Wednesday, 25 May 2022 18:32

Pedicures: Why They Can Be Dangerous

pedicure istoEveryone likes to have toenails that look neat, clean, and groomed. However, going to a salon for a professional pedicure can sometimes increase your chances of contracting a fungal or bacterial infection, or developing an ingrown toenail.

Beauty/nail salons that serve the public see many customers every day, all day. A busy salon may not always clean and disinfect their grooming utensils properly in between customers. If you come in contact with an infected grooming implement, you could be exposed to various fungal organisms and develop an unsightly and sometimes painful toenail infection. 

Fungal organisms also thrive in damp, warm environments, such as whirlpool- or jacuzzi-style foot baths which many salons feature. These systems re-circulate water, which can spread an infection to many people if the vessel is not properly disinfected and deep cleaned overnight to eliminate biofilm that builds up and allows bacteria to multiply. 

Another way professional pedicures may cause a toenail infection is through recurrent exposure to chemicals. The harsh chemicals that are present in professional nail polish and polish removers can weaken the nail, which can make it more susceptible to infection.

Toenail infections are difficult to treat and may cause permanent damage to the nail if not treated properly. This condition is also particularly problematic for patients with diabetes, nerve damage, and poor circulation.

The risk of developing an ingrown toenail in a salon is also increased by improper technique which may damage toenails and surrounding skin. Many nail technicians often push back the toenail cuticle to give a finished look to the pedicure. This practice can increase the chances of a fungal organism entering the nail bed. Also, an inexperienced nail technician may be too aggressive in trimming toenails and cut them too short. Both of these improper practices can lead to painful ingrown toenails. 

If you decide to accept these risks and get a professional pedicure, there are several precautions you can take to protect yourself. First, check that the salon has a certificate displayed by your state’s health department. Make sure foot baths are soaked with an EPA-registered disinfectant for at least 10 minutes (and rinsed with clean water) before each use, and deep cleaned every night. Nail clippers and other grooming utensils should also be disinfected with an EPA-registered disinfectant, UV light system, or another sterilizing autoclave.

For more information on how to avoid developing toenail infections and ingrown toenails—or to receive proper treatment for one of these conditions—consult with Mital Patel, DPM from South Shore PodiatryOur doctor will assess your condition and provide you with the best treatment for you

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our office located in Massapequa, NY. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.