Windber Medical Center

WIN 2014

Spirit of Women magazine is a national publication presented to women by hospitals and their physicians. The magazine provides up-to-date, evidence-based healthcare information and promotes our hospitals as leaders in women's health excellence.

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Hands down: How to make sure your nail salon is safe By Susana Ramos W hether you're making a quick stop at the local salon or spending the day at a spa, manicures and pedicures are the perfect beauty pick-me-ups. But before you jump into that chair, here are some ways to ensure your next visit keeps your fingers and toes beautiful and healthy. SHUTTERSTOCK KNOW YOUR SALON With the soaring popularity of professionally done nails, your community undoubtedly has several options. Small, local places usually provide quick manicures and pedicures, and you can be in and out in less than an hour. Upscale day spas may also offer nail services, sometimes as part of packages that include massage or facial treatments. No matter where you go for pampering, though, be sure to look for signs that the salon area is clean and free of bacteria that can potentially cause dangerous infections: • Opting for a manicure? Make sure any tools have been safely disinfected in solution for at least 25 minutes. (If you're unsure, you can always bring your own tools.) • Is today a pedicure day? Avoid spa chairs that have jet or whirlpool baths, which can contain used water that's been recycled without being filtered. Instead, go for a chair with a separate foot tub, or ask that the filter on your chair be changed before you begin your pedi session. CHOOSING THE RIGHT NAIL TREATMENT While most manicures on natural nails are pretty straightforward, sometimes you may need a little extra durability or prefer a little more length. Acrylic nails are the most common type of artificial nail overlay, where a plastic tip and moistened powder are placed over your nail and filed down to look like a stronger, sturdier version of your natural nails. A growing trend in acrylics is NexGenNails, which provide the durability of a gel manicure without the fake nail typically used in acrylic nails. But acrylic nails should be applied only to dry nails; wet nails increase the chance that mildew will grow between the natural and acrylic nails, which can lead to infection. With gel manicures, a gel is applied to the nail, shaped and then set under an ultraviolet light until dry. Gel manicures can last longer than acrylic nails, but you will eventually need to fill in the nails again or have them removed by a professional manicurist. Be sure to ask about whether the gel nail polish contains a chemical called methyl acrylate (some do), which can cause an allergic reaction. • Avoid spa chairs with jet or whirlpool baths for pedicures, since they may contain used water that's been recycled without being fltered. w w w. s p i r i t o f w o m e n . c o m W I N T E R 2 014 SPI RIT O F WOM EN 25

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