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Woman Files Lawsuit Against Salon, Argues Manicure Session Gave Her STD

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By Jaden Francis - - 5 Mins Read
Nail technician during a manicure and pedicure session
Manicure session | Shutterstock

Nail appointments are supposed to be relaxing treats—a chance to pamper yourself and leave feeling fabulous.

But for one young woman, a routine manicure turned into a nightmare that has haunted her for years.

Brace yourselves because this nail salon horror story will make you rethink those "treat yourself" mani-pedis.

A Routine Treatment Gone Wrong

Twenty-three-year-old Emily (name changed for privacy) was just looking to get her nails done at her local Portland salon, PDX Nails.

Little did she know, her quest for pretty digits would leave her scarred, both physically and emotionally.

During her acrylic manicure, the technician committed some major no-nos that put Emily at serious risk for infection.

"The technician didn't even wear gloves!" Emily recalls, shuddering.

"And get this—she stored all the tools and drill bits in a measly Altoids tin. So unsanitary!"

A few days after her ill-fated appointment, Emily noticed a nasty-looking infection brewing around the nail and cuticle of her right index finger.

Swelling, redness, and general unwellness soon followed. After a virtual check-up and an ER visit, the bombshell diagnosis dropped: Emily had contracted herpetic whitlow, a form of genital herpes.

"I was in complete shock," she says, tears welling up. "I'd never had any form of herpes before that nail appointment. This all could have been avoided if they'd just followed basic hygiene protocols."


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Suing for millions

Understandably outraged, Emily decided to take legal action against the salon.

Her lawsuit accuses PDX Nails of negligence and illegal business practices, demanding a staggering $1.75 million in damages.

Since contracting the virus, Emily has suffered frequent, excruciatingly painful outbreaks that impact her quality of life.

"The flare-ups can be super, super painful," she confesses. "It's always on my mind. People ask about the sores on my fingers, and I get so embarrassed and uncomfortable having to cover up or make excuses."

The Dangers Lurking at Your Favorite Nail Bar

While Emily's case is extreme, it highlights the very real risks that can occur at nail salons if proper precautions aren't taken.

Infection Risks

Improperly sanitized tools can spread bacterial infections, like mycobacterial nail infections. These nasty bugs can enter through cuts or abrasions and cause intense pain and swelling.

Chemical Exposure 

Many nail products contain potentially harmful chemicals like formaldehyde, acetone, and dibutyl phthalate. Prolonged exposure can lead to allergic reactions, respiratory issues, and even cancer.


Beauty technician fixing a woman's nails
A visit to the spa could cause health risks | spabielenda/Pixabay


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Protecting Yourself from Nail Salon Hazards 

So, should you swear off manicures forever? Not necessarily!

Just be vigilant about only visiting reputable salons that prioritize health and safety.

  • Ensure technicians use fresh disposable tools or properly sanitized reusable ones.
  • Ask what chemicals are in the products and opt for "three-free" polishes when possible. 
  • Stick to salons that have proper ventilation to limit chemical fume exposure.
  • Never get services if you notice any signs of unsanitary practices.


With some common-sense precautions, you can indulge in mani-pedis safely and avoid nightmarish scenarios like Emily's. Her hard-learned lesson? When it comes to nail salon hygiene, never take any risks; your health is at stake.