When an acrylic nail cracks and water enters the nail down to the nailbed,
"This client was told by the salon she went to that her nails were just
bruised. They proceeded to soak her nails in acetone to remove the acrylic
nails. This caused her nailbeds to burn intensely."
That client was diagnosed with nail fungus at a local hospital emergency
room. It took months for Prusinski to help this client's nails heal.
Prusinski recalled another case where a client's fingers burned intensely
while soaking her acrylic nails off with acetone. Glues used from other salons
had disintegrated her nail beds underneath.
Another nail technician, Stacey Shelton with JC & Company in Bradley, has
heard clients note that some technicians make their cuticles bleed, and use
files from a bleeding customer on another without sterilizing them first.
REGULATION OF NAIL SALONS
Though clients are developing nail fungus from poor applications of acrylic
nails, and poor manicures could pass hepatitis and other blood-borne viruses,
the Kankakee County Health Department's Environmental Health Division is not
required to inspect nail/beauty salons.
"We don't have enough people or resources to go into all of these
facilities," said John Bevis, director of the environmental health
division. Four KCHD inspectors routinely visit 600 food establishments a year,
beside inspecting septic tanks, wells and more.
No reports about nail salons are on file at area city building inspector
or code enforcement divisions,
Calls from disgruntled consumers are usually referred to the Illinois
Department of Professional Regulation, Springfield. They hold Sanitary Standards
guidelines for nail salons (see information below), and have a record of
licensed cosmetologists and salons.
When a salon that is not licensed is reported to the IDPR, license
application paperwork is given. There isn't enough IDPR manpower to find every
nail salon in the state and pass along paperwork.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
All cosmetologists must be licensed, the salons must be licensed, and
licenses must be displayed or immediately available upon request.
In mass production shops, there are usually 6-10 tables and only three people
working. Those three people are usually the only ones licensed, said Prusinski
who has visited other shops to see their techniques and ask questions.
During Prusinski's research she learned that MMA used in many shops costs
only $20 a gallon, while a gallon of required adhesive costs $200.
When you enter a salon using MMA, you will receive an instant headache
from the odor.
Find out the name of products being used. Make sure it is a brand-name.
Some nail technicians do not soak acrylic nails off, they peel them off with
a knife or another acrylic nail. This is improper.
Since it takes 3-4 hours to remove nails applied with MMA, peeling the nail off
saves them time.
Nails adhered with normal sealant usually take about one hour to remove with
Quite often techs in mass production salons use the same files multiple times
on different clients.
"You have to sanitize files and other equipment," said Prusinski.
"If a client has nail fungus, you must throw out any equipment used on that
client, except for instruments you can sanitize."
Without proper sanitization, blood-borne diseases can be passed, such as
Make sure the tech has a brand-name sanitizer at the table, not just one that
They must also spray the table and equipment between clients.
Other instruments should be stored in a bottle of sterile liquid in the client's
view; don't trust instruments that are simply pulled out of a drawer.
In mass production shops nail techs often drill the natural nail bed down to
the skin, which causes permanent damage by creating ridges in the nail bed. It
takes months to a year to grow out these ridges.
"These nail techs are trying to ruin your nail bed so you have to come
back," Prusinski said.
It is illegal to use a "drill" on the natural nail. It can only be
used on the tips, or acrylics.
Cuticles should never be cut. It is against the law, according to a web site
called www.nailsplash.com. Cuticles are "live skin" and "live
skin" can only be cut by licensed doctors with sterilized implements.
WHY PEOPLE CHOOSE MASS PRODUCTION SHOPS
"When clients can go to a mass production shop and receive a full set of
nails for $25, they will continue to go back," said Prusinski.
Compare that price to $45 for a full set of nails at a licensed salon.
Also, a full set of nails in a mass production shop will take a half hour to
apply, while it takes one hour in a licensed salon.
The technique is faster, she said, "but you get health risks" along
"More clients are now realizing what is going on," said Shelton.
Finding out who's licensed and how to file complaints
Only four of 24 local nail salons listed in phone books have a license
through the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation.
Mandatory licensing was Implemented In July of 1997. "They should know
that this is the law -- certainly we correspond with them frequently (every two
years) about license renewals," said Tony Sanders, spokesman for the IDPR.
When a cosmetologist, or nail technician receives a personal license,
paperwork received states that If they open a salon, it also must have a
As of August 9, there were 5,451 nail salons across the state with licenses.
A fee for a license Is $40 and a one-page application must be filled out.
That application can be downloaded off of the IDPR web site -- www.dpr.state.il.us
Barbers have needed licenses since 1917. In the 1960s, cosmetologists were
required to have licenses, said Sanders.
You can find out if a salon is licensed by calling the IDPR or see their web
site, then click on license lookup, name search, and cosmetology registered
salon/shop. Enter the salon name and see if it is licensed.
See their site also for monthly reports, to file for license paperwork, to
see if a cosmetologist is licensed, and to file complaints.
When a complaint is filed with the IDPR, the department sends an investigator
to the site to see if the salon, or nail technician/ cosmetologist is licensed.
If they do not have a license, a hearing process is held. A fine could be given.
The IDPR phone number is 217-785-0800.
Salon sanitary standards set by the
Department of Professional Regulation
The sanitary standards noted below by the Illinois Department of Professional
Regulation (1175.115/ Sanitary Standards) are to be followed by all licensees as
appropriate to their practice. Failure to comply with these standards shall be
considered unprofessional conduct and may be determined to be a violation.
The following is printed directly from IDPR information:
- "Hospital Grade Disinfectant" is defined as a disinfectant
that is registered with the Environmental Protection Agency as a
hospital-level disinfectant and that performs the functions of
bactericides (kill harmful bacteria), virucides (kill pathogenic
viruses), and fungicides (destroy fungus).
- "Disinfect" means to clean with an agent that eliminates
- "Sanitize" means to clean with hot water and soap.
- Sanitary Requirements
- All instruments and tools shall be sanitized before and after each
patron and kept in an air tight container until used.
- All nondisposable manicure implements shall be cleaned with a hospital
- Manicure tables shall be cleaned with an antibacterial disinfectant.
- Clean towels shall be used for each patron.
- Wood sticks and files (except sanitizable file and buffing block)
shall be discarded after each use.
- Shampoo bowls must be sanitized after each use.
- Hands must be cleaned before and after serving each patron.
- Head rests of any chair shall be protected with a disposable cover and
changed after each use, or a clean washable towel may also be used.
- All cosmetics shall be applied with sanitized or disposable
applicators and removed from the container with a sanitary spatula.
- Clean nondisposable esthetics sheets, gowns and head coverings shall
be used for each patron.
- Animals, such as birds and cats, are not permitted (with the exception
of seeing eye animals for the physically impaired).
- All floors, walls and furniture shall be kept clean at all times.
- All soiled towels shall be kept in a covered container.
- All clean towels shall be kept in a closed or covered space.
- All hair that is swept up from the floor shall be kept in a covered
- Proper disposal of unused products and packaging is required.
- Proper disposal and handling of hazardous materials is required.
- The use of nail products or the distribution of nail products
containing monomer Methyl Methactylate (MMA) is prohibited.
- No owner or manager of a salon or shop shall knowingly permit any
person suffering from a serious communicable disease, as defined in
public health regulations, to work on the premises.
- All owners or managers of salons or shops shall provide adequate
ventilation as required by the city, county or municipality and insure
that an adequate supply of hot and cold running water is available.