, or if they use a UV Sterilizer—which looks like a white toaster oven and is not FDA-approved—to clean their tools. Look for salons that sterilize their instruments with steam or dry heat sterilizers, which efficiently eliminate bacteria without the use of chemicals.
Avoid bacteria in footbaths
The footbaths used to soak your feet pre-treatment can become cesspools of bacteria, yeast, and fungus if not cleaned properly. Footbaths should be drained, scrubbed with soap and water, rinsed with clean water, refilled with a disinfectant solution and drained and rinsed again before being used for the next client. Once again, if you are unsure about the salon’s cleaning procedure, ask your technician. Never soak your limbs if you have any open wounds or have shaved your legs immediately prior to an appointment, as this increases your risk of contracting an infection.
This rule applies to more than just the spinach dip at your mother-in-law’s birthday party. Technicians who re-dunk waxing applicators into the pot risk spreading bacteria between clients. Once again, if you have any nicks, ingrown hairs, or cuts in the area, your skin may be more susceptible to infection. Despite popular belief, the wax is not heated enough to kill off bacteria—ask your technician to use disposable waxing spatulas.
DIY spa day
You don’t necessarily need to go to a salon to receive five-star treatment—whatever mood you’re in, there are plenty of safe and affordable ways to treat yourself from home. Try an at-home facial or an easy ten-step manicure with fruit or nut oil.