Living in a southern climate means that every day is filled with sandal or flip-flop weather. This naturally translates to pedicures being one of the most sought after spa services.
What we have come to realize is that even the savviest of San Diego spa goers feels awkward asking questions about hygiene policies. I know we’ve all wondered how safe it actually is to get certain treatments, but not everyone wants to ask in fear of stepping on the professional’s toes.
Answering all the questions you’ve always wanted to ask, this is the first in a series of beauty features confronting everything you need to know about spa hygiene. It’s the lowdown on head-to-toe spa hygiene, straight from the spa professionals at Serenity Spa and Salon. Stick with us to ease your mind about safe hygiene practices so you can truly relax and enjoy your spa experience.
Let’s Start With Our Feet
Q: I have heard so many horror stories about people getting infections and diseases every time they get a pedicure at a nail salon. Is this really true or are people just over exaggerating?
A: Nail boutiques and some day spas that have been around for years often still use pedicure chairs with re-circulating water jet systems. Basically, the system is created by pumping water through a network of pipes that can retain bacteria and is difficult to clean and disinfect between customers. Other spas you may frequent have portable foot bowls that technicians can carry from guest to guest and don’t always get thoroughly washed and dried in between. Both of these scenarios could lead to a very unpleasant infection that would keep you running from ever having another pedicure again.
At Serenity Spa and Salon our pedicure chairs are essentially ‘pipeless’ foot basins. Don’t be mistaken, you will still get that relaxing whirlpool/Jacuzzi feeling, minus the worry of impending critters. These top-of-the-line chairs are equipped to manifest the jet-like feeling by propeller motion rather than simply moving the water through pipes where bacteria can accumulate. In order to completely prevent infection, we follow these steps:
- Drain water out of basin after each guest
- Thoroughly wash basin with anti-bacterial soap between each guest
- Remove and clean filter between each guest
- Circulate special hospital grade disinfectant in basin with the propeller action for 10 minutes between each guest
- Circulate special hospital grade disinfectant in basin with the propeller action for 10 minutes at end of each day
- Soak basins for 24 hours with special hospital grade disinfectant once a week
- Log each cleaning cycle
These strict safety measures allow us to provide our guests with the luxury of big comfy chairs and whirlpool pleasure along with the piece of mind of not having to share infections or fungus with the last person who got their toes done. It’s the perfect marriage between luxury and hygiene!
Q: For some reason I get a build up of heavy calluses on my heels. It doesn’t matter how often I get a pedicure they keep coming back. A friend of mine referred me to a spa that uses razor blades to remove calluses. I love my nail technician and don’t want to leave her salon so I gave her permission to use a razor on me but she refuses. Why?
A: Old school nail technicians were taught how to remove calluses with a razor, but it is no longer a practice in the state of California. In fact, according to the California State Board of Barbering & Cosmetology it is illegal to use tools such as razor callus shavers (AKA: Credo Blades), metal scrapers or graters. Used improperly these devices can cause injuries that require medical attention. The new regulations are in place to prevent misuse of these razor blades. Calluses are there for a reason and it is actually not in your best interest to remove all of them. They naturally develop in areas that are in constant pressure by our daily activities and kind of act as a protective layer on the foot.
At Serenity Spa and Salon, to reduce the build up of heavy calluses, we use an alpha hydroxy callus remover that sits on the bottom of the foot for several minutes to soften the callus. Our nail technicians then use a foot paddle (cleaned with hospital grade disinfectant in between each guest) with pre-packaged sandpaper like files that have never been used on anyone else and are strictly for an individual use.
Please note that if your feet continue to have more callus than you like you may want to visit the real foot doctor. We can keep you looking great, but podiatrists and other foot care professionals are permitted to use other instruments to significantly remove greater amounts of callus.
Q: I thought it was all about getting my toes looking cute. As the customer, what else should I know?
A: Beauty services should never hurt or injure you, or put you at risk of infection. Try not to forget that it truly is about your health and safety first when it comes to looking your best. You really want to keep yourself educated on what to look for when you go to a new place or even a place you’ve been going to for years and years. To keep yourself protected, the State Board suggests the following consumer tips:
- Check for a current establishment license to be posted in the reception area of the salon
- Ensure your nail technician’s license is posted in plain view at their work station
- Do not shave or wax your legs 24 hours prior to receiving a pedicure
- Do not get a pedicure if you have broken skin or lesions on your legs or feet
- Do not be afraid to ask your nail technician how the pedicure chairs are cleaned, as you have every right to ask this before your service begins
- You have the right to ask to view the cleaning logs to find out when the basins were last disinfected
- Don’t risk your health! Leave the spa if you have any doubts about cleanliness
- You should report any side effects or unpleasant experiences associated with a service to your nail technician immediately
Jessica is the Spa Director at Serenity Day Spa and Salon.