How do other techs solve the problem of odors in the salon during chemotherapy?

January 30, 2014 | Bookmark +

I’m wondering how other techs have solved the problem of odors in the salon during chemotherapy? I have an amazing extraction vent system, but even the slightest odor of paraffin or polish makes me queasy. It has affected the services I can offer.



While we work very closely with at-risk clients, such as those dealing with cancer, everyone reacts differently to chemotherapy/radiation treatment. Some clients have more sensitivities than others, so even the slightest odors can make them queasy. I would recommend using an eco-friendly nail polish line, such as Zoya. It’s not completely odor-free, but we find it to be much less overwhelming than other traditional lines. If paraffin is an issue, try Eco-fin. It’s a petroleum-free alternative to paraffin, biodegradable and 100% natural.

Forgo using anything with synthetic fragrance. Instead, try using essential oils such as peppermint, lemon, or tea tree. There are some real medicinal benefits to using essential oils, but do speak with your doctor before using them. Wearing gloves and a face mask can also serve as sensory barriers. While nothing is 100% guaranteed, these are some great precautionary methods to try. 

—  Missy Malone, founder, SPAtaneity (, Fort Worth, Texas


A: Essential oils or aromatherapy oils can both be lightly applied to your fingertip and inserted into your nose to avoid having the breakthrough smell. Also you can spray a facemask lightly with oil and then wear it. Chewing spearmint gum helps as well. You can also use unscented paraffin and go chemical-free. 

—  Sam Rivenbark, East Coast Acrylic, Edenton, N.C.


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What’s the cause of the pinkish-red oval area on the pad of my client’s toes?

I have a client who has a recurring problem with her fourth toes during the winter months. Both of her “ring finger” toes develop a pinkish-red oval area on the pad. Then a month later, when I see her again, the skin has become dry and hard like a callus, with the layers of skin peeling away to reveal a deeper, dark epicenter.  It’s extremely painful for her and, needless to say, we do not touch it. But it clears up in the summer when she’s wearing open-toed sandals, so I suspect it has to be due to the boots she wears in the winter. Plus she never puts lotion on her feet or uses a foot file in between visits. What do you think causes this?

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What are the big white spots on my natural-nail client’s nails?

I have a client who has been with me for about two years. She used to wear acrylic nails but has been a natural nail client for eight months or so. She has these white spots on her nails — big spots that are dry, but not flaky, right in the middle of the nail. I did try to buff them lightly but they do not come off or grow off. I had a new client come in last week who had the same on her toenails. She said it started after she had a pedicure done at another salon. Can you help?

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