A pedicure is a great way to pamper yourself and groom your feet; but be careful, pedicure infections are very easy to pick up if your salon does not practice proper hygiene. Health risks associated with pedicures include everything from fungal foot infections to bacterial skin infections and viral infections.
There are precautions you can take both before and after a pedicure to minimize your risk of infection.
Pedicure safety tips
Before baring your toes at your local nail salon, take a few easy steps to ensure foot safety:
- Bring your own pedicure tools to reduce risk of contamination.
- Do not allow the pedicurist to cut your cuticles.
- Do not shave or wax your legs less than 24 hours before your appointment.
- Make sure footbaths are drained and washed between clients.
- Schedule your appointment as early as possible (pedicure tools and footbaths are cleanest at the beginning of the day).
- Take a look around, does the salon look clean?
You should avoid having a pedicure if you have any cuts, bug bites, scratches, or scabs on your feet and legs.
To reduce your risk of infection, take the following steps after receiving a pedicure:
- Apply moisturizer to the skin and margins of the nail.
- Gently exfoliate dead skin.
- Maintain a straight (not rounded) nail edge.
- Push back, but do not trim cuticles.
- Space your next pedicure apart by eight weeks.
- Wash and soak your feet in warm water for 10 minutes, this helps clean skin and nails.
When to see a doctor
It is important to be on guard for infection in the days and weeks following a pedicure. Signs of a fungal infection include:
- Discoloration of toenails
- Flaking of toenails.
- Red, itchy skin between toes (this may be athlete’s foot)
- Small indentations in toenails
- White spots in toenails
Bacterial infections are all too common following a pedicure. One of the first symptoms of infection is small, red bumps that resemble insect bites. These are actually boils, and they can continue to grow in size, eventually producing pus.
If you are experiencing any symptoms of a foot infection following a pedicure, make sure to see a doctor right away. People with diabetes and those with compromised immune systems are especially vulnerable to pedicure infections and should see a physician immediately if they suspect something is wrong.