May 18, 2016

Make Safety a Priority at Spas and Salons

I admit I will not go to a salon for trimming my nails since I am a person with diabetes. Yet, I know several others within our support group that do. One of them needed to go to the doctor because of an infection in one of her toes caused by the person in the salon. Fortunately, she went early enough that treatment saved her toe. I prefer my podiatrist, because he looks at my feet and checks for problems.

The author of this article in WebMD covers many of the safety tips for people that insist on using them and spas. If you have diabetes, you may get more peace of mind if you take precautions at the spa or salon.

Some of these precautions include:
  • Avoiding nicks or cuts on you skin.
  • Carrying your own tools that you have boiled to disinfect.
  • Do not let your tools be used on anyone else.
  • Have the bowl sterilized before you put your feet in.
  • If the salon doesn’t seem quite right or doesn’t look clean, don’t go in.
  • Always tell your nail technician or any spa-service provider that you have diabetes.
  • Make sure they practice good hygiene.

There are also other cautions, but never be afraid to leave is things don't look right. By using the above precautions, you will also lower your odds of getting an infection.

Because diabetes can cause poor blood flow to your limbs, it’s harder for white blood cells to reach small wounds so they can heal properly. If your nail technician nips your cuticle or rubs too roughly on your heel to remove dead skin, you can get a small wound that turns into a serious infection.

Ingrown toenails may also lead to foot infections, so it’s important to keep your nails trimmed and filed. If your blood sugar isn't well-controlled, or if you have damage to your nerves (diabetic neuropathy), be careful when trimming your nails. Also, tell your technician to be cautious before she gives you manicures or pedicures at a salon.

You can cut your nails way too short, and can cut the soft tissue around your nails. For someone with diabetes with complications like neuropathy, this can open the door to infection. Use caution with scissors or clippers, or using anything that can cut or lacerate your skin.

If you don’t feel comfortable trimming your own nails or going to a salon or spa, ask a podiatrist to do it instead. Podiatrists are doctors who specialize in foot care and treating foot diseases. A nurse practitioner or physician assistant at a podiatry clinic might also safely trim your nails.

Here are some safety tips for your next salon or spa visit, if you feel your must:
  • Tell the spa or salon owner, or your aesthetician, that you have diabetes before you begin any service. Talk to the staff about any concerns you have or precautions you need to take.
  • It’s safe to use tools like a pumice stone or sanding surface to remove dead skin from your heels. Be gentle, though. Avoid using metal scrapers to remove skin.
  • If you have corns or calluses on your feet, tell your technician to gently rub or smooth them rather than cutting them or using any liquid callus remover.
  • Make sure soaking water is not too hot to avoid burns you might not be able to feel. The water should be between 90-95 F. Ask the technician to test it before you put your feet in.
  • Tell your nail technician to trim your nails with a clipper and then file them smooth with an emery board.
  • Ask if soaking tubs and tools are washed and sterilized after each person’s use. If a salon or spa doesn't seem clean, don’t go there.
  • Tell your nail technician to never cut into the corners of your toenails. This might cause an ingrown toenail and an infection.

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