Foot spas left dirty or unsterilized.
Manicure and pedicure tools not cleaned after each use.
Workers who performed manicures or pedicures without a license — or worked in an unlicensed nail salon.
These are among the three dozen violations issued to nail salons and cosmetologists in Tarrant County so far this year, according to a Star-Telegram review of data available through the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation.
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That’s fewer violations this year than last, when, during the same time frame, 54 tickets were issued in the county, state reports show.
At a time when many salons are packed with customers seeking manicures and pedicures before heading off on vacation, state officials say Texans need to keep their eyes open for potential trouble.
“When you enter a salon, take a moment to look around and determine if it is clean, free of trash and set up with clean tools,” according to a statement from the Department of Licensing and Regulation. “If it isn’t clean, or you don’t feel comfortable for whatever reason, leave.”
State inspections occur at nail salons at least once every two years by inspectors who check licenses, records and the sanitation of workers and salons.
Complaints trigger separate investigations.
Some salons failed to properly clean tools and foot spas, offered “specialty cosmetology services” beyond what a person is licensed to do, did not clean or disinfect wax pots and did not replace “materials that contact skin” between clients.
Complaints also showed some people worked in unlicensed beauty salons, some worked without the appropriate license and several didn’t comply with orders already issued by the state. In one case, a Mansfield nail salon didn’t cooperate with a state inspector.
Of the 36 violations filed in Tarrant County through June 6, 12 were in Fort Worth, eight were in Arlington and four were in Hurst. Other cities where violations occurred include Watauga, Southlake, Mansfield, Haltom City, Pantego and North Richland HIlls.
The largest local fines went to:
▪ All Nails, Arlington, on Jan. 31: The salon received a $2,000 fine for not following “whirlpool foot spas cleaning and sanitization procedures as required” and failing “to clean and sanitize whirlpool foot spas as required at the end of each day.”
▪ So Faded, Fort Worth, on March 13: There was a $1,750 fine because the “respondent leased space in a salon to an individual who engaged in the practice of cosmetology but had not obtained a cosmetology license.”
▪ Lucky Nails, Arlington, on Jan. 11: The salon was fined $1,750 for failing “to clean and sanitize whirpool foot spas as required at the end of each day.”
▪ Cranium, Fort Worth, on Jan. 11: The salon was fined $1,750 for leasing space “to an individual who engaged in the practice of cosmetology but had not obtained a cosmetology license.”
▪ Jin Se Kim, Irving, on Jan. 4: Kim was fined $1,500 for leasing space “to an individual who engaged in the practice of cosmetology but had not obtained a cosmetology license” as well as for not cleaning or sanitizing whirlpool foot spas at the end of each day.
Several workers also had their cosmetology operator licenses revoked. And Boeau Belle in Southlake and First Nails in Arlington had their salon licenses revoked for not complying with state orders previously issued.
Is it safe?
The American Academy of Dermatology stresses that nail salon customers should let their nails dry naturally — not under the UV lamps that often are provided.
“The UV lamps used at nail salons are not good for your skin,” according to the academy. “Switch to a quick dry polish and that way you can skip the UV dryer and let them dry naturally.”
At the same time, some in the industry say they are seeing safety improvements at salons across the country regarding fresh air ventilation, which has long been a concern for many.
“We are seeing more and more cities and towns enforcing the requirements for proper ventilation in nail salons,” said Gary Sadler, an architect and owner of SalonSafe. “This is prompting salon owners to educate themselves on ventilation products and systems.
“Moreover, we are seeing more salon owners wanting to install better ventilation on their own simply to improve the indoor air quality for their clients and technicians. This desire follows the growing trend of healthy living.”
Here are some tips to stay safe during manicures and pedicures.
Look around. Make sure the salon is clean. And watch the workers giving pedicures and manicures. Make sure they are using clean instruments and are not reusing disposable items such as disposable towels or cotton balls. Also, make sure the salon and workers are licensed. Their licenses and proof of the last inspection should be displayed somewhere easily seen.
Be injury free. Don’t get a pedicure or manicure if you have a cut or any kind of skin infection. And don’t have any hair removal for at least 24 hours before a pedicure or manicure. Make sure sharp blades aren’t used to remove calluses or cut skin.
Stay alert. “If you have a manicure or pedicure and a few days later you notice your nails, fingers or toes are sore, red or oozing pus, you should have the problem checked out. You could have an infection,” according to the dermatology academy.
When in doubt, check it out. If you are worried about getting a pedicure at your favorite nail salon, check its record online to see if there have been any violations or problems. Search the state’s database at www.tdlr.texas.gov/cimsfo/fosearch.asp. And if you see any problems at your salon, you can file a complaint online at www.tdlr.texas.gov/complaints.