5 Steps to a Safe Pedicure
Easy, expert tips to keep your feet healthy—and sexy.
With the arrival of spring and summer, it’s time for your toes to make their seasonal debut. But although you want to make them look good as fast as possible, you’ve also got to think about how you can keep them safe and infection-free. Otherwise, you might end up with some surprise results, like a fungus or a bacterial infection.
“A pedicure is something I recommend to my patients who want to maintain both the health and look of their feet, but I warn them to proceed with caution when choosing a nail salon to frequent,” says Dr. Oliver Zong, a New York City cosmetic podiatrist.
What’s the problem? While the number of nail salons and spas are on the rise, their health regulations are not. Unlike hospitals, the cosmetics industry is not required to perform sanitary procedures such as sterilization. So, says Dr. Zong, “The biggest risk factor [in getting a pedicure] is going to be infection. Many places do not sanitize properly.”
And that’ a major problem: Experts say the biggest dangers of unsafe pedicures are fungal infections like athlete’s foot, bacterial infections like staphylococcus and (most dangerous of all) viral infections including plantar warts and hepatitis B and C.
But you won’t have to steer clear of pedicures if you follow Dr. Zong’s tips and tricks:
Wait for cuts to get better. When dealing with bug bites, cuts, bruises or poison ivy on your feet or legs, skip the pedicure until you’re healed. These abrasions can let microorganisms enter the body straight from the footbath, causing infection. And try to wait on shaving your legs, getting waxed, or using a hair removal cream before getting a pedicure. This can help prevent bacteria from entering the skin.