Policy Report by Letitia James: How clean is your salon?

Policy Report by Letitia James: How clean is your salon?

 Recently public advocate for the City of New York Letitia James released a report “How Safe is Your Nail Salon?” outlining several public health concerns with NYC nail salons and calling for more meaningful regulations as well as increasing the number of inspectors and establishing more stringent guidelines in order to protect the public health and safety of New Yorkers.  As a dermatologist and nail expert with a New York City practice focused on nail disorders and nail surgery I am at the forefront of the issues that Letitia James describes such as nail care products with harmful ingredients that can be damaging to the skin and nails, inconsistent salon safety standards, government safety and hygiene regulations that are not being enforced, and infectious and trauma related issues.  I am privileged to be in a position to offer treatment to patients with nail issues who seek my care on a daily basis and although I believe that everyone should be able to enjoy a relaxing manicure or pedicure there are several precautions that you should take in order to prevent a manicure or pedicure disaster. 


 The first impression of the salon is very important.  When you walk in, does the overall appearance feel clean?  Look around at certain details.


-Are the floors clean?

-Are the technician’s licenses displayed, and do the photos match up?

-Are the licenses up to date?

-Do the technicians wash their hands before and after each client?

-Are the products in properly sealed, well labeled containers?

-Is the salon well ventilated?


Look at the implements:

 -How are they being sanitized and disinfected?

-Where are they being stored in between clients?

-Are they using one-time use items such as emery boards, orange sticks, pumices, buffers, and toe separators once?  Or are they erroneously reusing?


There is quite a bit to take in when visiting a salon, especially for the first time.  Although most salons adhere to strict disinfection guidelines, if you are concerned and want to “take your health into your own hands” I would suggest that you bring your own tools and sanitize them at home by cleaning them in hot, soapy water, boiling, and then drying and storing them in a dry place.  Make sure that you never visit a salon if you have an open wound or active infections in the area where you are receiving your service as this could put you at risk for developing a skin or nail infection and having to visit me!  Last, but not least, never ignore abnormalities that appear after a salon service.  If you are concerned about an issue be it an allergy to a product or a possible infection then seek care from a board certified dermatologist immediately.


Here is Letita’s full report: