Can You Get Hepatitis C From a Manicure?

Find out which potentially-dangerous diseases may be lurking in your favorite nail and hair salons.

Can You Get Hepatitis C From a Manicure?

Manicures, pedicures and haircuts are supposed to be all about pampering and relaxation, but these beauty treatments may leave you with some nail-biting health problems.

According to a new report released at the American College of Gastroenterology's 76th Annual Scientific meeting in Washington, D.C., there is a potential risk of transmitting hepatitis via some of the common instruments used for manicures, pedicures and haircuts. Of particular concern are nail files, nail brushes, finger bowls, foot basins, buffers, razors, clippers and scissors. Not only can they harbor germs if not cleaned and disinfected properly, they have the potential to transmit bloodborne diseases like hepatitis B and C. Eww.

MORE: Non-Toxic Nail Polish Guide

David A. Johnson, M.D., a professor of internal medicine and chief of the division of gastroenterology at Eastern Virginia Medical School who presented the findings, explained in his report that, as scary—and gross—as this might appear, there is more research to be done before definitively saying if you are putting your health at risk in the name of perfectly coiffed hair and flawless nails.

"Whether there is sufficient compliance with disinfection requirements is an important variable in the safety of salon and barbershop services from a public health perspective," he says. The risk of transmission of infectious disease, particularly hepatitis B and C, in personal care settings is significantly understudied in the United States.

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