The dangers of unlicensed salons

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Going to a salon for a manicure or even pedicure should be a fun experience. You get pampered for a short time and leave with great looking nails. Except what happens if the salon isn't licensed? What happens if you get an infection after going to a salon for a manicure or even a pedicure? The sad fact is that in the United States while salons are required to be licensed and insured there are many unlicensed salons out there and even licensed salons with unlicensed employees. So what can you do to prevent an infection? Where can you verify a license of a salon or even an employee?

First of all, you should check your state's cosmetology website to see if they have a license verification page. Most states do have one and it typically allows you to not only verify an individual person's license but also a facility. If the salon does not appear on the license verification page OR has a suspended, deactivated, or pending application listed you should really consider NOT GOING THERE. Why? Because an unlicensed salon - which suspended, deactivated, canceled, or pending all fall under - means the salon also may not have insurance to cover any medical bills or even loss of wages should you get an infection after going there. The other issue is an unlicensed salon might be performing illegal services that can harm you or may not be practicing proper sanitation procedures.

Second, look at the salon and be familiar with what kind of services are allowed in your state. Some states require liners in the pedicure baths, some states don't require it. A liner is a good indication that the salon does take sanitation into consideration but it's not foolproof. Ask them how often their tools and equipment are sanitized and sterilized. In nail salons, ALL tools must be sanitized, disinfected, and sterilized after each use and anything disposable must be given to the client or tossed. Certain services are prohibited in most states, such as using razors or foot rasps. You can ask to see the salon license or even the tech's license as all salons and employees are typically required to post their license at their station or at the front of the salon.

Unfortunately, even at the best salons, a person can still get an infection or even be more prone to infection if they already have a compromised immune system but if a salon or the employee is unlicensed you have a greater risk that other issues may arise.

Recently in the media two women in different states, at different salons experienced similar issues - infections after getting their nails done. In Indiana, on March 9, 2018, Jennifer White took to Facebook to share her story on what happened to her after going to Nails and Lounge in Noblesville, Indiana.

According to Jennifer's post on her wall, made March 9, 2018, a pumice stone was used on her feet and Indiana law prohibits certain types of tools to be used. While the cosmetology law handbook does not implicitly prohibit pumice stones it does make clear all non-porous tools are one-time use and must be thrown away after each client. I wasn't there with Jennifer when she had her services so I don't know what took place there but I do know that looking on Indiana license verification that Nails and Lounge at 12831 Campus Parkway Suite C currently (as of this blog post) does not have an active salon license.

RTV in Indianapolis did a segment on her situation on March 12, 2018 and interviewed the manager of the salon who told RTV that they bleach out their pedicure bowls and follow state law. They also told the reporter that they would be open to help pay for Jennifer's bills. They should have insurance that covers ALL of Jennifer's medical bills AND loss of wages but considering that it appears they're not even licensed they might not even be insured. Also in Indiana, the law is also very clear that violation of cosmetology laws is not only a $1,000 fine but also a Class C misdemeanor.

IC 25-8-15.4-25 Violations; offensesSec. 25. (a) Except as otherwise provided, a person who recklesslyviolates or fails to comply with this chapter commits a Class Cmisdemeanor.(b) Each day a violation continues constitutes a separate offense.As added by P.L.142-1995, SEC.31.
I DID contact the Indiana State Cosmetology board and spoke with a customer representative there who informed me that Nails and Lounge located at 12831 Campus Parkway Suite C in Noblesville IN 46060 is indeed NOT licensed, does not have a temporary license (as of this blog post) and that they applied for license on March 14, 2018. This location has been in operation since January 2017.

In Arizona, ABC 15 Arizona reported that Maria Gerardo went to TJ Nails in Tucson, AZ about two weeks prior and sustained a small cut on her finger. The small cut led to an infection within days but all the salon would do was provide her with a $100 compensation. Like Jennifer's case, this salon also appears to not have a valid salon license. Under Arizona state law, "A person who violates this section is guilty of a class 1 misdemeanor." Unfortunately, I do not know the status of Maria's story.

So before you go get your nails done or have a pedicure, do some research to make sure your salon and their employees are licensed. If something seems off or feels off don't go.

So before you go to a salon, make sure you check to see if they're licensed or have had any legitimate complaints issued against them by your state's cosmetology board. Unfortunately, a lot of people don't contact their state's board when they experience a problem but only you can prevent a potential issue. IF you have had ANY issues please report that salon to your state's cosmetology board. Sometimes a salon just needs a reminder of what they can and can't do, sometimes it needs to be shut down to prevent other people from getting hurt. The sad fact is no state cosmetology board can do anything to a bad salon without first being contacted by someone.


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