Pedicurists: How do I know I have a good one?
Results are important and you have to be happy with appearances when is comes to pedicures, BUT you also have to worry about transmission of fungal organisms and bacteria that could lead to fungal nails or infections. There has been a lot in the media recently regarding hazards in many salons. So, what should you look for when selecting a location for your pedicures?
•Cleanliness: How does the salon clean their instruments/tools? Don’t be afraid to ask and see how the individual pedicurist cleans their instruments between clients.
•Whirlpools: Are the whirlpools you soak your feet in self-contained? Do they drain completely or are there pipes where the water re-circulates similar to those of a Jacuzzi? If so, water will contain remnants of the previous client’s skin, bacteria and fungal organisms thereby causing an exposure risk for your nails and skin. The foot baths should be self-contained and do not have re-circlating water. Checking for this and asking how they clean the whirlpools/foot baths between clients is important. For those systems that have Jacuzzi style, re-circulating piping: do they run additional cycles with sterilizing solution to dilute the water in the re-circulating pipes therefore cleansing the existing water? This will minimize your risk of exposure.
•Cuticles: I do not recommend pushing the cuticles away from the nails as this detaches the protective seal they provide to prevent bacteria and fungus from getting underneath the skin and causing infections. If you must remove the cuticle for your pedicure, I recommend cutting the cuticle at its base and remove the cuticle forward rather than back towards the skin thereby minimizing the risk of pushing of any bacteria or fungal material underneath the skin.
•Ingrown nails: Ingrown nails are a common condition but are not always painful. Ingrown toenails, by definition, means the nail is curved at the border where it meets the skin. If these are routinely painful and require partial nail removal by your pedicurist, you are at risk for getting an ingrown toenail, abscess or infection. I recommend having the ingrown toenail fixed rather than taking chances with your pedicurist. If you get an infection from the removal of the nail by your pedicurist, they do not have the proper training or licensing to prescribe antibiotics for the infection. Also, this does not solve the ingrown toenail condition except only temporarily. When the nail grows back, the same nail shape will grow again causing irritation, pressure and pain. There are simple corrective procedures that heal very quickly and resolve the condition permanently which are performed in the office.
•Calluses: In Oregon, pedicurists are not allowed to use a blade to trim or scrape your calluses! They may buff or sand them but they are not allowed to use any form of blade or scraper on your skin.
•Skin care: Creams and lotions used on your feet should be applied primarily to the tops and bottoms and massaged in gently, but use them minimally between the toes as that area is most often moist enough and does not need additional moisture. This can lead to the softening and breakdown of the skin as well as help harbor bacteria and fungus.
•Your pedicurist: Does your pedicurist listen to what you want done? It is very important that they respect your wishes regarding what you would like performed on your nails and feet. As Podiatric Physicians, we generally always recommend trimming the nails straight across to prevent complications like ingrown toenails caused by improper trimming around the edges. If you have ingrown toenail pain, most podiatric physicians will recommend a permanent correction so that you eliminate the condition and thereby prevent risk of infections and also eliminate your recurring pain on re-growth of the ingrown toenail.
If you need treatment for ingrown nails, painful calluses or fungal infections, call us today for an appointment at (503)-657-1900.