Pedicure Precautions

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Spa owner and beauty expert Jamie Ahn's advice on the possible dangers when getting a pedicure. She shares her "insider" advice and tips that will keep you healthy and make your toes dazzle.

Dear Jamie:

"I used to get regular pedicures at a local salon but got a nail infection and haven't been back. Before I put my feet into a pedicure bath, what are the signs I should look for to make sure it is clean? Also, do the sanitary boxes they store the tools in really work?"

Shannon R., San Jose, CA

Dear Shannon:

This is an excellent question! From the moment you enter the spa, make sure to take note of whether or not the establishment values cleanliness. This is one of the more important judgments to make, although it should not be the only thing you consider. The pedicure baths should be cleaned in between appointments. If the bath is improperly cleaned, it may contain bacteria called mycobacterium fortuitum or other types of fungi. There are many types of foot baths but the ones to be most concerned about are the whirlpool foot baths. Dangerous bacteria can harbor in the pipes and jets. In order to adequately clean and disinfect them, they should use a hospital grade disinfectant. This disinfection process should take place in between each client for ten minutes.

You should also forgo the whirlpool process and tell the technician to not turn them on. The newer models have pipe-less jets that can be cleaned by removing from the bath or by running a solution such as Pediclear which has just been EPA approved and works in only 30 seconds. If you are uncomfortable with dipping your feet in, ask the technician to clean and rinse the foot bath again.

There are also ways to prepare your skin in order to prevent an infection before a pedicure. It is best not shave your legs 24 hours before the pedicure. Shaving can create small nicks that allow the bacteria to enter your skin. Also, only let the pedicurist cut your toenails. Do not allow them to cut your cuticles because that creates another opening for bacteria to enter.

The boxes that implements are stored in will work if used properly. Some boxes use barricades to soak tools in and others are kept in UV sanitizers or autoclaves.

photo © Yuri Arcurs |

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