Over the last decade, there has a been a large increase in the number of beauty salons and nail bars on the high street, thanks in part to the acrylic nail phenomenon.
It is vital that safe working procedures are enforced so that risks to employees and customers health are reduced. CoSHH legislation should be enforced and risk assessments should be undertaken on all chemicals.
Some ingredients in beauty and cleaning products such as solvents in nail polish removers can irritate the skin and lead to dermatitis.
Contact with blood and tissue residues from piercing or tattooing can lead to infection.
This article however, seeks to examine the health risks associated with cosmetic procedures to nails.
Certain ingredients used in acrylic liquids and powders can result in skin allergies and asthma.
When creating acrylic nails it is possible to catch bacterial, viral and fungal infections.
The dust filings from artificial nails can cause wheezing, chest tightness and asthma and the acrylic fumes can cause headaches, dizziness and nausea.
There are certain procedures which should be followed to reduce any risk to health:
Do not allow eating, drinking or smoking within the salon.
The nail area should be treated respectfully so that infection is less likely.
Make sure that employees and clients wash their hands following a cosmetic procedure.
Ensure that CoSHH safety data sheets are available for each chemical used and follow through with CoSHH task based risk assessments.
Always follow instructions given by the manufacturer with regard to PPE, such as using gloves or masks.
Keep the workplace well ventilated, using ventilated tables if possible.
Ensure that any substances being used are kept in closed, marked containers to reduce the amount of chemicals in the air.
Any equipment which has direct contact with the skin, such as nail files, should only be used once or at the least sterlisied between clients. This will reduce the risk of infection.
Any material which has had acrylic contact should be placed in a sealed bag before disposal. This also applies to any other materials affected by chemicals such as cotton wool etc. This will help to reduce the amount of chemicals in the air.
Client information should be recorded and procedures may not be performed if the following are true:
The client has had previous skin conditions such as dermatitis, eczema or sensitive skin
The client has any allergies
The client has poor skin or the nail is not in good condition
The client has an existing medical condition or is pregnant.
Employees should also report if they suffer any allergies or become sensitized.
It is essential that employees are kept informed and well trained in CoSHH legislation and they should form an integral part of the risk assessment process.