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Minimize Your Risks When Receiving Manicures and Pedicures

Oct 24, 2012
Manicures and pedicures have been popular among women for a long time, and over the past few years they have become increasingly popular with men as well.


Manicures and pedicures have been popular among women for a long time, and over the past few years they have become increasingly popular with men as well. These nail services are considered common beauty treatments for many people and may include clipping, filing, shaping and polishing finger and toe nails.

However, if the equipment being used is not handled properly or if proper safety guidelines are not followed during the service, there is a risk of bacterial and fungal infections, as well as blood-borne infections, such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV.

Before you have a manicure or pedicure, the best way to minimize your risk is by carefully choosing a salon.  The first thing you should look for is a certificate of inspection by the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit.

Even when a salon has been inspected, it is still important for your health to ensure they are adhering to proper safety guidelines.  Here are some things to look for before agreeing to a service:

  • A salon that is clean, tidy and well lit;
  • Footbaths that are cleaned and disinfected after each use and free of dust, skin and nail clippings;
  • Single use items such as foam toe separators, flip flops, wood cuticle pushers, pumice stones, nail files and buffers with foam or wood in the center are only being used once and then disposed of after the nail service;
  • Stainless steel clippers, nippers and metal drill bits for electric files are being cleaned and disinfected between clients (UV lights do not provide effective sterilization.  If a UV light is used for storage, the nail equipment should still be cleaned and disinfected first);
  • Technicians are washing their hands and asking you to wash your hands or providing a foot soak before any services;
  • Technicians are willing to answer any questions you may have about the cleaning and disinfecting process at the salon;
  • Technicians are advising clients with nail fungal infections to seek medical attention before having nail service; and
  • Technicians have a neat and clean appearance.

Although manicures and pedicures can be a treat, they can potentially pose a risk to your health if the salon is not following safety procedures.  If you experience any complications, such as swollen and inflamed skin around the nails, see your doctor or health care provider.  You should also report infections or concerns to the health unit.


For more information about choosing the right salon and proper safety guidelines for manicures and pedicures, please visit or call Your Health Connection Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 705-721-7520 (1-877-721-7520) and speak with a public health inspector.


Dr. Lee is one of Simcoe Muskoka’s associate medical officers of health.

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