Before Your Next Pedicure, Make Sure the Nail Salon is Sanitary
RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) -- Sit back and relax. The water is warm. The tools are heated to temperatures topping 200 degrees. It sounds like the makings for a pedicure, and it is at Chesterfield Podiatrist's office.
Dr. Mitchell Waskin opened a nail medi spa a couple years ago for Diabetic patients or those on chemotherapy, people whose conditions required some extra care. There was so much demand, however, that he recently expanded to help handle all the cases of fungus, infections and other issues clients were contracting at their neighborhood salons.
A woman who asked not to be identified understands all too well. "She just went too far, and it wasn't a good pedicure," she says, talking about a salon visit last year that resulted in an ingrown toenail. "She kept trying to fix it with subsequent visits, and then it got infected. In fact I had to take antibiotics before I could get it, the toenail removed and the doctor came in and removed the toenail. Antibiotics, surgery, yeah. It was in-office surgery but it was still surgery. It hurt."
A year later, and that toenail is barely grown out. Meanwhile, the woman's medical bills have added up.
Waskin says that is not uncommon. "There have been studies done which showed some people who saved $20 on a pedicure ended up spending tens of thousands in healthcare costs because of infections they got and then trying to cure those infections."
There are infections and hard-to-treat fungus caused by using nail files and buffers on one client after another. Waskin says you will not find that at his medical nail salon. Also, cuticles are never cut because that can be a gateway for germs. There is no whirlpool at the medi spa either. Even the EPA says the pipe work can harbor and then circulate bacteria.
"The liquid disinfectants and the ultraviolet lights have been shown not to 100% kill all bacteria, viruses and fungus," Waskin explains but says a steam autoclave like the ones used for surgical tools will. "This is the same technology that's used in hospitals and absolutely kills 100% of the bacteria, virus and the fungus."
Waskin says neighborhood salons might pull out packs used in steam autoclaves to give the impression they have used one, but clients should take a closer look to be sure.
"If you see a packet that is pink or blue it means it was not steam-sterilized. After it was properly sterilized, the indicator will turn gray or black," he points out the color tab on the packets.
Annette Nelms says the medical salon thankfully caught an ingrown nail before it turned into a nightmare, so now she does not go anywhere else for a pedicure. "They're meticulous about paying attention to the toes rather than the color of the polish. They're paying attention to the medical aspect of giving a pedicure instead of the aesthetic."
Nail medi spa prices are comparable to what you would spend at some places you can go to in a strip mall. If that is not convenient but you are still concerned about safety, the Virginia Department of Processional and Occupational Regulation has a sanitation checklist you can follow at any salon. It also encourages you to report any concerns about cleanliness or how the salon is offering a treatment.
Waskin says services like paraffin wax can be relaxing, but you should beware of any reused wax. Anything pulled off of someone else's skin ends up on yours. Also, ask to look at the filter on a whirlpool foot bath. It should be cleaned and disinfected between every client to cut down on potential problems.
Copyright 2014 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond
Posted: Nov 17, 2014 4:21 PM CST
Updated: Nov 18, 2014 7:45 AM CST