Is your pedicure safe?
Welcome back! Pod Co took a little break from the newsletters in January but we’re back into it this month with a subject that is mentioned almost hourly in the clinic at this time of the year:
Is your pedicure safe?
Most healthcare professionals agree that pedicures can be unsafe and lead to infection and the spread of disease. There is no doubt that some beauty clinics have better clean practices than others but the fact remains that medical professionals, such as podiatrists, have much more vigorous infection control procedures in place to protect you, the patient. Therefore, it is safer to seek callus and nail treatment from your local podiatrist rather than a poorly trained (if trained at all) pedicurist.
What am I risking?
Fungal nail infections:
Fungus is particularly contagious and once it gets into the nail plate, it is very difficult to treat. Treatment is almost always long-term and often frustrating for the patient as the toenails grow very slowly. Using polish on the nails for months at a time can lead to cracking of the nail plate, which if exposed to fungus, will become infected. The white or yellow discolouration you see when removing nail polish could already be an infection and is worth treating as soon as possible rather than covering up with more polish.
Rough treatment of the skin surrounding the nails especially with dirty tools can lead to painful and dangerous bacterial infections. Unskilled removal of callus around the heels, toes and under the feet with inappropriate tools can lead to wounds which, if not cared for correctly, also lead to infection.
And if this still doesn’t put you off, at least check the following:
Ask how the tools are sterilised — if tools are not sterilised using an autoclave, their safety cannot be guaranteed. Many salons will use single-use tools such as nail and foot files, which should be disposed of immediately after use. Sanitised or cleaned instruments are not the same as sterilized – fungus, bacteria and blood-borne diseases can survive a basic cleaning.
You should avoid pedicures if you have cuts or sores on your feet or legs. This includes having shaved or waxed during the 24-hour period before a pedicure.
Cuticles should never be cut, only moisturised, and nails should be cleaned gently with a brush rather than by digging with hard instruments. The delicate skin around the nails can easily become scratched and infection is very common.
If you are elderly, have diabetes or poor circulation; you are at a higher risk of suffering complications from pedicures.
Make sure you research the salon you are frequenting – if it looks unclean, it is unclean.
Cheap deals should always ring alarm bells.
A treatment from a podiatrist can be claimed on private health insurance and may actually be cheaper in the long run, especially if you end up having to undergo expensive treatment for an infection from unclean instruments.