Beauty treatment that can turn dangerous: pedicures?

I was a bit shocked to see this article on Huffington Post this afternoon. Yes, I know the dangers of getting a pedicure in a salon. I know those tools are probably not as clean as they should be.

I was thrilled to find  a salon last week that opened my pedicure tools like they were in an operating room. My clippers, etc., were vacuum sealed in their own packet, and it was opened fresh for me. That was VERY comforting (and I’ll be going back there for sure).

But in case you didn’t know – here are some things to watch out for!

You may have a little more trouble relaxing into that massage chair with a magazine after this one — an unsanitary pedicure could lead a viral infection (such as warts), bacterial infections from ingrown toenails and agressive filing, or a fungal infection of the skin and nails, among other serious health problems, says Jackie Sutera, a New York City podiatrist.

Since some salons have better sanitizing practices than others, she recommends that you always bring your own tools (her favorites are Tweezerman), including cuticle nippers, toe clippers, a nail file, nail clippers and, most importantly, a foot file. “That’s one of the dirtiest things in that whole salon,” she says. “There’s a misconception that because they put it in a blue solution or because they put it in a thing that looks like a toaster oven, it’s clean — but it might not be.”

Sutera recommends hitting the spa earlier in the day, when things tend to be a bit cleaner and sanitary — before dozens of feet have soaked in the same bath on the same day and before technicians have a possibility of getting tired. And she would skip the “Wednesday Special” (that too-good-to-be true package deal for a mani/pedi combo), as it drives a lot of business and, correspondingly, could up your germ exposure.

Also, don’t give into the temptation to soak your feet too long. “It’s a cesspool in there,” Sutera says of the foot bath. “Don’t sit there and soak in that water forever.”

As far as those foot razors that promise to shave your callouses down for sandal-ready feet — skip it. “It’s really dangerous,” Sutera explains. Going at the heels too hard can reveal deep layers of skin that should never be exposed, leading to permanent damage or even scarring. Instead, just keep a pumice stone in your shower to keep up with the daily maintenance yourself.

Don’t shave your legs for at least 24 hours before the appointment, suggests Jessica Krant, Founder of Art of Dermatology in New York City — freshly shaved skin can be more prone to infection, especially when a technician is massaging up your thighs.

Post-pedi, slip your toes into your own flip flops — and for extra safety, clean your own feet when you get back home, Sutera says.

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