We often visit nail salons to relax, get pampered, and put our feet up, but how many times have we felt the need to cover our noses due to smells, or had to close our eyes due to the chemicals? There is a reason why your nail artist is wearing a face cover, so why aren’t we?
Gases, and Chemicals, and Toxins, Oh My! Products used in nail salons can contain many chemicals that can have serious health effects to any salon visitor. Some of these harmful chemicals and the products that they can be found in are as follows:
- Acetone in nail polishes and nail polish removers can cause headaches, dizziness, and can also irritate eyes, skin, nose and throat.
- Formaldehyde, also found in nail polish and nail hardener, can cause difficulty breathing,coughing, asthma-like attacks, and wheezing. It can also irritate eyes, skin, throat and cause allergic reactions. Formaldehyde can cause cancer.
- Ethyl methacrylate (EMA), an artificial nail liquid, can cause asthma, as well as irritate your eyes, skin, nose, and mouth. It can also cause difficulty concentrating. If you’re pregnant, this chemical can affect your unborn child.
- Toluene, which can be found in nail polish and fingernail glues, can cause dry or cracked skin, headaches, dizziness, and numbness. It can also irritate your eyes, nose, throat, and lungs as well as causing damage to your liver and kidneys. If you’re pregnant, this chemical can also harm your unborn child.
- Dibutyl phthalate, found in nail polish, can cause nausea and irritated eyes, skin, nose, mouth, and throat. Long-term exposures to high concentrations may cause other serious effects.
During your salon visit, you can be exposed to harmful chemicals, dust, vapors, and if not careful, you can even ingest it in your food and drink. Since our appointments are usually about 30 minutes or longer, that is plenty of time for the chemicals to enter our bodies and have an adverse effect on our health.
Another air quality concern doesn’t even originate from the salon itself: sick customers. Most salons will not turn away customers who are sick, so the chair that you’re sitting in could have been the resting spot of someone who has the cold, or worse. Airborne bacteria can linger on chairs, magazines, and tables, so although you may not see them, it’s very possible that they’re there.
What’s to be done About the Air Quality?
So what can we do to protect ourselves? One step to help alleviate the foul smelling chemicals is to be sure that your salon is well ventilated. Opening doors, windows, and air vents can reduce chemical exposure by 50%, so if the salon has an air ventilation system, it should be turned on at all times. Placing fans near opposite doorways or windows will also help to circulate the air by pulling air through one end of the salon and out through the other.
Another option is to have an air purifier in the nail salon. An air purifier with a true HEPA filter will not only trap airborne particles, such as dust and bacteria, but with an added Charcoal Based Activated Carbon filter, you can expect it to trap the chemicals, toxins and odors that are ever present during your stay.
While your salon visit might be temporary, the harmful chemicals and toxins can have a lasting effect on your health. Remember that beauty is not only skin deep.