Masculine But Touchable
When you walk into a beauty salon, you're hoping to exit as a dazzling new you. You want to be transformed. A hip haircut. An oh-my auburn touch-up. A freshening facial. And hands that flaunt a "don't work" attitude with sculptured nails sporting eye-catching colors. Or, for guys, hands that say "masculine, but touchable. "You definitely are not looking to trade that $20 or so you pay for a manicure for an infection that lands you in the hospital, like the South Carolina woman who sued the posh Breakers hotel in Palm Beach.
Nail Cosmetics Is A Booming Industry
She was awarded $850,000 (The Breakers says it will fight the jury award) after going home with a staph infection she said was the result of a manicure with unsanitary tools. Nail cosmetics is a booming industry with more than $6 billion spent annually on nail salon services in the United States. And this award isn't likely to deter anyone from getting manicures -- they generally are safe. But how can women and men protect themselves the next time they're soaking in a fingerbowl?
Be The First Client
"Some manicurists charge you for your tools and keep them in a file for you. I would prefer to show up with my own clippers and files," says Dr. Leslie Baumann, director of the Division of Cosmetic Dermatology at the University ofMiami. Ask, if you're not sure the tools at the salon are sterile, and you don't have your own. Even better, be the first client of the day so you know the tools are clean.
Never Let Them Cut Your Cuticles
"The use of sharp instruments during a manicure can result in traumatic nail problems, as the cuticle is often clipped or removed with small nippers or metal scrapers," says Dr. Phoebe Rich, clinical associate professor of dermatology, Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland. "The cuticle serves an important function in protecting the nail from organisms, and when it is removed there is a space where bacteria and fungus can enter." Some states even have laws making it illegal to have your cuticles cut in a salon. Pennsylvania is one.
Bring Your Own Nail Polish
Really good salons use different polish for those with a nail fungus
vs. those without. Getting a nail fungus is the biggest threat," says Baumann. If you have any burning, stinging or itching after a nail treatment, it may signal an allergic reaction to one of the products used on your nails. See your doctor. Watch out for methacrylate(MMA) compounds in acrylic nails, toluene sulfonamide formaldehyde resin in nail lacquers, and formaldehyde in some nail hardeners.
"Although the liquid form of MMA that is used in acrylic nails has been banned by 23 states and the FDA has issued warnings about its hazards, the substance is still being used in some discount salons because it costs so much less than the safer acrylate alternatives," says Rich. But chances are slim that you will end up with a life-threatening infection when all you bargained for was attractive nails."The risks are really minimal," says Baumann, "and I think the lawsuit is ridiculous. Staph bacteria are everywhere and the client could have gotten it elsewhere."
Professional Licensee Population
The cosmetology industry in California is the largest professional licensee population of any industry or profession in the country. The Board of Barbering and Cosmetologylicenses and regulates the barbering and cosmetology industry, includingmanicure services. Board inspectors conduct inspections(routine,random, and complaint-driven) for the safety and protection of both.
Cosmetologists and Manicurists
As of May 2000, there were approximately 415,000 total licensees in California, which include 89,329 manicurists. Cosmetologists and manicurists perform services that require them to actually “lay hands” on their clients. They use a variety of potentially hazardous substances in their practices — chemicals, sharp tools, and chemical procedures that alter hair, skin, or nails.* Note: Image(s) the courtesy of http://www.dreamstime.com.