24 Apr 2019

Poor hygiene in nail and beauty salons could 'cost a foot'

7:44 pm on 24 April 2019

How much are you willing to pay for a manicure or pedicure? $30? $50? ...A foot?

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Wellington beauty salon owner Kathy Beswick wants national regulations and compulsory training for nail and beauty technicians. Photo: RNZ

Wellington City Council is the latest council to seek public feedback on introducing regulations for the nail and beauty industry.

People working in the beauty industry said more needed to be done to protect the health of consumers.

Last month, a Regional Public Health survey of 27 salons in Wellington region found 88 percent had woeful hygiene practices and therapists had poor knowledge of disease and infection control.

Wellington City councillor Fleur Fitzsimons said the council wanted to hear from the public and industry experts on what needed to change.

"We all deserve to be confident when we get manicure or pedicure we know that we're safe, the council is just taking steps to make this happen, " Ms Fitzsimons said.

Capital Sports Medicine senior podiatrist Katie Vodanovich said they started offering clinical grade pedicures, due to people coming to them with infections.

She warned that the health impacts of a dodgy pedicure could be serious.

"The worst case scenario in these people who have diabetes or poor circulation, the final risk obviously is that this infection is unable to be controlled and it leads to amputation," Ms Vodanovich said.

Owner of Finishing Touch salon on Lambton Quay, Kathy Beswick, has been in the industry for 30 years and said she has been pushing for regulation for much of that time.

She constantly gets new customers who have experienced problems at other businesses.

"People get terrible infections. It takes them a long time and antibiotics to get fixed - I see it every single day.

"It horrendous," she said.

Ms Beswick said at many nail bars the staff teach each other how to do nails, but did not have the knowledge or communication skills to keep customers safe.

Both Ms Beswick and Ms Vodanovich want national regulations and compulsory training for nail and beauty technicians.

"Nothing is being done so far," she said.

"I've even said to politicians while I've been doing their nails 'what is it going to take for the regulations and the industry to be changed? Are you going to have to lose a limb before anything is done about it?'"

Ms Beswick said she kept separate nail files for every client and equipment was sterilised to a hospital grade - but that was rare in the profession.

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