21 Feb 2017

Call to regulate beauty industry 'cowboys'

3:00 pm on 21 February 2017

There are renewed calls for the beauty industry to be regulated after an Auckland nail salon was found to be using a banned chemical.

A beauty consultant working on a customer's acrylic fingernails (file picture).

A beauty consultant working on a customer's acrylic fingernails (file). Photo: 123RF

Auckland Council visited Kiwi Nails & Spa in Silverdale in March last year where it found methyl methacrylate (MMA), which is known to cause nail damage and irritation of the skin and eyes. The chemical's fumes can also cause drowsiness and headaches.

Salon owner Quoc Duy Phan was ordered to pay $13,5000 in the Auckland District Court yesterday.

The New Zealand Association of Registered Beauty Therapists said it was time for the government to introduce legislation to regulate the industry.

President Kim Ryan said they saw about three instances a week of people getting injured or infected at beauty salons.

"At the moment anyone can become a nail technician, anyone can do facials or waxing without any prior learning qualifications, and that is dangerous.

"There are cowboys out there doing things they shouldn't. We've seen people with significant burns from waxing, people extracting things or cutting things they shouldn't."

Accidents at beauty salons cost ACC over $22,000 last year, up from $12,227 in 2015. Incidents included a cut foot during a pedicure, an infected nail bed and a therapist accidentally filing the tip off a toe.

Mrs Ryan said she saw a case recently where a woman's skin was peeled off during a wax due to the type of wax being used, and it being too hot.

"Twenty years ago you maybe could have got away with the industry not being regulated, but the products were not as intense as what they are now."

It was up to the government to regulate the beauty industry, she said.

"This salon was probably using MMA because it is a lot cheaper than the alternative. We did have concerns about the big chain nail bars but I have to say they have cleaned up their act a lot.

"There is still a long way to go. As an association we can go in there and make recommendations but if they're not our member they can tell us to jog on, that's why we need regulation," Mrs Ryan said.