How Safe Is Your Salon Pedicure?

  • How Safe Is Your Salon Pedicure? Sometimes a woman just needs to pamper her feet. And what better to do so than to head to a salon, pick out the season’s hottest color and have a professional groom your feet?

    While salon pedicures are usually safe, it’s still important to take precautions and safeguard your health. You don’t want to walk away from your relaxing pedi with a nasty infection.

    Here are 10 ways to keep your feet safe and healthy before, during and after your salon pedi:
  • Make A Morning Appointment It’s best to schedule your pedicure appointment first thing in the a.m. According to the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA), the nail tools and foot tubs are usually the cleanest at the beginning of the day.
  • Don’t Shave Beforehand Embarrassed about making the pedicurist touch your hairy legs? For health’s sake, you’ll need to get over it. Don’t shave your legs up to 24 hours before your pedi. If you make even the tiniest nick or cut on your leg with a razor, bacteria can enter the opening and cause infection. If you have a cut, wait until it heals before scheduling an appointment.
  • Trust Your Judgment Before you take off your flip-flops and sit down, ask yourself if the salon looks sanitary. If the floors, surfaces and pedicure stations appear less than clean, chances are, hygiene and sterilization aren’t that salon’s first priorities. Don’t take a chance—if you don’t like what you see, head to another salon.
  • Look For Licenses Salon technicians need to be licensed by the state governing board before practicing cosmetology. To be sure that your pedicurist knows what she’s doing, look to see that her license is clearly displayed in the salon.
  • BYOT Bring Your Own Tools—and don’t feel like you’re being overly germophobic! Even if the salon looks upscale and spotless, you can never really tell if the tools they’re using on your tootsies have been sterilized properly. Don’t take the chance—to decrease your risk of catching an infection or fungus, bring your own clippers, files and orange stick. Conveniently, many salons even let you buy a drawer so you can keep your instruments there and not worry about bringing them back and forth for appointments.
  • Is The Tub Clean? Who knows if the woman who sat in the pedicure chair before you had clean, fungus-free feet? If she didn’t, that bacteria could still be lurking in the footbath. Before you stick your feet in the tub, watch to see if your pedicurist scrubs your tub clean. If you don’t see her do it, ask her if she has and how long it’s been since her last appointment. Salon disinfectants require at least 10 minutes to fully do the job.
  • Say No To Cuticle Cutting Yes, even when a technician is trained to do so, it’s still not safe to get your cuticles trimmed. Cuticles act as buffers, blocking bacteria from getting under your skin and causing infection. “When this protective barrier gets cut or removed, it’s easy for bacteria and fungus to enter,” says Elizabeth Kurtz, DPM, a podiatrist in Chicago and APMA spokesperson. After your feet have been soaking in the tub, if the pedicurist reaches for the cuticle clippers, ask her to just gently push them back instead.
  • Not Too Short No, long toenails are neither attractive nor comfortable. But getting your nails cut too short can lead to infection or ingrown toenails. Ask your pedicurist to just file your nails down to the length you’d like. And if your nails really need a trim, make sure you make it clear that “just a trim” is all you need!
  • Smooth Down Properly A standard salon pedicure usually includes scrubbing off calluses and removing dead skin. This procedure is safe as long as it is done with a pumice stone or a foot file, not a razor-type instrument. This sharp tool can remove too much skin on your foot, which can lead to damaged skin or infection.
  • Once You’re Home After you and your pretty painted feet head home, be on the look out for changes in your feet for the next few days. If you notice any itching, swelling, yellowing nails, boils or rashes, it could be a sign of an infection. If you suspect you may have an infection, you should schedule an appointment with your doctor or podiatrist.