Nails

What You Need (But Really Don't Want) to Know About Nail Salons

From unsanitary conditions to illegal tools; what you should look for to ensure a safe manicure/pedicure

Getting your nails done by a professional is a treat. It's relaxing, painless and, let's face it, really nice to have manicured hands and/or feet that look really good -- even upon close inspection.

The hiccup? All the (potentially infectious) germs that you may be exposing yourself to each time you plop your butt down into one of those massage chairs and put your feet into the too hot/not-hot-enough water.

READ: 12 Things Your Nail Salon Doesn't Want You to Know

Nail salons are, by nature of the tasks at hand, a breeding ground for bacteria. People's skin and nail bits harbor hosts of microorganisms and if employees aren't vigilant about maintaining a sterile work environment, you could be putting yourself at risk.

ABC news, via its sister broadcast, "20/20", recently went undercover to learn about some of the more egregious practices at a selection of salons. And, while they targeted San Francisco, you can be sure that the issues are not geographical and that you need to be observant when ascertaining the cleanliness of your local haunt.

Among the pointers ABC set forth for being sure you don't walk away with a chevron pattern and a fungus or (eek) staph infection:

• Arrive early in the day: your odds of getting a clean station and properly sanitized tools are better.

• Tools that have been dipped into the blue "sanitizing" liquid also need to be rinsed off and properly dried, they can't just go from blue to you.

• Invest in your own extra set of cuticle clippers, orange sticks, files, etc. and bring them along. This way you know you're being worked on with tools that have only touched your body.

• Resist the urge to shave your legs before getting a pedicure. Any open nick or cut sets out the welcome matt for infection causing bacteria. The manicurist doesn't care that your legs are stubbly. Like, at all.

For more tips you can watch this video.

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