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Frosty the dust man

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Ah, winter is here and we long to frolic in the whiteness and beauty of powdery snow.
Wandering down through the streets, past the kids laughing and playing, we can catch a glimpse of Gertrude in the salon happily building a full size replica of Frosty the snowman… on her desk?
What’s this pray tell? There should be no snow in such a pretty nail salon. Ah, that’s no snow you see… that powdery white stuff is nail dust.

People whinge about the danger of vapour in the salon (even though monomer vapours in the air of a standard salon is 100-200 times lower than safety threshold values) yet take no heed to the levels of dust.

No matter what type of system you use in the salon, you generate dust whilst you work. The more dust you create and the smaller the dust particles, the more you increase your risk of respiratory problems aggravated by dust inhalation.

There are several sizes of dust bunnies in the salon and each are born of different types of filing techniques.

Does size really count?

In general, the smaller the dust particulate, the harder it is for your body’s natural defence system to provide protection against the said particulate. The finer and smaller the dust particulate, the longer it will also stay suspended in the air (increasing the likelihood of inhalation). Larger particulates have a tendency to fall faster to a surface and pose less of a threat as they will not stir back into the air as easily as their lighter counterparts.

There are many different methods in use to prevent dust inhalation.

Extracting the info

The single best source to prevent inhalation is extraction ventilation. True extraction systems pull dust, pollen, and vapour from your breathing zone and expel them outside allowing fresh air to circulate. To maximise the benefit of an extraction system, aim to have the extraction source be as close to your working area as possible. The downside to extraction is that most systems need to be installed by air conditioning specialists and can therefore be a bit pricey.

Filtering the dust

The more popular filtration systems vary greatly in degree in effectiveness. The vast majority of filtration systems will offer charcoal filters that help to absorb some of the vapour and a large portion of dust created while working. They are usually the more common method of dust control as they are far more cost effective and realistic to install versus extraction systems.
It is important to investigate the various filtration systems on offer from different distributors to find the one that is right for you. Make sure to look into how often they need to be replaced and ease of purchasing replacements as many filters clog very quickly and end up doing very little. This poses even more of a threat as it gives the technician a false sense of security. The other potential downside is that they usually only capture dust and vapour directly above the vent.

Darth Vader masks

Dust masks can help against direct inhalation of dust particles. Just remember that like filters, dust masks can become clogged. Lower quality masks can also have difficulty preventing inhalation of smaller particulates.

Fans and air conditioning

Avoid fans or air conditioners as they can actually make the problem much worse. Any dust particles that would have otherwise settled, only get circulated through your breathing area.

Dust musts

After all is said and done, the best solution in preventing dust is to minimise its creation in the first place. The majority of health issues in the salon have little to do with products themselves, but rather the way that nail technicians create extra work for themselves in finishing or the rebalancing stage. When you practice proper application techniques, you minimise the amount of work during finishing while at the same time, creating thinner, more durable enhancements that are faster to file prep for rebalancing.
Sculpt with your brush and not your file to prevent excessive dust woes and be sure to practise universal sanitation to prevent dust from accumulating in your work area.

Besides, dust makes a lousy snowman… just ask Gertrude.
 

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