Note: This article contains graphic content. 

Getting one’s nails done at the salon is a pastime that many find relaxing. Acrylic nails have become increasingly popular recently, as it allows for extra length and designs that can’t be achieved with standard nail polish.

One mom of four got an acrylic nail service done at a salon and wound up with a painful and frightening injury that almost caused her to lose her thumb.

Metro reports that a few days after U.K. woman Lowri-Anne Wilson received an acrylic nails service, she felt pain in her thumbnail.

She told Metro:

“I had my nails done in a salon and two days later there was a pulsing pain in my thumb on my left hand. It then began to swell…”

When Wilson went to the hospital, doctors informed her the salon needed to remove the acrylic nail. But she was met with resistance when she returned to the salon.

Wilson explained:

“I went back to the salon but they refused to take it off, in the end I had to have surgery in hospital. The infection was so bad that I had an abscess under my nail.”

In fact, Wilson said that if the infection had spread to her bone, she would have had to get her thumb amputated. Despite surgery and being on antibiotics, she’s still in pain— which she described as even worse than childbirth.

Wilson told Metro:

“[I]t was the worst pain that I have ever experienced — and I have had four children.’

She added that she will have to undergo even more surgeries once her nail starts growing back in — if at all; doctors told her that her nail may never regrow.

Wilson said that her infection at the salon has also interfered with her work performance.

She lamented:

“I have also lost my job. I was in a probation period and I currently can’t work as I am in so much pain.”

Wilson told Metro that because of the pain and trauma from the incident, she won’t get artificial nails again.

She said:

“You sometimes hear stories about acrylic nails going wrong but you never expect it to happen to you.”

Generally, getting acrylic nails done is safe. But clients who go to salons that aren’t licensed can expose themselves to the risk of infection. Good Housekeeping encourages men or women who want to get their nails done to research the salon before setting an appointment.

Once a client arrives at the salon, they should look out for a clean workspace, making sure that the nail technician opens their toolkit in front of the client. GH cautions clients not to ask them to cut cuticles— as that can allow germs to enter the body. Instead, clients should ask the technician to push back the cuticle. The publication also includes a full list of what to look out for before heading to the salon.

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