PASCO, Wash. — A nail salon nightmare right here in the Tri-Cities.
More and more nail salons are opening in Washington State but that means more businesses for the Department Of Licensing (DOL) to inspect, leaving room for error and risks to your health.
KEPR met one Pasco woman who’s finally recovering from what she calls punishing pedicure.
“I almost could lay my life down on it that every nail salon has an issue,” said Christine Hazen.
A bold statement from an unhappy customer, angry at the trauma her toes experienced.
Hazen says her pain started at Regal Nails in Pasco back in April 2015 when she paid for a pedicure. She says the salon worker caused more discomfort than relaxation.
“And I kept telling her, that hurts. You’re digging too deep along the cuticle,” said Hazen.
But Christine claims the digging didn’t stop.
“The more she worked, the more I was concerned,” said Hazen.
One month later, Christine tells Action News she felt pain in her toes and immediately went to a doctor who then sent her to a foot specialist.
The diagnosis was fungal growth on both feet. The transformation was shocking.
Christine says peeling skin caused by medication scared her straight.
“I was shedding like a snake,” said Hazen.
So she filed a complaint with the Washington Department of Licensing (DOL.)
The DOL says these nail salon nightmares are not uncommon. “We do receive complaints from people who have visited a salon and then shortly thereafter end up having some type of infection.”
The DOL inspected Regal Nails and it scored above 85 points, a passing grade.
But three months later, Regal scored a 64 and an employee by the name of Christina Tran was caught performing a service without a license.
Vincent Vu, the owner of Regal Nails got slapped with a $1,000 fine for aiding and abetting unlicensed activity and two failed safety and sanitation inspections.
Vu did not want to speak on camera but told KEPR Tran started working at the salon in March of 2015 and is no longer employed.
“I think they should be on the radar for a monthly inspection,” said Hazen.
The DOL says there are about 14,000 licensed nail salons in the state of Washington.
But there are only eight hired inspectors to cover all of that ground.
“That is all our budget has allowed for at this point in time and we just do our best with the eight inspectors we have,” said DOL spokeswoman Christine Anthony.
So it’s buyer beware when selecting a nail salon. Christine learned her lesson the hard way.
She says she is finally off medication and her feet are slowly recovering but she says even wearing a pair of shoes is a risk for infection.
“I have to dress according to a flip flop in the middle of December. Now that’s not fair. That’s not right,” said Hazen.
The unlicensed nail salon worker finally got certified in March 2016.
The DOL wants you the customer to be on the lookout for visible licenses and any complaint should be reported immediately.
It’s important to note that Regal Nails passed two of its last three inspections (September 2015, February 2016).