Getting a manicure or a pedicure these days is easy considering the thousands of nail salons and beauty parlors that offer these services. But did you know that these procedures can be dangerous at the wrong hands?

Dr. Richard Scher of the American Academy of Dermatology said that you can ...Getting a manicure or a pedicure these days is easy considering the thousands of nail salons and beauty parlors that offer these services. But did you know that these procedures can be dangerous at the wrong hands?

Dr. Richard Scher of the American Academy of Dermatology said that you can contract a host of diseases from your friendly manicurist if you’re not careful. This usually comes from dirty instruments and overzealous cleaning.

“Millions of women visit manicurists to have their nails professionally manicured every year. Unfortunately, occasionally the result of having manicures is developing nail fungus or bacterial infections which can not only look bad but may also feel even worse. Although HIV or AIDS can be transmitted through broken skin that occurs during a visit to a nail salon, this is extremely rare,” explained Tracee Cornforth in “10 Tips for healthy manicures.”

Manicures have certainly gone a long way since they were first used in Egypt in 3,000 B.C. In those days, men and women of high social standing used henna to stain their nails red-orange. The darker the color of the nails, the more important the person was.

Today, it is estimated that American women (and men) spend over $6 billion yearly on nail care products and services. A big portion of that amount goes to manicurists who "treat" nails.

On the plus side, a weekly manicure can make your nails look better, cleaner, and prevent nail-biting which can be a sign of chronic tension or anxiety.

The risk from manicures comes mainly from dirty tools. Some manicurists simply "sanitize" their instruments with a nail polish remover or alcohol. Scher said this is not enough to protect the customer from various diseases.

"Only a heat-pressurized sterilizer offers complete protection. And although the hazards are hardly life-threatening (there are no known reported cases yet of blood-borne diseases like AIDS or hepatitis being transmitted), you can get warts and other infections if tools aren't properly sterilized," said Dana Sullivan in Health magazine.

One common nail problem you can get from a bad manicure is onychomycosis or ringworm of the nails, a stubborn nail infection that’s difficult to treat. This can discolor your nails and make them dull, brittle, and flaky. The cuticle becomes red, tender, and swollen, and pus may ooze from your infected nails.

To minimize your risk of acquiring onychomycosis and other nail problems, go to a reputable parlor or salon. Make sure the place is clean and well-lighted. Bring your own tools if possible and keep them clean. If you’re not using your own manicure kit, see to it that all instruments are cleaned and disinfected before and after they are used. Manicurists should wash their hands before and after each client.

If you develop an infection after the procedure, report the matter to your state cosmetology board. Prescription antifungal medications may ease your suffering but not all of them work and some have serious side effects. A better alternative is Somasin AFS. This natural fungus-fighter stops stubborn nail infections in just seven days. Check out http://tinyurl.com/8jkw6ma for details.

Author's Bio: 

Janet Martin is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and published author. Many of her insightful articles can be found at the premiere online news magazine www.thearticleinsiders.com.