• Woman sent to the hospital after visit to local nail salon, what you should know to stay safe

    By: Leah Jordan

    Updated:

    MEMPHIS, Tenn. - If you enjoy a relaxing trip to the nail salon, you are certainly not alone. In fact, there are more than 23,000 nail salons across the U.S.

    FOX13 spoke to one woman who learned the ugly cost of pretty nails the hard way.

    Birdia Arnett-Gunn got her nails done religiously for about 16 years. She said she never had any issues with her go-to salon until 2004, when her finger turned green.

    Arnett-Gunn ended up having surgery to remove her nail. 

    “The doctor examined everything, and he told me I had a nail fungus and it came from them not sanitizing the tools they were using,” said Arnett-Gunn. 

    Unfortunately, her story isn’t unique: Especially when it comes to the extremely popular “dip powder manicure” which involves sharing containers of pigmented powders. 


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    Robin Medley shared her story on Facebook in July 2019 and more than 12,000 people commented - many with their own stories.

    Tera Richardson, the nail director at Gould’s Day Spa in Memphis, told FOX13 that asking questions when you get your nails done is encouraged. 

    “It is very important. It's your health. It can be life or death,” Richardson said.    

    She even said that if you’re uncomfortable with having your nails dipped into a shared container of powder, you can ask your nail tech to sprinkle the powder on your nails instead.

    When you walk into Gould’s, you’ll see tech license numbers printed plainly on their badges. Richardson said state law demands those licenses are visible.

    This is something Arnett-Gunn believes hurt her years ago.

    “The owner I believe they’re licensed, but the people who work there, I don’t think they’re licensed. They say ‘I know how to do this,’ then hire them,” Arnett-Gunn said.

    Richardson said protecting yourself in the salon is as easy as keeping your eyes peeled for cleaning agents. 

    “Make sure they’re not just taking implements out of a drawer. They should be in a liquid sanitizer,” said Richardson. 

    She said as long as you see that tools are properly cleaned, there’s no harm in using the salon’s set.

    She added that if you bring your own tools, be sure they either sanitize yours or ask you if yours are already clean.

    Finally, according to Richardson, giving your fingers a breather isn’t a bad idea. 

    “A lot of everything can be too much, so sometimes, it’s good to just take a break every now and then,” Richardson said.

    Another thing to keep in mind: never skimp out on the brand name when it comes to your nails.

    According to Richardson, there’s a black market for nail products. But if you use reputable brand names, you’ll always know where those products are coming from.

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