Why nail technicians should not work on infected nails and what to do to minimise the risk of passing on infections.
As nail technicians we are taught to recognise an assortment of nail conditions which constitute a contraindication (a reason not to complete a service or treatment). However we are not qualified to diagnose a condition because we are not medically trained. However if your nail technician suggests that you see your doctor before he/she is happy to complete your treatment you should definitely listen. As part of the consultation process before any treatment you should complete your clients record card and check the nails thoroughly in order to satisfy yourself that there are no contraindications.
The reason for this training and for withholding treatment is so that we do not inadvertently pass on infections to our clients or ourselves. To prevent the chance of any missed symptoms passing on infections a reputable salon or technician will follow a strict cleaning and disinfecting process.
Tools and files
The most common way to pass on infections is via tools and files used to manicure the nails in preparation for the application for the application of polis, gel polish or nail enhancements (extensions).
Metal Tools must be cleaned and disinfected between each client and should never be re used before a thorough clean with soap and water followed by a dip in an appropriate disinfectant. I prefer to use anti bacterial soap and Barbicide disinfectant.
Files can either be disposable or can be cleaned and disinfected between clients. I scrub the files with anti bacterial soap and a nail brush which I keep just for this purpose to remove and debris, I then rinse and dry them. Once they are dry I thoroughly spray them with a nail file disinfectant spray.
Towels and desks
Towels must be replaced between every client and washed at 60 degrees to minimise any chance of passing in any infections. I also use Detol in wash disinfectant for added assurance.
Desks must be wiped down and then treated with an appropriate disinfectant spray. I like Mundo hard surface spray.
UV or LED lamp
Again the lamp should be cleaned with soap and water then treated with a disinfectant spray like Mundo hard surface cleaner.
Infection passed by nail polish according to industry expert and scientist Doug Schoon:
“Fungal organisms and bacteria die pretty quickly in nail polish and they certainly CAN NOT grow. However, if a brush is swiped across an obviously infected nail plate it is possible to transmit an infection to next client, Not likely, but possible. So, this is another reason why Nail technicians should never work on obviously infected nails plates.”
In conclusion as a nail technician these high standards of cleanliness are imperative to running a successful and responsible business. As a client you should insist on clean tools, files, towels and desk areas. If you’re in any doubt ask, if your technician isn’t happy to show you or explain to you their processes in regards to hygiene then avoid having any treatments with them.