does the word ‘pedicure’ bring to mind? Pampering and relaxation, or
mycobacteria and staph infections? Pedicures have come under fire
for causing bacterial and fungal infections. Don’t worry too much --
serious cases are very rare, and most nail technicians have stepped
up their sanitation practices in recent years. Still, there are
precautions that you can – and certainly should – take before your
Get the nitty-gritty on
sanitation. Before choosing a nail salon, call it up and ask for
details on their sanitation routines. The salon needs to be
sanitizing all equipment and tools between clients. Ask what
disinfectant it uses, and for how long. Even hospital grade
disinfectants need at least 10-15 minutes to be effective.
Drop in for an unscheduled tour.
Look for a prominently displayed nail license. Check out the
overall cleanliness of the place and the willingness of staff to
answer your questions. If you see technicians using towels,
tools, or equipment on different clients without full
sterilization in between, cross off this salon. You have many to
Be wary of footbaths. They might
feel amazing, but whirlpool style tubs are also where most
infections occur. Unless the salon maintains rigorous
disinfecting procedures or uses disposable tubs, your own
bathtub is a safer place to soak your feet.
Don’t shave (or wax, or use hair
removers) at least 24 hours before your pedicure. Removing hair
creates tiny nicks and wounds in your skin for bacteria to get
in. If you have any bruises, scratches, insect bites, or scabs
on your legs or feet, wait until your skin is completely healed
before getting a pedicure.
Take no chances with sharp
instruments. Do not allow a technician to use a razor on your
heels, cut your cuticles, or approach your nails with a sharp
tool that could puncture the skin. Your cuticles and skin form a
natural barrier between your body and harmful bacteria.
Bring your own tools. If you’re
still worried, you can insist that your nail technician use your
own tools, which are safer than shared tools. Some salons are
willing to keep your tools on-site and use them only on you.
And finally, keep an eye on your
feet and legs for a few days after the pedicure. Infections
often start out looking like insect bites. In the unlikely event
you do suffer an infection, get it treated ASAP and mention the
pedicure as a possible cause to your doctor.
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