It doesn’t matter whether the groundhog saw his shadow or not: The season is calling for pedicure time! But before you go skipping to the next nail salon for the indulgent foot and toenail treatment, there are a few things you might want to keep in mind so a beautifying pedicure doesn’t leave you horrified — or worse.
There’s Fungus Among Us
Nothing takes the spring out of your step like foot or toenail fungus, both of which spread quite frequently in nail salons and spas. And it doesn’t matter whether you book your appointment at a hole in the wall strip mall spot or the most posh, glamorous spa in town: All establishments that offer manicures and pedicures carry a risk because it’s nearly impossible to thoroughly clean every tub, hose and tube used for the cosmetic procedure. Add to that the fact that up to 75% of US salons don’t disinfect their equipment and instruments according to state recommended guidelines, and you’ve got yourself one scary situation.
How To Protect Yourself During Pedicures
So what’s person to do if nail salons are lurking with hidden dangers? First of all, don’t fret; there’s no reason you should skip out on receiving a pampering manicure or pedicure. It’s completely safe to visit reputable salons as long as you do the following:
- Only visit visibly clean, well-maintained salons and spas. Never take a chance with nail salons that don’t appear 100% sanitary, no matter how good the deal.
- Avoid soaking your feet in tubs that have jets. Though they feel good, bacteria and fungus can easily get trapped in the tubes and vents — even with proper cleaning.
- Bring your own pedicure tools (pumice stone, nail clippers, cuticle sticks, orange sticks, emery boards, nail files, etc.) to ensure only clean equipment is touching your feet. Otherwise, try to visit spas and salons that use an autoclave, the only machine that offers 100% disinfection of manicure and pedicure instruments.
- Report the salon to your local board of health if you notice disposable products like files and orange sticks with dents or staining. It is illegal in most states to reuse these products. Additionally, you may want to consider reporting the salon if you notice other unsanitary conditions like messy workstations or visibly old nail polish and other products.
- Never visit a nail salon if you are showing signs of an infection. Not only can you spread things like athlete’s foot and onychomycosis (toenail fungus) to other patrons, receiving pedicures and other beauty treatments can actually make your infection worse. Always visit a doctor or podiatrist if you develop any type of foot or toenail infection symptoms.
All that being said, don’t worry too much about getting pedicures and manicures. Though there is a risk of picking up infections like athlete’s foot, staph and warts at nail salons, millions of people receive pedicures and manicures on a regular basis with absolutely no problems at all. The best thing you can do is take the above precautionary steps and then just relax and enjoy the treatment. Your new spring sandals are waiting!