What dangers are lurking in some nail salons?

An article in this week’s Daily Mail, 5th October 2014, highlights the certain dangers that can be found in having a harmless manicure or pedicure. Nail Salon

The case of Kate Cassidy from Berkshire, perfectly illustrates what can happen when acrylic nails are applied. Beauty Technicians glued on a false nail tip and painted over this tip, a process which recurred several times over several years. The first application was back in 2011. To start the process, the natural nail has to be vigorously filed down. This is done, with a drill that is like a small sanding machine, to allow the acrylic nail to stick to the finger. Kate explains “It was agonising at first, but I thought this was normal. I would take paracetemol before every visit. My nails looked fantastic and remained shiny for weeks”.


Every fortnight, as Kate’s nails grew out, she returned to have an ‘infill’ procedure, where extra acrylic solution was applied to fill the gap between the finger and the false nail. This cost her £16.00 a go. Every six weeks, she would then pay a further £25.00 to have the old acrylic nails removed and the procedure repeated with the drill and new acrylic nails applied. Kate continues “I knew my nails were being whittled away, but once I got into the habit, it was incredibly difficult to stop”.


Last September, amidst concern that her cuticles were inflamed and her nails smelt mouldy, she decided to visit a different salon. When this new Nail Technician removed the acrylic nails, she was horrified, as all ten of Kate’s nails were white from a fungal infection. According to the Nail Technician it was so bad, Kate could have easily lost all her nails.


The United States, Australia and New Zealand have all banned the use of methyl methacrylate, the chemical in this acrylic application. The view taken this acrylic is seen as so damaging to the health of the nail.


Joanne du Plessis, Partner at Shires Law, personal injury solicitors, has seen an increasing number of these beauty claims.  She warns of the dangers of attending beauty salons and advises “Unfortunately, many of the therapists are not qualified and often the salon does not carry adequate insurance. Injuries commonly comprise infections and severe allergic reactions. Wounds can result from the incorrect use of sharp instruments and in extreme cases the infection can lead to loss of nails or even fingers”.


Dianne Rossiter, Owner of Cheltenham Gloss, a salon which specialises in nail treatments, continues “It is important to remember, that just like any other beauty treatment, nail applications should be a pleasant and pampering experience.  Discomfort of any kind is not normal and where treatments are carried out in the correct way, the health of your natural nails will not be compromised.”


Currently, the beauty treatment industry is unregulated. Some salons are using incorrect application and removal methods and not following strict hygiene protocols and even, in some cases, using counterfeit nail products.  The repercussions for clients and the health of their natural nails can be catastrophic and take months – if not years – to put right.  What this means, for the many hundreds of trained nail experts, is that the UK nail industry as a whole is tainted by those cutting corners to make a fast buck.

Dianne advises “The best piece of advice I can give to anyone looking for a nail technician is never be afraid to ask for evidence of training qualifications and an insurance certificate.  Any nail technician worth their salt will proudly show you a qualification for every nail service on their treatment menu.  If they can’t, or are unwilling to do so, don’t even think about sitting down at their nail desk”!


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