Salon Hygiene: Why it Matters (Warning – Gross Pix Inside!)

By | April 29 2011 | 30 Comments

salon hygiene

We’ve talked before about salon hygiene and the perils of double-dipping and yes, we think it’s of huge importance. Salons should be maintaining basic standards as a matter of course – just as food businesses have to – but it doesn’t always happen, unfortunately. And it’s easy to let all that slide into the back of your mind when a particularly good beauty deal comes your way and cash is tight – sure you might ignore a grubby paint job, wax-spattered towels and overflowing bins for a good-value offer, eh?

So when reader Pamela contacted us to tell us of the grim tale of what happened to her post salon-wax, we thought it was worth sharing. As the 2010 May bank holiday rolled around, Pamela headed at 9am to a beauticians she hadn’t previously tried to get a leg, bikini and underarm wax. By 7pm, the swelling and heat from her legs had forced her to a local chemist where the pharmacist took the photo on the left, so shocked was she at the condition of Pamela’s legs.

The next day, she went to see her doctor and two weeks after that, a dermatologist, who told her that the most likely cause of the problem was poor hygiene in the salon. Now, the same wax was used on Pamela’s bikini line and underarms, and she had no problems there, so an allergy to the product was ruled out, and medication prescribed was anti-bacterial. The dermatologist also speculated that the therapist’s technique could have been at fault.

Pamela was prescribed a cocktail of medication to help the problem: Orally, she took anti-histamines,  steroids and antibiotics;  topically she was applying steroid and antibacterial cream. In total she took or applied medication for a fortnight, and following that she moisturised to keep the skin moist and scar-free. It wasn’t until last August – three months on – that she felt able to show her legs in public but even then she felt self-conscious as they were still marked. A year on, she says, “only I would really notice the marks that are on my lower legs – the colouring still isn’t perfect.”

So, how did the salon react? After handing over a combination of €93 for waxing and €248 in medical bills, Pamela was obviously out of pocket and wanted some recourse. At first, she met with resistance. “They said, ‘what do you want us to do about it’,” she told us, but a chat with the manager got a different response. Pamela’s medical bills were covered and she was given a voucher from the salon to cover the cost of her waxing.

So how does she feel about beauty treatments now, and has the experience put her off going to salons? “Absolutely,” she says. “I only get bikini waxing done now and I would get a manicure and a pedicure done. I would be very nervous to let anyone use any product on my skin. I used to love going to the salon and would have got facials and tans done before but since my experience, I wouldn’t dream of it.”

It’s a shame – but it’s also a salutory lesson to the rest of us who’ve been lucky in the past. If you’re paying for salon services then you are entitled to a clean, sanitary experience. As mentioned, we’ve written about this before, so check these posts out for more information:

Hair, Hair Removal, WTF , , ,

30 Replies to "Salon Hygiene: Why it Matters (Warning – Gross Pix Inside!)"

  • roxette says:

    Wow :( that is just terrible. Poor Pamela. I’d be distraught if that happened me. What sort of voucher did she get? I hope it wasnt one for the same salon the dirty feckers.
    Some of my friends & family think i am snobby when it comes to what salons/hairdressers & products i use. I’m 100% glad i am now. I always research a place before i go and usually only use places that i know the ladies or the blatherers on here have used.

  • ~Thalia~ says:

    Christ on a bike that’s horrific, poor girl :(

  • Grá says:

    OMG :O I was just thinking the amount of times Ive gotten waxed and the beautician double dipped! I never knew that she shouldn’t do that! My god I’m just thinking about my friend with dermagraphia and what this could do to her! I’ll be more careful from now on that’s for sure!

  • blondie says:

    holy christ, the poor girl. terrible. I go to (well haven’t been there since last summer) a v well know waxing place in dublin city centre and im *almost* sure I’ve noticed double dipping, i always forget to watch when im lying there so not sure. feelin very wary now. have a citydeal for another place now & hope its ok!

  • OMG that’s awful, hope you’re doing okay now Pamela.

    Glad the salon paid the medical bill but a voucher to cover the actual cost of the waxing is a bit sneaky of them IMO.

