Health and safety in UK nail salons

Is it safe to have your nails done in a salon? I’ve been warned about dirty equipment so feel a bit paranoid.

Fancy getting your nails done, but not convinced of the levels of hygiene in there? In answer to a reader’s question, The Mix explains what you need to know about health and safety in UK nail salons. Read on to get the facts. Our reader asked:

“Is it safe to have your nails done in a salon? I’ve been warned about dirty equipment so feel a bit paranoid.”

Are nail salons hygienic?

All workplaces, including nail salons, should follow health and safety laws and maintain a clean, hygienic environment. Of course, in reality some workplaces take these laws more seriously than others. If you’re concerned about health and safety in your workplace, have a read of this article.

Many nail salons are well run, with technicians who have been rigorously trained in health and safety and taught how to use and treat all the chemicals correctly. However, unfortunately there are some that pose a significant risk to health because of dangerous procedures, poor hygiene, inadequate ventilation and the use of certain chemicals.

What dangerous chemicals do nail salons use?

The main chemical to watch out for is methyl methacrylate (MMA), which has been associated with various problems including skin allergies and is banned in nail salons in the USA. In some UK salons it’s still used to affix nails (especially where treatment is very cheap), but should not be confused with polymerized MMA (PMMA), which is considered to be much safer.

Other chemicals and solvents used in nail salons can also cause respiratory problems if not handled correctly. It’s well known that breathing in solvents is harmful, so make sure the salon you visit has proper ventilation. Hygiene is also very important, as infection can easily be passed between clients and staff.

How to check health and safety at a nail salon

Habia, the beauty industry standards body, has published a Code Of Practice for Nail Salons and the Health and Safety Executive have issued a factsheet for nail salons. If you have any doubts about a salon, ask them about their procedures and whether they follow the guidelines in these documents. If they’re not happy to share this info with you, it might be better to walk away.

What has your experience of hygiene in nail salons been like? Let us know on our discussion boards. Looking for more articles on looks and appearance? Head over here.

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