Nail salons rely on some pretty serious chemicals to dress up your nails, including formaldehyde, toluene and other known toxins. Long-term exposure to these chemicals can cause birth defects and cancer in salon workers and customers, while even short-term exposure may lead to nausea, headaches and respiratory irritation.
While it's virtually impossible to find a salon that's completely free of chemicals, you can take steps to limit your exposure. Avoid salons with overpowering odors and choose locations with adequate ventilation that allows you to breathe freely. Steer clear of establishments that leave jars of chemicals open and uncovered, as this allows dangerous fumes to continuously pollute the air. If your favorite salon doesn't pass the smell test, don't hesitate to speak up; you'll not only protect your own health, but also help make conditions better for the salon's workers.