How Safe is the Salon?
How Safe is the Salon?
A recent article in The New York Times recounted the story of a person who got nicked with a cuticle clipper at a nail salon… and wound up in the hospital with a staph infection a day later. Journalist Rachel Felder’s New York Times story details the possible health risks carried by salon beautifiers like waxing and nail treatments, hair and eyelash extensions, and even spray tanning. While dermatologist Dr. Joshua Zeichner, interviewed for Felder’s article, says that serious infection from these kinds of salon treatments is rare, he points out that it does happen and people should know how to prepare for it, as well as what to look for.
Many salons have impeccable standards of cleanliness, and follow established guidelines on disinfecting and sterilizing tools and equipment. However, especially during the summer when there are high turnover rates and hot environments containing a lot of bacteria, it’s important to take extra precautions to avoid infection. In the article, Dr. Zeichner says one thing you can do is to have the cuticles pushed back instead of cut because the cuticles are there to protect from infection. He says to be careful about spray tanners too – colorants in the tanning solution may be harmful if ingested, inhaled, or if they are sprayed into your eyes. Dr. Zeichner recommends that masks be worn during these treatments. He also says that some salons may “double dip” wax applicators from one client to another, presenting a potential health hazard during waxing treatments. Dr. Zeichner says it might be worth putting off your waxing appointment to another time if you have a cut or open wound, no matter how small, in the area that you are getting waxed. Waxing can also result in inadvertent removal of the top skin layer causing irritation, as well as ingrown hairs that can become infected.
Another dermatologist interviewed in the article mentioned problems that can arise from eyelash extensions. Dr. Doris Day says that if you rub or tug at the extensions too much, the follicle can become damaged and lead to permanent loss of lashes. Hair extensions may also pose some issues. The pressure that is often exerted by them can cause hair breakage, alopecia, and even hair loss. Some salons advise clients to space out the time between adding and removing extensions, or use a clip-on hair extension, which can be less harsh on the scalp.