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5 things to look out for during your next pedicure

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Proceed with caution at your next spa day.

Manicures and pedicures, while meant to be relaxing, can actually cause more harm than good. If a nail salon isn't taking proper sanitary precautions, the bowl you're soaking your feet in could be a breeding ground for fungus, bacteria, and viruses.

If you see any of the following at your go-to pedicure place, get out of there ASAP:

1. The entire salon is a mess. The establishment should be clean (and in this case, clean means spotless). You shouldn't see dust bunnies hiding out in the corners, old nail clippings on the technician's desk, or streaks on the mirror. A tidy salon is indicative of overall cleanliness.

2. The nail technicians aren't wearing gloves. A survey by NAILS magazine shows that only 17 percent of nail techs wear gloves (eek!). The United States Department of Labor recommends that manicurists wear gloves and avoid clients with cuts, open wounds/sores, blisters, or visibly infected skin on their hands, feet, or nails to prevent the spread of disease and bacteria.

3. The footbaths don't have liners. Depending on the location, one technician can see anywhere from five to 50 clients per week. That's a LOT of feet. Individual bath liners that are changed after each pedicure can ensure there's no cross-contamination of germs between clients.

4. There's no autoclave. Keep your eyes peeled for this sterilization device, which is guaranteed to kill 100 percent of infective organisms using high pressure and steam. If there's no autoclave, but the nail tech is using tools that were previously soaking in a blue liquid disinfectant (like Barbicide), you should be safe. If you have any concerns, don't be afraid to ask how the salon disinfects their tools or that they open a single-use tool in front of you.

5. The nail technician isn't licensed. The survey by NAILS magazine shows that five percent of people performing manicures and pedicures have no license at all. Most states require a license, usually from a cosmetology school. This license should be displayed on the wall or at the tech's desk and is proof that the manicurist has completed training in safety, sterilization, sanitation, and personal hygiene.

While serious infections and injuries from frequent pedicures are uncommon and unlikely in the average healthy person, it's important to keep your health and well-being at the forefront of your beauty routine. After a pedicure, keep an eye out for symptoms like:

  • A change in skin color
  • Your foot feels warm to the touch
  • Blisters or warts that become infected or leak pus
  • Toenail discoloration or fungus
  • Swelling of the foot


If you suspect you have an infection from a pedicure, see your physician immediately.

Have you suffered a severe injury or infection from a nail salon? The experienced personal injury lawyers at Thomas J. Henry are available 24/7 to hear your case. Contact them at 877-978-1740 or www.thomasjhenry.com for a free consultation.

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