Keep Your Feet Safe
Watch the tools
The American Academy of Dermatology lists fungal infections and bacterial skin infections among the health risks that could come with getting a pedicure. They include a variety of ailments, such as athlete's foot and nail fungus. Some tools, such as nail buffers and emery boards, cannot be sterlized. This means aestheticians must use a new one for each and every customer. If you notice that a pre-used buffer is about to come in contact with your feet, speak up.
Know the risks
Elizabeth Kurtz, a podiatrist and spokesperson for the American Podiatric Medical Association, reports that certain aspects of a pedicure are more dangerous than others because it is easy for them to be done incorrectly. Although cutting cuticles can add a more refined look to your nails, infection can easily set in if the procedure is performed incorrectly. Similarly, although sharp devices can be used to scrape off dead skin more effectively, an untrained or distracted technician could remove too much skin and leave your body open to infection. To play it safe, avoid getting your cuticles cut, and only allow dead skin to be removed with a pumice stone or foot file.
Avoid potential foot spa infections
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, there have been instances of breakouts on the legs and feet of patrons that have been associated with pedicure foot spa use. Micro-organisms in foot spas can enter through the skin, particularly broken skin. This could be something noticeable, such as a cut, but it could also be something small, such as a bug bite, open hangnail or a nick from shaving. If you are planning to get a pedicure, avoid shaving or waxing for 24 hours before your appointment. You should also avoid placing skin with any cuts or scrapes into the foot bowl provided. Foot spas should always be disinfected between clients and at the end of the night. If you don't see this happening, proceed with caution. If you do notice anything unusual on your feet or legs after a treatment, see your doctor immediately.
Make sure you have a solid understanding of how pedicure stations are maintained. How often are the foot baths cleaned? When are the tools disinfected? What chemicals are used? Don't be afraid to approach your aesthetician or even the manager of the spa with any concerns you may have. You have a right to know what steps are being taken to ensure your safety, so when in doubt, ask!