Pedicures are a normal, often social way to relax and be pampered. The massages, callus scrub, hot rocks, and fresh coat of nail polish all feel wonderful, as well as make your feet look great. However, there are many health concerns that arise when going to salon, and even when doing self-pedicures at home.
Unwashed tools can spread bacteria, and some tools just need to be thrown away after each use. Here is our list of “do’s and don’ts” for a safe and healthy pedicure.
- If you have diabetes or poor foot circulation, consult a podiatrist near you for a pedicure routine that’s specialized for your condition, and that both you and your local nail salon should be able to follow.
- If you go to the salon for pedicures, schedule your appointment as early in the morning as you can. This is when all tools and equipment are typically cleanest.
- Bring your own utensils to the nail salon. Many of the tools used, such as files and pumice stones, carry bacteria that is hard to remove and can easily spread from person to person.
- When trimming nails, use a straight-edged nail clipper. Fingernail clippers and manicure scissors have a small, rounded shape which often cause toenails to grow in curved and can lead to ingrown toenails. You should consult a podiatrist if you tend to develop ingrown toenails.
- Use a wooden or rubber manicure stick to clean under your nails often. Fingernails and toenails are some of the biggest carriers of fungus and bacteria and should be cleaned regularly.
- Apply moisturizers to your feet regularly to ensure that they get a proper moisture balance.
- Avoid shaving your legs right before a pedicure appointment. Freshly shaved legs, and small cuts, are great hosts for bacteria.
- If you are getting both a manicure and pedicure, don’t use the same tools for both. It is very easy for bacteria and fungus to transfer between hands and feet.
- Don’t use emery boards from nail salons unless they ensure that they dispose of them after each use. Emery boards are very porous, making them very difficult to clean. Take your own emery board to the salon, if you have one, and don’t share them with friends.
- Moisturizing your feet is very important, but be sure to not leave any moisture in between your toes. Moisture in between toes can become a breeding ground for bacteria and fungus.
- Do not apply nail polish if you suffer from thick or discolored toenails. Discolored toenails could be a sign of a fungal infection, and a coat of nail polish makes it difficult for the toes to breathe; fungal infections need ventilation to be able to heal.
Pedicures are supposed to be relaxing, but they should also be safe! By following these precautions, you are allowing yourself the best pedicure experience that you can have.
If you ever have any pain after a pedicure or general concerns about the treatment of your feet during a pedicure, don’t hesitate to contact a podiatrist for the most specialized guidance.