Today, many people mostly women frequent salons and beauty parlours to keep standards of the rapidly changing world of beauty and fashion.
But how many of us think twice before putting our skin health at risk. Salon items such as combs, brushes, rollers and the sinks are shared and therefore should be kept clean and sterilized after every single use.
And in any case, not every one who goes to the salon has a healthy skin. It is important to note that these items are used by a large number of people with different skin types, which react to several hygienic situations.
One should consider that almost all skin diseases including the less complicated ones like ring warms are easily transmitted from one to another.
The items used in salon absolutely carry used hair oil, conditioners, dead skin and the individual’s own perspiration, an environment good for microbes to survival.
Dr. Safari Thomas of Pharmaceutical Saphar says frequenting health resorts and salons that do not adhere to proper cleaning and sterilization processes, you could be putting yourself at risk for infections, allergic reactions or other injuries.
“Though there is a low risk of HIV, there is a very high risk of Hepatitis B. This is because Aids virus is vulnerable and may not spend a lot of time outside the body. However, the Hepatitis B virus can spend even a week outside the skin, he said.
This means that when you use a shaving blade on someone with this virus and then keep it without disinfecting it, the next time you use it to another person, he/she may get infected and the virus will spread onto like that to many different clients.
He cautioned that although most of the equipments used in salons are not sharp, they can be equally dangerous in spreading hair fungus, lice, ringworms, and even scabies.
Through observations drawn when one goes to these salons for shaving indicates that the cleaning of the equipments most especially towels is very irregular. Blades are also rarely disinfected.
An attendant of a certain salon in town revealed that she did not remember how often they cleaned their equipment and admits that cleaning them occurs when they are extremely looking dirty.
But do these combs, brushes and rollers have to first change colour in order to be considered dirty?
In some salons, you witness an attendant styling a client’s hair and the very rollers she/he is removing from the client, are the ones another colleague is using on another client, without cleaning them first!
Stephen Nuwagaba alleges that due to the unhygienic conditions in these salons, he developed a skin problem that took him a lot of money to treat.
“And it is not only me , but also my friend got infected with skin rash after visiting some salons. Towels used by barbers are never cleaned,” Nuwagaba says.
Christine Mbabazi, a supervisor of Beauty Center Salon in Kigali says that their salon soaks their combs, brushes, and rollers in a liquid disinfectant every night and in the morning; they rinse them and then start working. The towels are also washed before we leave in the evening and try to minimise reusing towels before they are washed.
“We do not clean the tong-machine because the heat on its stove is enough to clean it, dryers and trolleys are cleaned every morning. We try to disinfect the sink after use,” she said.
The sink is the one place that can ruin your business because this is where all the dirt, conditioners and dandruff are washed out of the clients’ hair.
“Therefore it should be washed and disinfected every time you are done with a client. The foot bath and all that goes with it also needs constant disinfection,” Mbabazi added.
Other re-usable equipment such as combs, tweezers and cuticle knives can be sterilized between usage on clients by a glass-bead sterilizer or an autoclave.
Ultra-violet sterilizers do not sterilize but only have disinfectant properties. Use disposable products where possible, for instance sterile disposable clippers for shaving and nail cutters for manicures, to avoid the need to sterilize such equipment between treatments.
Manicures and pedicures are in-style today more than ever. But beware of the tiny metallic weaponry that this manicurist or pedicurist is prodding at your nails with.
Béatrice Mukaneza who visits salons regularly says that they go to these places hoping to come out more attractive, but sometimes come out worse off than they hopped in.
“People have lost their nails to poor manicuring skills or dirty equipment,” she said.
Now, if you went for a pedicure and somehow your nail cuticle got hurt, in a few days, a blackish-green colouring appears under your nail. Could this be as a result of a fungal infection?
If yes, the reason for this infection among others is the use of dirty nail cutters, Mukaneza said. Nails can become thickened, brittle and discoloured. The nail may begin to lift off the nail bed.
An overproduction of keratin, combined with dead skin, may collect under the nail causing further infections. She said that close supervision by the managers in these salons is needed to make sure the materials used are cleaned well and regularly.
Clients need to be more careful about who is giving them salon services and what kind of material is being used on them.
“All these infections are preventable and all it takes is for salons managers to observe proper hygienic procedures, Mukaneza said.
Depending on the type of infection, bacterial infections can get serious. The infections in this group range from mildly irritating skin conditions to life threatening infections, so if you think you might have a bacterial infection see a doctor as soon as possible.
Some skin infection usually takes about a week to clear up, but a more serious infection could lead to doctor intervention for even weeks of months. Now, beware of that beauty shop you visit.
The people who administer these services also need to be cautioned of proper hygiene practices. It is time we get rid of fungal and skin infections.