Sterilize or Nah?

Most of us women have tried buying the services of individuals who are “skilled”and “knowledgeable” in cleaning our nails or applying some funky or classy nail polish colors on them. Some pay the services offered in nail salons and some pay individuals who offer cheap house to house manicure and pedicure services.

Whenever you walk in a nail salon or while your on call nail technician cleans your nails, you would already be thinking of what nail polish color should you have next on your nails. Will you get a nail art? Maybe you should try the nude colors? Or perhaps be bold and try the loud pastel colors?   These are the thoughts that usually run into your head. But wait. Let me ask you something. Have you ever stopped and asked your nail technician how they sterilize their tools?

OK. So let me just share the things that I know with you because I think that this is a matter that most of us overlook .

There are a lot of diseases that can likely be acquired from nail salons. Surprised? You should not be. Why?  Because the tools used in the salon were not only used on you but also on previous customers and it will most likely be used on succeeding customers as well. Simply put: Most tools used are not disposable and, if not properly cleaned and sterilized, it will transfer bacteria and viruses from one customer to another.

Let me give you an example: HIV. HIV is a virus that attacks the immune system and its a disease that has no definite cure yet up to this day. Most of us think that it can only be acquired by having sexual intercourse with a person who has it. But it can also be transmitted through other body fluids like blood. So say for example, your technician used the tools on a customer who is infected with HIV then accidentally wounded the customer and some blood got into the tool, may it be a nipper or a pusher. If your technician uses the same tool on you and accidentally wounded you as well, the virus that was previously acquired from the previous customer will be transmitted to you and you will unknowingly be infected. Please note that sometimes you will not notice symptoms of these diseases until it’s too late.

Now you may be thinking, “what if my nail technician washes the tools with soap?”. Let me answer that for you. Washing the tools with water and soap won’t completely kill the bacteria or viruses. A percentage of it will still be left and that will be enough for the bacteria or viruses to multiply again and be transmitted to succeeding customers.

Now you might say, “Well, that’s easy. I’ll just make sure my nail technician doesn’t wound me.” The thing is , a lot of us , especially here in the Philippines, still believe that cutting the skin on the sides is still necessary to achieve a perfect manicure or pedicure. But it is not–I will explain this on another blog. How is this relevant to the topic? Cutting the skin creates a wound that, although doesn’t produce blood, will still create an entrance for the bacteria and viruses to go into your system. It’s like you are happily welcoming the bacteria and viruses inside your body with open arms saying “Yes! Welcome! Enjoy your stay inside my body! Feel at home!”. Can you just imagine doing that?

Other diseases like HPV, AIDS, and even athlete’s foot can be easily transferred to you if your technician’s tools are not properly sanitized. Now how can you make sure that the clippers, nippers, pushers, and other reusable tools that are used on you are safe and properly sanitized? Here is a list:

1. Ask your Nail Technician.

Ask your nail technician or the receptionist what methods of sterilization or sanitation do they use to clean their tools. If they say that they only wash their tools using water or soap then I suggest that you politely say “Thank you” with a smile, turn to the door, and leave. Run for your life and never come back.

2. Make sure that they use an AUTOCLAVE or a UV sterilizer.

– AUTOCLAVE. For my beloved readers with any medical backgrounds, high five! Yes! nail salons must have autoclaves too! For those who don’t know what autoclaves are: An autoclave is “an apparatus in which special conditions (as high or low pressure or temperature) can be established for a variety of applications; especially :  an apparatus (as for sterilizing) using steam under high pressure” (merriam webster dictionary definition).

(A Cylindrical autoclave)

Autoclaves are used in hospitals and clinics to sterilize their tools as it is extremely effective in killing microorganisms like bacteria, fungi, and even viruses. Again, tools in nail salons have a big possibility of acquiring unwanted bacteria and viruses so using this equipment is highly recommended.

UV Sterilizer. A UV sterilizer is less effective than an autoclave. It only reduces the microorganisms but it doesn’t completely kill them. So personally, I would choose a salon that will give me the lowest percentage of risk of infection.

(UV Sterilizer)

3. Observe you environment

credits to:

-You should be observant of what is happening inside the salon. A clean environment means that there are less bacteria lurking around the place and it would mean that the place is well kept.

4. If all else fails, bring your own tools.

My very own nail tools 😀

– If you cannot find a salon near you that has an autoclave or UV sterilizer, then I would suggest that you bring your own tools. Don’t be afraid to tell your attending technician to use your tools. Even if you are to be judged or branded as a person with OCD, pay no mind. It’s better to be completely safe than to regret later on. If, however, you find a salon that uses an autoclave, maybe you could try and ask them if they could include your tools during one of their sterilization processes for that day. I’m sure they will be happy to oblige. Just make sure you don’t take advantage and bring your tools everyday. They might make you pay. *wink wink*

Do you have any comments, questions, or any suggested topic? Hit the comment section or like my page on facebook @spontanaileous.

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See you in the next blog!


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