  • Avicakes says:

    I’m no dermatologist, but last year I injured my leg when I’d a small accident on my bike. After a few weeks I came out in a rash very similar to the pics above and it spread to both my legs, strangely. I was treated with similar oral and topical medications (one of which I then had an allergic reaction to, so it got worse before it got better), and saw 2 doctors & was referred to a dermatologist. It finally calmed down and looked like picture no. 2 above afterwards for a few months. I still have slight discoloration on the skin when the bruise/lump was. (one year on).
    Anyway, it was diagnosed as the skin’s reaction to trauma. I’d never heard of such a thing. I had grazed my leg and got a big bruise and lump and swelling around the calf, and the docs said that the trauma of the wound which had taken so long to heal had caused this rash on the skin.
    Not defending ‘double-dipping’, is it possible that Pamela suffered something similar? Waxing can be pretty painful and maybe it was the beautician’s technique that caused extra pain and sensitivity to the legs. The skin around our skins/calves is quite close to the bones/muscles and is more sensitive than we might think.
    Just a thought…

  • Kirstie says:

    Avicakes, sure, this was included above:

    “The dermatologist also speculated that the therapist’s technique could have been at fault.”

    as far as I know, Pamela was given a voucher from the salon itself.

  • joanne says:

    God, that is really shocking. I can’t think of any salon I’ve been to in Cork that doesn’t do the double dipping. anyone know of one?

  • bored mum says:

    OMG That is horrendous, Poor Pamela, i hope u r ok, jesus makes me think twice about going to a salon

  • sevda says:

    Oh dear Lord.

    My first leg wax left my legs with a rash but it calmed down after 3 days and in fairness was nothing like the above.

    It put me off leg waxing for a few years before I braved it again. So far so good but I suppose I should say So far so lucky.

    I get my legs/bikini/underarms waxed about 3 times a year for the summer. Think I migt now stick to my trusty buzz buzz shaver and razor.

  • trilby says:

    OH. MY. GOD.

    I’m so glad I don’t wax, because if I did this would put me right off! How awful for you to go through that, I’m so relieved to hear your legs have recovered.

  • Helen says:

    Poor Pamela, that’s awful! I have a Citydeal for garra rufa fish pedicure, but I’ve heard online that there can be issues with cross contamination (not with the Citydeal place, just in general) … has anyone heard of this or had a fish pedicure? I’d love to have it done but would hate to catch anything!

  • papillon says:

    Eh, Pamela, have you contacted your solicitor? Seems to me the salon have a duty of care to you and they were negligent and breached that duty. (FYI I am a solicitor, though not touting for business!)

  • Pookie says:

    It’s worrying that most places double-dip I think. Tope places like Waxperts, Brazilia don’t, but I think you’ll find your average beauty salon does.

  • Pookie says:


  • Baglady says:

    No way would I accept a voucher to compensate for the damage caused.! I would want that place named and shamed and closed down. This is why I’m happy just epilating.

  • Breige says:

    Omg, that’s dreadful!! The poor girl! I’d want a full refund, she’s entitled to one!

  • Jen says:

    Im not a doctor but the pictures look like hot tub folliculitis which is a superficial infection of hair folicles by psuedomonas. I got it before from a hot tub when I was living in the US. Google it and the pictures are remarkably similar to the rash picture above. While its shocking to look at it does resolve after a while (it did for me).
    I feel bad for Pamela, I remember it being as itchy as all hell and gross to look at. I wouldnt go back to a salon where that happens.

  • Julie says:

    That is absolutely shocking, but not that uncommon. Something like this happened to a friend once, took her ages to recover from it and another had her bikini line severely burnt. ouch!

  • Sandy Beach says:

    Helen, the cross contamination is an issue where the place is using the wrong species of fish. The garra rufa fish have no teeth so can’t bite you but it’s the chancers using fish with teeth. I did the Citydeal and went to the place in George’s Arcade. It’s a nice enough experience. Saw on my travels that there’s another place opening in St. Stephen’s Green Centre. Picking up in popularity.

Leave a Reply

Content © and partners