Manicures and Pedicures Fact Sheet
What are manicures and pedicures?
A manicure is a beauty treatment for the fingernails and hands; a pedicure is a beauty treatment for the toenails and feet. Both involve using tools, creams, oils and wax to improve your cuticles and clean, shape and polish your nails.
What are the health risks?
Since manicure and pedicure tools can become contaminated with bacteria, fungi and blood-borne viruses such as HIV, hepatitis B or hepatitis C, it is important that they are cleaned and disinfected using proper procedures prior to reuse, or depending on the tool, some tools should not be reused. You can also protect yourself from hepatitis B by being vaccinated. There is no vaccine for hepatitis C or HIV.
What should I look for before getting a manicure or pedicure?
Before you consider a manicure or pedicure, be sure that you don't have a skin or nail infection. You could spread the infection to your nail technician or other clients. It is important to get a manicure or pedicure from a salon inspected by public health. Toronto Public Health inspects all known nail salons annually to make sure they are taking the right steps to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. You can contact Toronto Public Health at 416-338-7600 if you are uncertain that a salon is inspected or would like to know about the inspection history.
How can the risk of infection be reduced?
Go to a salon that is inspected by your local public health unit. When a foot bath is used as part of a pedicure service, avoid shaving your legs to reduce your risk of getting an infection.
Your nail technician should undertake the following infection prevention steps as well:
- Wash his or her hands with soap and water or use a 70% alcohol hand sanitizer before starting the procedure.
- Use tools (e.g., scissors, clippers and pedicure razor blade holders) that have been cleaned and disinfected with alcohol or bleach before starting your manicure or pedicure. UV light "sterilizers" or glass (hot) bead "sterilizers" are not acceptable methods of disinfection or sterilization.
- Discard any item that cannot be properly cleaned and disinfected between clients such as nail files or pumice stones.
- Use a new pedicure razor blade for every client and then discard into a special "sharps" container immediately after use.
- Use a foot bath that has been cleaned and disinfected, with a disinfectant such as bleach, before starting your procedure.
- Dispense all lotions and creams in a way that does not contaminate the remaining lotion or cream (no "double dipping").
What else should I expect from my nail technician?
- If an infection is suspected on your skin or nails, you should be denied service and be advised to see a doctor. A nail technician should never provide you with treatment for nail mould or fungus.
- The nail technician should be willing to answer all your questions about the procedure and any infection prevention steps taken.
- The salon should be well-lit, clean and tidy.
How can I report a complaint?
A complaint about infection control practices in a nail salon in the City of Toronto can be made by calling 416-338-7600, TTY 416-392-0658. All complaints are confidential and can be anonymous.
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Find out what you need to know before you go.
Last updated October 2011