Answering To Dr. Oz: Keeping it Safe in the SalonIn a segment of The Dr. Oz Show which aired April 19, 2012, the doctor and his featured guest Tabatha Coffey from Bravo’s Tabatha Takes Over, warned the public about potential health risks in the salon and revealed what they referred to as the ‘dirty little beauty secrets your salon doesn’t want you to know.’

“Some of you get your nails done every week, your hair color done every month, so you might be shocked to hear that your special time spent with your manicurist or your colorist might be giving you a life-threatening infection. Today, I am uncovering the secrets beauty salons don’t want you to know,” Dr. Oz told viewers.

The questions raised by the show may cause many clients to question you about your sanitation procedures. To help you brush up on salon safety and reassure clients they aren’t falling into any of the pitfalls demonstrated on the show, we invited Leslie Roste, a registered nurse and the national director of education and marketing for King Research, the manufacturers of Barbicide, to address each of the show’s scenarios.

Scenario #1: The first scenario Tabatha described was the potential association between UV nail dryers, cancer and age spots and Tabatha recommended that clients ask to either have the dryers used with the lights turned off or put a zinc oxide cream with an SPF 30 on their hands before putting them under the lights.

Roste: “The bulbs in nail dryers are very similar to those used in tanning beds and as such, create some risk for skin cancer and accelerated aging of the skin with repeated use. Salons should be open to discussing this with clients and offer them the options of fan only, drying sprays or simply allowing nails to air dry. In situations that require a UV light to cure nails, salons should be honest with clients about the aging of hands and the increased risk of skin cancers with the repeated use of UV lights, and be prepared to offer alternatives when requested.”

Scenario #2: The next salon secret Tabatha revealed was that hair, debris and bacteria does not drain out of the pedicure footbath between each client and it can rise back up and contaminate the water causing boils and infections on clients legs that last for months. She recommended finding a salon that uses disposable plastic individual liners that are used for each client and thrown away.

Roste: “While disposable liners are now available, most salons still use chairs with jetted tubs for pedicures. If disposable liners are used in your salon, share that openly with your clients and consider changing the liner in their presence to reassure them that there is a fresh one in the tub. If your salon uses jetted tubs, the risk of infection when they are improperly disinfected is high. It is important to follow your state board rules with regard to cleaning/disinfection, which generally require cleaning and disinfecting between clients and complete dismantling of screens and disinfection daily. (Some states require that with every client.) It would speak well for your salon to do these disinfection steps ‘publically’ so consumers can see that this is being done correctly. You can be confident when performing disinfection correctly that your clients are safe from acquiring dangerous pathogens in your salon!”

Scenario #3: Tabatha then showed Dr. Oz’s audience two Barbicide jars, one with a dark blue liquid and one with a light blue liquid. She told Dr. Oz that clients are at risk for contracting ring worm if combs, brushes and clips aren’t properly disinfected inbetween each client and she claimed that some salons cut costs by using Windex in place of Barbicide in their jars.

Roste: “While we believe most salons strive to do the right thing when it comes to disinfection, it is important to assure that is occurring and that clients are aware of all the steps you take to protect them.   Three steps to do between clients and share with them ensure that disinfection for all of the real threats in the salon are effective. 1. Change disinfectant daily per manufacturer’s label. 2. Make sure you have the proper concentrate of the disinfectant that you are changing daily per manufacturer’s label. 3. Maintain the proper contact time of 10 minutes—this is the amount of time an instrument must be in contact with the disinfectant to be effective against dangerous pathogens. When it comes to proving that the solution is Barbicide and not Windex, showing your clients the concentrate bottles and discussing the ‘3 steps’ confidently should do the trick!”

Scenario #4: Finally, Tabatha warned Dr. Oz’s viewers about the dangers of double-dipping sticks in the wax pot and the spread of viruses, including sexually transmitted diseases. She recommended clients check to see that their technicians don’t double dip and to bring their own antibiotic cream to help prevent inflammation.

Roste: “Viruses like Herpes and HPV (which causes cervical cancer and genital warts) are only effectively destroyed when wax is 106 degrees Fahrenheit! But using wax at that temperature is impractical as it becomes very watery at such high temperatures. Therefore, it is very important to use a new spatula every single time you dip in the pot, not just one per client! You should be open with your client about the risk of “double-dipping.” By sharing your knowledge and allowing them to relax, they know they won’t be taking home anything unwelcome!

On another note, the program also referenced the use of razors in pedicures. “This practice is illegal in most states, so if you are using them in your salon, make sure that your state board allows for this and that anyone using them is licensed and appropriately trained!” warns Roste. 

“Remember if your salon is doing the right thing, reward them by going to them,” Dr. Oz reminded viewers. “But if folks are trying to cheat the system, them either try to change them or change salons.”

Questions? CLICK HERE for more information about your salon becoming "Barbicide Certified," or contact Leslie Roste at

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