WRITTEN BY ALEXIA GAUTIER

The warmer weather is approaching, which means sandals, flip flops, and Essie colored toe nails.

An average of at least 15 people per day in the summer/spring use the same foot-bath. But, what are the chances of at least one of those people having a foot fungus?

Why does the nail technician ask you if it is alright to cut the cuticles after pushing them back? If too much of the cuticle is cut or pushed back too far, infectious agents can get into the cuticle area causing a bacterial infection.

Dr. Shelley S. Schuler, Dermatologist in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania Malvern, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, said “you can absorb bacteria from dirty foot bath water through a tiny cut or abrasion on your skin.”

Dr. Schuler also said, “The infection can hurt peoples legs, and can leave you with disfiguring scars that resemble cigarette burns.” Sometimes, the infection may look like a mosquito bite, and within time, will multiply.

The bacterial infections that can be transmitted from these whirlpools are called Fortuitum (boils that spread throughout the leg).

Often, those who go for weekly pedicures notice that their nails are slightly discolored and may have a yellowish tint or toenails the appear to be cracked.

People commonly believe that it is the chemicals that are discoloring the nail temporarily, until it is buffed down, or it will go away within time if they “let their nails breathe” without applying more nail polish for a couple of weeks.

Sadly, this is not the case. What you have is a nail fungus. Not all nail funguses look like those scary toe nails that look like they are thick, bumpy, and green. Consult your doctor, or look into nail fungus treatments.

Second, you are getting your pedicure, US weekly magazine in hand, while the massage chair is kneading; the woman next to you has that green toe nail (the one you envisioned 2 weeks ago with your scare), she also seems as if she has not been to the nail salon since 1978. You think it is absolutely repulsive but do not want to stare and be impolite.

When she is finished, the nail technician takes a sponge and hoses down the foot bath. Occasionally, you will see the nail technician spray a disinfectant.

What people don’t think about is the foot baths need to be turned on, and run for at least 30 minutes with hot water, and disinfectant in order for the bacteria to be removed. If this procedure is not carried out, the jets are turned on for the next client, while bacteria is being released from the previous pedicure.

Salon visitors commonly believe if they bring their own kit (nail clipper, cuticle cutter, pumice stone) they are protecting themselves from harmful bacteria. 1 out of 5 times, a person has a nail file included in the kit. Just like the cuticle cutter, the nail file or buffer is used directly on the nail, reused on another customer, and VOULA! Bacteria is spread!

Nail Salon tip: If you ask for a brand new nail file, they are required to open a new one for you. Nail salons are suppose to discard emery boards within every use, but usually do not.

As you are reading this, you’re probably thinking about the UV disinfectant machines. If you’re observant, most of the timethe tools are probably in the drawer next to the foot bath.

Occasionally, the nail technician will walk to the UV machine. Sometimes, they become lazy after the 5th pedicure of the day. Are you willing to take this risk?

Dashing Diva is a privately-held nail salon company that has 30 stores in The United States, Japan, China, Kuwait, and Philippines.

What is so significant about Dashing Diva? Customers are provided with their own personal nail kit, metal tools that sterilized and sealed in a plastic bag, no whirlpool foot baths, disposable callus scrubbers, and are constantly disinfecting their sinks and tabletops to kill bacteria.

Although Dashing Diva is tempting and the fantasy that goes beyond the typical basic nail salon (Let’s not forget to mention sipping away on a complimentary alcoholic/non-alcoholic cosmopolitan with your service every thursday), the price does not come cheap. Pedicures range from $30-$70.

If you are interested in the Dashing Diva experience, there are two locations within walking distance of St. Francis College. The first location is on 129 Smith Street, and the second location on 130 Montague Street.

Another alternative to having a relaxing, yet safe nail salon experience, bring your own tools, don’t let them turn on the jets to the foot bath (you can even look into disposable foot bath liners online), and do not shave/wax legs 24 hours before appointment (freshly shaved skin create small open pores on the skin where bacteria can enter), and be sure to shower using a anti-bacterial soap when you get home.

Now that you are conscious when it comes to your health and safety, break out those open toe shoes, take precaution, sit back, relax and pick out a shade from the new French Affair Spring 2011 collection from Essie!

I am wearing “Sand Tropez”, what color did you choose?

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