Minimising the Risk of Catching an Infection at the Nail Salon or Spa — What You Can Do

Posted on: 21 September 2017

If not kept spick and span, nail salons and spas can harbour millions of bacteria, fungus, viruses and other infection-causing microorganisms. For this reason, all nail salons and spas operating in various states and territories across Australia are usually required to fully comply with state protocols for minimising the risk of catching an infection while at the nail salon or spa.

If you like spending money on little luxuries like getting your nails done at a posh nail salon or spa, you should be aware that your manicurist or pedicurist cannot assure you of a completely infection-free visit, even if they fully adhere to state protocols for disinfection. For this reason, it is important that you undertake personal safeguards to complement the efforts of your manicurist or pedicurist to protect you from potential infections.

Here are some things you should do to minimise the risk of catching an infection while at the nail salon or spa.

Get a personal manicure and pedicure kit.

Most licensed nail salons and spas do their best to keep all manicure and pedicure tools and supplies absolutely clean and hygienic all the time. However, some tools and supplies, especially those that are soft and absorbent (e.g. towels) or have nooks and crannies (e.g. nail brushes and cuticle clippers), can still be a breeding ground for infection-causing bacteria.

For this reason, many salons and spas won't mind letting you bring your own manicure and pedicure tools when you go for an appointment. Most tools are relatively inexpensive to buy so you should try to equip your manicure and pedicure kit with as many items as you can afford. Make sure everything is thoroughly soaked, cleaned and disinfected before and after every use.

Keep your cuticles intact.

Though you might find the cuticle around your fingernails and toenails to be an eyesore, it's best to leave it alone! The cuticle isn't meant to look good — its primary function is to protect your nails from pathogens that may cause infections. Clipping it away will leave your nails more at risk of a bacterial, fungal or viral infection. Going to a salon or spa where several people walk in and out may only make matters worse.

To keep your cuticles intact, you should soak them in tepid, soapy water for a few minutes and then push them back with a clean, soft towel. If your nail technician offers to clip them away, politely turn down the offer.

Nail technicians or artisans will know the nail shape and length that's best for you, so it is best not to fiddle your nails before going to the salon or spa.