Infectious Diseases

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Manicures & Pedicures: Make it Safe

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I Want a Manicure or Pedicure. What do I need to know?

Manicures and pedicures have become very popular beauty treatments for both women and men over the past few years. These nail services are now considered common beauty treatments for many people and may include clipping, filing, shaping and polishing the finger and toe nails.


There is a risk of bacterial infections, fungal infections and blood borne infections such as hepatitis as well as HIV if the manicure/pedicure equipment is not handled properly and if proper safety guidelines are not followed during the service.


Before you have a manicure or pedicure, minimize your risk by carefully choosing the nail salon. Below is a list of things you should look for in a nail salon:


The Nail Technician

Choose a reputable nail technician that will:

  • Always wash their hands before the service.
  • Ask you to wash your hands or provide a hand/foot soak before clipping and filing the nails.
  • Advise client’s with nail fungal infections to seek medical attention and treatment before having a nail service.
  • Always have a neat and clean appearance.
  • Answer any questions you may have about their cleaning and disinfecting processes at the nail salon.

If the nail technician can not or will not answer your questions, don’t proceed with the service and find a different nail salon that will answer your questions. It’s your body, your health, and your choice.


The Nail Salon

  • Should be clean, tidy and well-lit.
  • Manicure tables should be clean, organized, and free of dust as well as nail clippings.
  • Footbath chairs should be cleaned and disinfected after each use and free of dust, skin as well as nail clippings.
  • Nail files and buffers with foam or wood in the centre should be single use.
  • All foam toe separators, flip flops, wood cuticle pushers and pumice stones must be used once and disposed after each nail service.
  • Foot files should be clean with no skin debris and the wood handle should be varnished (not chipped).
  • Stainless steel clippers, nippers and metal drill bits for electric files must be cleaned and disinfected between clients. If there is nail or skin debris on this equipment, ask the nail technician for clean equipment.
  • UV lights do not provide effective sterilization to pedicure and manicure equipment. If a UV light sterilizer is used, the nail equipment should be cleaned and disinfected first.
  • Credo blades used to remove calluses on the feet can cause deep cuts and may result in bleeding as well as potential for infections. Try to avoid the use of credo blades. If a credo blade is used for pedicures, the blade holder should be cleaned and disinfected between uses, a new blade must be used for every service and the blades must be disposed of in a sharps container after use.
  • Washrooms should be clean and supplied with liquid soap and paper towel for hand washing.

Only visit nail salons that have been inspected by the health unit. Nail salons that have been inspected will have a recent certificate of inspection on display or available to show you.


What to do if there are Complications

  • See a doctor if you experience any complications such as swollen and inflamed skin around the nails.
  • Report infections or concerns with salon practices to the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit.


Safe Nail Service Checklist

  • The shop is clean and the work stations are clean as well as organized.
  • The nail technician washes their hands before they start the service and they ask you to wash your hands or they provide a nail/foot soak before the nail service.
  • All foam core emery boards, buffers, foam slippers and foam toe separators are single use.
  • All nail clippers, nippers, foot paddles and credo blade holders are to be cleaned and disinfected after each use.
  • Stainless steel equipment is cleaned and disinfected after each use.
  • Footbaths are cleaned and disinfected after each use.
  • The credo blades used for pedicures are disposed in a sharps container after each use and the blade holder is cleaned and disinfected after each use.
  • Foot files are clean with vanish on the wood handle. Foot files with exposed wood on the handles are discarded.


Note: UV lights do not provide effective sterilization to pedicure and manicure equipment.  


For more information about safe manicures and pedicures call (705) 721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520.

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Page Last Modified: Thursday, 03 May 2012.