- Personal Health Information & Self-Help
Is Your Nail Salon or Barber Shop Clean and Safe?
How safe is your salon or barber shop?
Is Your Salon or Barber Shop Clean and Safe?
It may not be. In fact, based on a study by a clinical assistant professor of dermatology at Baylor College of Medicine, who has studied salon infections and safety, we have a lot to worry about.
We tend to assume that if a salon is operating or just because the local barber shop has been in operation for years that it is safe. But there is an ugly side to getting manicures, pedicures, haircuts, Botox injections, and a waxing. Some things to worry about are poorly trained technicians, and dirty or illegal instruments.
In California with the strictest of standards, a supervising inspector says there are close to 4,000 shops with only 18 inspectors; this means that the shops only get inspected once every six years - unless the public complains. About 75 percent of the salons inspected have violations. Some which may be minor, like when a nail file is re-used when it should have been tossed. Real hazards are filthy foot spas.
In a current issue of a health magazine one woman tells about how a pedicure at an upscale spa led to a trip to the emergency room with a staph infections. A day and a half after getting a pedicure her fever was 101 degrees and her toe was five times its normal size. She now knows that if she did not get treated quickly and put on antibiotics for 10 days the infection could have spread to the rest of her body.
Like hospitals, salons can harbor dangerous infection-causing bacteria and viruses, including MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) and hepatitis B.
Visiting a salon has truly become an issue of ‘buyer beware’ and it is up to us to protect ourselves. Then what price beauty?
Some trouble spots to be aware of are:
The Foot Spa - in 2000, 110 women in Northern CA had pedicures at the same spa and were infected with a nasty bacteria known as Mycobacterium fortuitum. One doctor says that using a Credo blade is a form of minor surgery, and it is easy to slice the skin with cuticle cutters as well. People with diabetes or a compromised immune system are advised to avoid pedicures.
Manicure and Pedicure Instruments - the most dangerous tool is the Credo blade. This is the razor like device used in pedicures for shaving off calluses. Although illegal in many states, pedicurists still use it.
Chemicals and Relaxers at the Hair Salon - in 2007, doctors at a burn center in Chicago reported that a woman was hospitalized and received skin grafts after receiving chemical burns from highlights. The FDA says that hair straighteners and dyes are among the top consumer complaint and are known to cause itchy skin and trouble breathing.
Combs and Brushes - Even the so-called upscale salons are responsible for tossing used combs and brushes back in the drawer. They can carry fungal infections like ringworm, lice and dandruff.
The Shampooing Sink - tilting your head back while being shampooed can alter blood flow to the brain. A clean towel should be placed under the neck to minimize the problem .
Hot Waxing - it seems burns are fairly common when you are having body waxing done. If the aesthetician double dips the waxing stick there can also be an infection.
My nail salon stores my own personal equipment in a box with my name on it. It seems most people who use the salon have their own supplies. When I had a pedicure done, I do remember one time having that Credo blade used but the pedicurist asked first. I honestly don’t know if they are illegal in New York City - but in the future, I'll pass.
One thing I did not know is that each aesthetician should have their own license displayed at their work station. I know in any salon or spa I have ever entered here in the City there was always a license for the establishment (which should be displayed at the front desk). I assumed that covered everyone - but realistically it cannot. Barbers, hairstylist, manicurists, etc. do rent stations/booths in various salons. It does make sense that they display their own credentials.
In a recent San Francisco sweep, a supervising inspector found that there were license violations in 19 of the 20 shops inspected.
For more suggestions on being safe and protecting yourself when visiting any kind of salon, spa, or barber shop, please click on the link below.
For more recommended reading, see the link below:
The Ugly Beauty Products
- The Ugly Beauty Products
Often the beauty and personal care products we buy in our search for beauty and good health are in fact filled with toxins. The synthetic chemicals mimic estrogen and studies indicate that exposure to...