Breaking News: You Can Get Infections From Manicures, I’m Your Living Proof

This isn't my nail; I wanted to spare you.

This isn’t my nail; I wanted to spare you.

Every since moving to New York City, I’ve been getting manicures on a regular basis. There’s pretty much a salon on every corner so it’s actually quite cheap to do so. I also suck at staying in the lines even in a coloring book, so trying to keep polish within my nails is a near impossible task for me. I’d rather pay someone else to do it.

This morning I was at the doctor’s for an unrelated situation and she noticed my finger. My ring finger on my left hand has been this gross mess of pus and blood since my last manicure. I assumed I had done something weird in my sleep to it, so I wasn’t too concerned. However, it’s getting worse and no amount of Neosporin is helping the situation.

Now I know why.

It didn’t take the doctor more than a few minutes to diagnose it as a staph infection in my finger. Although she took a swab to be sure, she told me that this is becoming more and more common. She also added that hepatitis is also a risk we run in getting manicures and pedicures. The word “hepatitis” immediately had my brain thinking of Pam Anderson, and I thought I was going to pass out. I don’t want to be Pam Anderson.

What followed was a long lecture about making sure, every time you get a manicure, that the tools being used are sterilized. As in, you physically see them remove the tool from the sterilization jar. She also said, ideally, I should — all of us should — have our own manicure tools that we bring with us so as to prevent infection. I told her I don’t know where to buy tools; she told me to hit up a pharmacy and everything would be right there in the nail section.

Takeaway? Manicures, although pretty to look at, can give you a pus-filled nail bed and finger. It’s disgusting to look at, makes typing quite a feat and you have no idea from whom your nasty infection has come. So going forward, let’s all just use our own manicure tools at the salon. Deal? OK. Great.

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    • Ms. Pants

      I am not very good at staying in the lines either. You can rub lip balm on the skin around then nail and then just slop the paint everywhere. Sticks to the nail, cleans up off the skin easily, thanks to the lippy.

    • Sami Jankins

      I was loving getting manicures recently with all of the pretty nail art. Last manicure resulted in a finger infections, which luckily went away on its own. It’s just not worth it to me.

      • Amanda Chatel

        I’m on antibiotics for this damn thing now… not cool.

    • Nina

      A while ago I was looking at the types of nails you can get (gel vs acrylic) and came across a news story about a woman actually getting nerve damage from a manicure that resulted in severe over all pain that she was having a hard time managing. I don’t have the link, sorry. (But you could Google it.)

      So another way to do your own nails and not worry about a mess is paint your nails let them and the mess dry then take a long shower and when u step out just lightly rub off the nail polish from the skin. No pain and it’s easy.

      • mm

        YES! I do that, too! It works like a charm if you just rub the towel over them once your skin is nicely pruned up. You just have to be careful to make sure they’re completely dry and not at all tacky afterwards. And use like a toothpick or something to empty any pools of polish around the nail in the crease thing while it’s wet or else it looks funny dried.

    • Dr Marc Blatstein