Not only are flowers blooming now that Spring has finally sprung. But so are pretty little toes of every color in the rainbow.
In other words: PEDICURE SEASON HERE!
And along with the warmer weather, and sexier footware, comes a whole host of hazards for the foot primping and preening set to be aware of.
According to noted New York City personal injury lawyer Mitchel Ashley, Esq. here’s what every woman should know before booking her first pedicure of the season:
Never let your manicurist, or any other salon attendant, turn on the bubble machine while you soak your feet.
The whirlpool jets in the foot bath can harbor bacteria and fungus. Common, and sometimes serious fungal and viral infections (i.e. warts and athlete’s foot), can result.
It can get even worse if the skin, or cuticle, is cut by accident during a pedicure. Toes with open wounds are much more susceptible to bacterial infections, particularly if the open wound comes into contact with bacteria from previous customers.
Ashley recommends that patrons look for a salon that uses pipeless equipment for the foot bath, or individual bath liners, to further protect the customer from cross-contamination with previous clients. Ashley also advises salon patrons to make sure that the salon runs a sanitization cycle in the footbath for the required minimum of 10 minutes before your pedicurist sticks your feet in the soothing bath.
And, to be doubly careful, Ashley suggests that patrons take the time to dry their feet well, especially in spaces between the toes, where organisms like fungi and bacteria lurk.
Be sure to ask your pedicurist if the metal tools she’s using have been sterilized since their last use.
The disinfection process requires soaking tools in a bluish bath that contains a disinfectant solution (Barbicide is a commonly used brand in most NYC salons).
Some salons use UV lights instead of a disinfectant solution to sanitize tools. But Ashley warns that these UV light machines – that look like toaster ovens – aren’t a great way to sterilize mani-pedi tools. Fact is, according to Ashley, sterilizing nail salon instruments properly is a six-hour process. Instruments have to be kept at very high temperatures; soaked and scrubbed well in different solutions.
Don’t be shy. Salon patrons should always tell their pedicurist exactly how to cut their nails and cuticles. It’s the best way to avoid a trip to the doctor.
Toenails should be cut along the contour of the nail — never into the corners. Cutting into the corners of the toenail encourages the nail to grow into the skin, which can cause ingrown toenails.
Ashley advises women who already have ingrown toenails to avoid pedicures and see a podiatrist.
As for the cuticles, Ashley says there is no right way to cut them. The cuticle protects nail growth. But the tissue is very thin. The safest way to care for the cuticle and prevent injury and infection is to lubricate them often to keep the cuticle soft and pliant. Then gently push them back with a small wood stick designed for this purpose.
Skip a trip to the salon if you just shaved your legs.
The body is more prone to infections after you shave your legs. By shaving, the razor creates micro-tears in the skin, which can allow bacteria to be introduced into the legs. This can cause serious infections, like cellulites, which can end up putting you in the hospital. Wait at least two days after shaving before going in for a pedicure.
Book manicure and pedicure appointments in less busy time periods.
Weekends and evenings are typically busier in salons, so try to schedule an appointment for a weekday morning if you can.
And, never opt for the “Weekday Special.” They usually involve crowded salons and quick turnover, which doesn’t always lead to the most thorough sanitization of foot baths and tools.