Masses of women have followed the fashion trend and treat themselves to weekly manicures and pedicures. Men have followed their lead, as well.

But problems can lurk when cosmetologists fail to provide a clean and safe environment for their customers.

Jill Rogers is a certified provider of continuing education in Crowley who has taught sanitary procedures for beauty salons for two years. She has been a cosmetologist for thirteen years and hosts classes once a month for licensed operators.

Rogers urges people to be aware of the dangers of unsanitary environmental conditions when surrendering their hands and feet to an operator.

Salons are supposed to be inspected once every two years. If there is a violation, the inspection will be conducted once a year with fines until the violation is rectified.

Rogers said there are items to consider when surveying the rows of polish or bottles of scented oil.

Credo blades used to shave calluses off bottoms of feet are very dangerous. It is now against the law to use them in salons because of abrasions and infections.

Autoclave sterilization is a must for any metal instruments. Bags have a heat sensitive colored strip to indicate if instruments have been autoclaved and are sterile.

Legs should not be shaved 24 hours prior to pedicure due to pores being opened from shaving.

If any cuts or skin abrasions are noticed on operators, turn around and walk out the door.

New pumice stones and nail files should be used for each customer. If it is noticed that they have not been freshly removed from the wrappers, ask.

One should always be aware of possible problems that might occur over a period of time. Pay attention to any tell-tale signs on nails or skin.

Look for boils or sores on legs or feet after pedicure. Consult a physician before it becomes a serious infection.

Ask the salon for up-to-date records of the last inspection and a cleaning record of whirlpool foot spas.

Ask if foot baths were sanitized prior to the appointment.

Watch for water, mold which is green or brown in color on the nail. It will grow off, but the nail bed must breathe, so nail polish must be forgotten until the condition clears.

Fungus is common, but should be treated immediately. It appears white under the nail, and it appears that the nail bed is lifting.

“Beware and be cautious when visiting any salon, Rogers said. “There are rules and regulations to protect the public. If there is a question, ask.

The cosmetologist believes that the state should have investigators pose as “mystery customers.

“In this way, she said, “an investigator could find problems and immediately issue fines for unsanitary conditions and practices.

SHERRY BOARDMAN is a staff writer for the Empire-Tribune and can be reached at sherry.boardman@empiretribune.com or 254-965-3124, ext. 229.