South Florida

You Could Be Risking an Infection With Nail Dipping

Experts say nail techs who double dip nails are putting their clients at risk.

Nail dipping, or dip powder nails, is a long-lasting manicure trend that's grown in popularity over the last couple years. It's not a new technique; it's been around since the 90s. But since 2017, nail dipping has seen a resurgence at salons across South Florida and around the country.

The process includes applying a bond, followed by a base and then dipping the finger into a powder. The manicure is said to last longer than the popular gel manicure.

But, it turns out there's a right way and wrong way to do it.

Well-known nail scientist Doug Schoon recommends that nail salons pour or sprinkle the powder onto nails.

"Dipping the same clients' finger, foot or hand into the same cosmetic product that other clients will also use, that's not supposed to be done," explained Schoon.

Schoon says nail techs that double dip nails are putting their clients at risk.

"If you're going to dip your client's finger into a powder, well that's going to expose your client's skin," warned Schoon.

He recommends nail techs get rid of any powder that has touched a client's skin to avoid cross contamination. But, there are many salons that don't do that.

NBC 6 checked with Dr. Martin Zaiac, the Director of Dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center. Dr. Zaiac is also Chairman of Dermatology at FIU's Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine. 

"If someone has some type of infection and they stick it in the powder and it stays there and you're coming 30 minutes later and using the same canister, and you stick your finger in there, there's a chance," Zaiac said.

He adds the risk is low, because the powder is not a breeding ground for bacteria or infections.

"They need a little bit of moisture, they need a little bit of warmth in some other environment to be able to survive," explained Zaiac.

Still, Dr. Zaiac recommends to stay safe, you should bring your own powder jar to the nail salon.

Aspiring nail techs at the Hollywood School of Beauty in Florida learn a more sanitary way to dip nails. Students are taught to pour or sprinkle the powder instead of dipping the entire nail into the jar.

Belky Gonzalez is a nail instructor at the cosmetology school. She tells her students to use this technique to avoid cross contamination.

"The reason why I teach the pouring is because once I'm done, I don't have to reuse [the powder]," Gonzalez explained. She also advises to throw away any powder that has touched a client's skin.

Johanna, a student at the Hollywood school, said she many nail salons she's been to do not follow the recommended procedure.

"The way that they did it in the salon was much different from what I learned here, as far as the cleanliness and how to utilize the powder," Johanna said.

Gonzalez says some nail techs may avoid pouring the powder because they want the nail color to stand out. She says when it comes to color — it doesn't matter if you dip or pour.

"It's going to give you the same effect. You can go so many ways around it and you're still going to get the same results," said Gonzalez.

Nail experts add that salons shouldn't expose clients to UV light dryers when dip powder is applied. They say it's simply unnecessary, because the manicure dries within minutes.

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