It's spring and it's time for sandal season. You look forward to getting your first pedicure of the year. But before you pick up the phone and make that appointment, spend some time reading about what to look for in a nail salon and how to get a safe pedicure.
A pedicure is not a matter of simply getting nail polish decoratively layered on your toenails. Before the pedicurist gets to the colorful part, she has the potential of exposing your toes to all kinds of infections. In addition, there are some things you need to know about what to do and not do before you get a pedicure.
Here are 7 steps to getting a safe pedicure.
Always Wait 24 Hours After Shaving
Be sure to wait 24 hours after shaving your legs to get your pedicure. Some potentially life threatening skin infections can occur (eg. cellulitis) if your legs and feet are exposed to certain bacteria. Shaving creates small cuts in your skin creating the perfect environment for bacteria to enter from improperly sanitized instruments and foot baths.
Don't Let Nail Technicians Cut Your Cuticles
Your cuticles are barriers that prevent bacteria and fungus from getting into your body. Although it may look good to get your cuticles removed, don't let the technician do it. Removing the cuticle is removing that barrier and allowing potentially harmful germs in. In addition to cellulitis, the fungus that causes fungal toenails can get under your nail and set up shop.
Bring Your Own Tools
Unless you know a salon is autoclaving their tools or using barbicide and washing their tools properly between clients, don't risk it. Tools you should bring with you are nail files, clippers, and a cuticle pusher.
Don't Let Nail Technicians Remove An Ingrown Toenail
Some nail technicians may claim to do this safely but don't risk it. Getting an ingrown toenail removed is a surgical procedure that requires the expertise of a podiatrist. Most ingrown toenails are already infected and so the potential for further exposure to other bacteria is a bad idea.
Beware of Salons That Use Whirlpool Footbaths
Most salons use a whirlpool type of bath. If these baths aren't cleaned properly in between clients, then you're exposing yourself to whatever bacteria and fungus the previous clients have. Salons should be draining the water after each client and then filling them with disinfectant for at least 10 minutes before draining it and filling with water for the next person.
Salons may also use individual bath liners that are removed after each client or glass bowls that they clean between each client. These are both good practices.
Don't Let Technicians Remove Your Calluses
Many technicians are too aggressive when it comes to removing calluses and/or your skin using graters that look like they could cut cheese. This can be very dangerous particularly for people with diabetes or poor circulation. Either have your calluses removed by a podiatrist or use a cream with urea to gently remove them. Even these creams can be too much for a person with a medical condition and should be prescribed by a doctor.
Bring Your Own Nail Polish
Although salons provide nail polish, we recommend that you use a non-toxic nail polish such as Dr.'s Remedy Enriched Nail Polish. Regular nail polish can weaken your nails leaving you more vulnerable to toenail fungus.
If you really want to play it safe the Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City highly recommends doing your own pedicures. Check out this DIY pedicure. Remember if you have diabetes or poor circulation don't remove your own calluses.
If you have toenail fungus, an ingrown toenail, or another skin infection on your feet, call us today at 206-368-7000 for an appointment. Often same day for emergencies and less than 2 weeks for chronic foot pain. You can also request an appointment online.
Your free foot book "No More Foot Pain" is waiting to be sent to your home.
In addition, our newsletter "Foot Sense" comes out monthly. You can also check out our past issues. Every issue contains a mouth-watering recipe and can be printed out for easier reading!
Seattle foot and ankle specialist, Dr. Rion Berg offers foot care for patients with bunions, heel pain, diabetes, fungal toenails, ingrown nails, and surgical solutions when needed to residents of Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood and other surrounding suburbs.