A trip to the nail salon should be considered a treat, but it can unfortunately be a dangerous indulgence due to the harsh chemicals and toxins found in numerous products used by salons and spas. Not to mention the polluted air quality surrounding you while you’re trying to relax for a manicure or pedicure. Exposure to these products are not only toxic for you but may also be harmful for the environment and even your unborn child. This doesn’t mean you have to forgo your mani-pedi routine altogether, but rather be informed and aware of what to steer clear of while at the salon. Below find some of the specific ways you can protect yourself and stay safe of harmful toxins and chemicals commonly found in even the most luxurious nail salons and spas.
Picking Your Polish
It may be packaged in a small bottle but your standard nail polish formula is chock full of chemicals, preservatives, and other toxins you wouldn’t want near you let alone applied directly to your skin. Fortunately, non-toxic polishes do exist. The best and safest polishes to look for are categorized as 5-free. This means they are free of formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate (DBP), toluene, camphor & formaldehyde resin. Most nail salons provide 5-free options, so be sure to ask about them during your next visit. A few of our favorite natural brands include: Kure Bazaar, Aila, Deborah Lippmann, Jenna Hipp Nails, and Zoya.
Dryers in nail salons typically use ultraviolet light—the same type of lights used in tanning beds—to dry and harden nail polish, especially with gel polish. These dryers emit various levels of radiation, which can lead to skin damage, or even worse, skin cancer depending on the amount of exposure. What can you do to stay safe and keep your polish perfect? Turn the UV lights off when drying if possible or carefully air dry your nails or ask the salon for a regular fan instead.
This may seem counterintuitive but it’s best to skip shaving your legs before a pedicure as it can leave you more prone to infection since freshly shaved legs have open pores and small nicks that are more susceptible to infectious diseases. Many pedicure stations use recycled water (gross!) and depend on harsh chemically-laden cleaning products to “sanitize” the foot tub, which is why it’s best not to expose open wounds (or even the tiniest of nicks) to the elements at a salon or spa. The best general rule would be to avoid shaving at least one day leading up to your pedicure.
Will you take note of these guidelines before you next trip to the nail salon? Tell us if you found these safety tips helpful in the comments below.