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Nail Techs Nightmare - "The Greenie"

So, I decided after seeing a post come across my newsfeed on Facebook, that I'd share a little blog post with you all. As it seems that addressing unhappy clients who have managed to pickup a 'greenie' or a Pseudomonas infection is a hard road to travel - but ultimately worth it I think if we can educate just one reader.  
Now, in my role as an educator, this is something we cover in basic training - but it's easily forgotton in the whirlwind of client care, nails and chatter.  We need to make this a priority though. 

Now, while nail techs are always. And I mean always blamed for these. In actual fact more often than not the tech isn't to blame, but we cannot put all the blame onto the client.
In many ways, there is a missing bit of educating that every nail technician needs to be aware of, make sure they are sharing the information of, and educating their clients so you can hopefully, mostly avoid the situation here at hand.

So this all came about, as a client of a salon who I shall not name, posted up in a public post on Facebook, that she was blaming this salon entirely for her bacterial infection on her nails.

Now I've been a nail educator since 2004. So I've seen this many a time in my career.
I've seen many photos sent to me by people asking "what is this??" and I've seen a few across my table. Some from clients previously of other places who blamed their previous tech. But I've always tried to help them understand it's not the techs hygiene at fault! 

So I have shared the clients image here in this post.



Now a few quick facts:
1) The client was wearing Go30 nails 
2) This client's appointment was on the 2nd of March where she had a full set
3) The technician in question spoke to the client on the 17th of March and was told the nails were great
4) On the 20th the client made contact to say one had fallen off and there were half a dozen lifting 
5) This photo was posted on the 21st of March

So when I saw the post, I decided that I'd try to offer some help. 

Dear XXXX, 

You definitely look to have a pseudomonas infection there, which would have been approximately 48-72 hours old when you took your enhancements off.
Pseudomonas begin as a bright yellow/green, and over the first 1-2 days they change from yellow, to deeper yellow and into a light green. By around day 4 they are a dark green and by day 7 they are very dark forest green, nearing black.
The colour staining is actually a side effect of the bacteria's waste - it's bacterial poop. Gross, but fact.

So you caught this one early! That was lucky!

Thankfully the bacteria is a super common one that lives in all the water we drink - so we are exposed to it every time we turn on a tap, so it won't do too much harm to you. And even more of a relief to you, will be the knowledge that once you expose the nail to the air and dry the moisture off, the bacteria is dead. So there's little risk of you passing it on or recontaminating yourself or anyone else. You've done the right thing in removing the enhancements - and you can pop some nail polish on them if you want to hide the green until it grows out. Please don't try to file it off though as it stains all the way through the nail! 

I would love to know though, how long it had been since you visited the XXXXXXXX Salon?
I just ask, as this infection wasn't more than 2 days old, so if you hadn't been into her salon in the last two days, then it's very unlikely that it came from there, as easy as it is to blame a nail tech when things go wrong..... we all like to find the first person who we think might have had a hand in it, but sometimes it's not always so clear....

If in the last two days, you had washed your hands, washed dishes, showered, touched anything damp, poured yourself a glass of water..... which I really hope you did as if not, that's a bit icky.
If you're anything like me, I wash my hands at least 20 times a day!
Any of those things would expose you to water.
Any exposure to water - even for only a second, can open you up for infections like this if you have any form of enhancement on.

Sometimes when you aren't working with enhancements every day, you might not notice tiny bits of lifting, or you may not realise that catching a finger, or getting a hair under the edge of a nail, can cause the adhesion to be compromised.
And you can't always feel it.
So it's not your fault if you didn't realise there was enough lifting for the teensiest bit of moisture to hide under, and enjoy the lovely warm, damp spot there.

It is however, why all of my trainees are educated to have clients come in every 14 days for maintenance.
Even if it seems like it's not long/too expensive, being able to check over our clients nails after two weeks, gives us techs the chance to have a good look. Check for any lifting, or adhesion issues and ensure that the clients nails are kept in tip top shape.
Any nail covering should only be guaranteed for 7-14 days maximum, as there are so many variables for nails staying on!
If you are having a bad week, and you've caught them more than usual, or if you get run down, or catch a cold.... all affect the health of your nails.
Even little things like, turning on your air conditioning at work can affect your nails. Ever noticed how dry your skin gets after exposure to air con? Same with your nails.
Anything that dries them out, or the opposite, causes them to get excessively oily, will in turn affect how long your nails last.
So each set can vary widely in how they stay on!

I hope this experience doesn't put you off nails, but I hope that next time, you book in for a fortnightly maintenance checkup just to protect yourself, and get your tech to keep on top of any lifting or potential issues, so you don't have to worry about the ugly greenies again!

So from a salon perspective, it's always best to take these things head on in my opinion. 
When a client is unhappy, sometimes nothing you say or do will be good enough, but then sometimes, a little gentle education can be the difference between that client coming back to you or not. 
It's always difficult to take what feels like a huge criticism of your work and your salon hygiene - especially if you pride yourself on a neat and tidy workspace. 
But sometimes you have to step back, realise that the complaint is coming from a perspective of the client being embarrassed, not entirely educated in why this has happened to them, and them looking for a reason, or person to blame! 
It's of course going to be us. Because we put their nails on. 
It's a logical conclusion in their mind. 

So whatever you do, don't hide, or run away. But don't feel like it's the end of the world either. As your response in these situations speaks absolute volumes about who you are as a person, and as an ethical technician.

Even if the client doesn't believe you, if you have done your best to alleviate any fears they have about 'infection' without blaming or shaming them, they might not listen, but believe me others will.
Respect is key.

Lastly, if nothing else, when this happens to you something proactive you should absolutely do as part of your clients complaint, is to go over your salon hygiene policy and routine and make sure that you are 100% confident in your systems and processes.  
If you don't have concrete processes, maybe it's time to create yourself a salon hygiene document.
Even if you are happy with them, go over them again. 

- Make sure that you know the difference between sanitising and disinfecting. 
- Check expiry dates on your barbicides and bin anything expired
- Know how long powder barbicides can be made up for and keep them refreshed
- That you know which implements you can disinfect and which you cant. 
- Have your routine for disposables set. 
- If you use a file pack for each client, ensuring that clients pack is replaced to be safe.
 - Check your routine for your table. Dust removal, surface sanitation, chairs, lamps and towel changes.
- Dust extraction cleaning routines
- General salon hygiene - floors, skirtings, walls, windows, ceilings, dusting.   
- Response control : specific processes for if a client comes in with a fungal, bacterial or viral infection. 

That way, if you come across the dreaded 'greenie' or any of his other friends, you know what to do the next time! 

#educator #educatorhaton #educationiskey #nailtech #pseudomonas #greenie#bacterialinfection #bacteria #hygiene #knowbetterdobetter

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2 comments

  • Hi Linzi

    Absolutely! We love when people link to us, but feel free to explain it to clients in any way that helps them understand!

    Sharyn

    Sharyn

  • Hi Sharyn. I absolutely love this blog. I’m a relative newbie to the nail enhancement world. I was just wondering if I could possibly use some of your words as explanations to my clients. I have quite a few that are adamant to leave their visits at 4 week intervals & would like to provide them with literature explaining the possible consequences of leaving such a gap. Thank you so much for giving my request your consideration & will totally understand if you preferred me to not use sections of your blog. Kindest regards, Linzi xx

    Linzi Mitchell

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