Ever left a nail salon with more than you bargained for – an infection? Some nail salons are havens for bacteria and germs, and a small cuticle cut can cause a serious fungal infection if proper hygiene techniques are not followed through.

English: Beauty and nail polish salon. Havana ...

The health risks associated with salons include bacterial infections; fungal infections like athlete’s foot, nail fungus and yeast; and viral infections.

Becoming aware of your salon’s surroundings and sanitary procedures is critical to keep your experience pleasant and healthy. Here are a few tips on what to look for during your next salon visit:

1.  How are nail tools, such as clippers, cuticle scissors and files sanitized? Heat sterilization or chemical sterilization with a germicide and fungicide is preferred. Some salons take extra precautions by using freshly unwrapped nail files for every client.

2.  Are you receiving a thorough scrub? Nails should be soaked and cleaned with soap before the service begins. Also, make sure the soap bin has been cleaned well.

3.  Outer appearances matter. A neat and organized space can reveal a lot about the salon’s practices. Also, find out if your salon is operating under current licences and that technicians are properly licensed and trained.

4.  When you pick out the polish colour, wouldn’t you prefer it to be unopened? Many salon patrons are concerned about unsanitary tools, but what about the hundreds of people who use the same nail polish?

Sanitizing instruments is only part of the solution. Using a clean, fresh bottle of nail polish will ensure your nails are kept sanitary. Nail polish should be treated just like a toothbrush and you certainly wouldn’t want to share your toothbrush with anyone.