Pedicure safety tips.
A pedicure is a great way to pamper yourself, but make sure you go to a salon that practices proper hygiene or you may walk away with more than pretty feet.
Getting a pedicure is a popular way to pamper and groom the feet. But watch out. You could walk away with an infection due to the use of unsanitary tools and contaminated footbaths if the pedicure salon doesn't practice proper hygiene. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, pedicure health risks include fungal infections, such as athlete's foot and nail fungus, and bacterial skin infections, including MRSA (Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus), a potentially serious antibiotic-resistant staph infection. That doesn't mean you shouldn't indulge in a pedicure. But you should take a few steps, before baring your toes, to ensure foot safety.
Pedicure Safety: Before You Go
For starters, schedule your pedicure first thing in the morning. Pedicure instruments and footbaths are typically cleanest at the beginning of the day, according to the American Podiatric Medical Association.
Ask the person you make your appointment with how much time there is between appointments. Pedicure disinfectants require at least 10 minutes to work. If the salon is putting one client after another into the foot bowl, that's a red flag that your feet may be vulnerable to an infection.
Some other tips before you go:
Don't shave your legs. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Environmental Protection Agency warn against shaving, using hair removal creams, or waxing your legs and feet during the 24 hours before getting a pedicure. Hair removal can cause cuts or subtle abrasions that you don't even notice on your feet. These tiny openings in the skin can allow bacteria and fungus to enter.
Bring your own pedicure tools. Bacteria and fungus can easily move from one person to the next on pedicure utensils that haven't been properly sterilized. Bringing your own tools will eliminate that risk. Some tools, like nail buffers and emery boards, can't be sterilized. Even in the most pristine salons, these tools may not be replaced after each customer.
Pedicure Safety: Before You Remove Your Shoes
Once you're inside, take a look around. Do the surfaces and water where clients put their feet appear sanitary? If they look dirty, find another place to get a pedicure. Also, check out the bathroom. If the bathrooms are dirty, that's a clue that the pedicure salon may not have high hygiene standards.
Don't be afraid to ask about the salon's disinfecting procedures. Footbaths should be drained and washed with disinfectant between customers and every night, and pedicure instruments should be soaked in disinfectant between customers. Footbaths and instruments that aren't properly disinfected could harbor bacteria and fungus that can cause infections to the feet. You could also ask about these points when you make your appointment, but your eyes can help determine the truth.
Pedicure Safety: While You Are There
Try not to get too comfortable during your pedicure.
Don't let the pedicure technician cut your cuticles. When this protective barrier is cut or removed, it's easy for bacteria and fungus to enter. Pushing back the cuticle can also damage it, increasing the risk of infection to your feet.
Be sure your feet are smoothed properly. A standard pedicure usually includes removal of dead skin on the feet, but this should be done with a pumice stone or foot file, not a razor-type tool. If used incorrectly, a razor can easily remove too much skin and cause infection or permanent damage to the skin.
Pedicure Safety: After You Leave
Be on guard for infections to your feet in the days and weeks following a pedicure. The appearance of a pimple or boil that's red, swollen, or painful could be a sign of a bacterial staph infection. An itchy foot rash or yellowish toenail could signal a fungal infection. Visit a podiatrist or primary care physician if you suspect you have an infection.
Taking these precautions will help ensure that getting a pedicure will leave your feet both pretty and healthy.
Most pedicures are perfectly safe, but it pays to be proactive to protect your feet. References available on request.
By Beatrice Razor, RN, BSN, CWOCN
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|Date:||Aug 1, 2009|
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