Know what not to do at your next pedicure so you don't put your feet in danger!Getting a pedicure can be a great way to pamper your aching feet, but it can also open you up to a world of problems. You've got to take extra care during a salon pedicure to keep yourself (and your feet) safe from infection.  

In clean salons, some procedures are completely safe. But, no matter how clean the salon, there are some procedures that will never be risk-free. Here are the procedures you should avoid in public places. 


Four Pedicure Procedures You Should Always Refuse

1. Callus removal

You should never allow a pedicurist to scrape off a callous (especially if you have diabetes.) If scraping goes too deep, it can cause burns or infections, so go for a safer option like lotions will smooth out skin safely over time.

2. Cuticle cutting

Cuticles actually serve a purpose: protecting your nail bed. If removed, you’re once again opening yourself up to infection. Just ask your pedicurist to push the cuticle back, instead. Or better yet, leave your cuticle alone entirely. Even a gentle push back leaves more of your nail bed exposed to the germs that you want to avoid. 

3. Spa Baths

Whirlpools for your feet, while relaxing, are only safe if properly sanitized—and there’s no way to know how good a job your salon has done. Only soak your feet in plain glass bowls or in tubs fitted with disposable liners. Otherwise, you’re basically soaking in a pool of bacteria and fungus.

4.  Ingrown nail treatments

A spa technician is not—I repeat NOT—a valid stand in for your podiatrist. They are not trained to safely treat your ingrown nails and should never be allowed to do so. Period.

Now that you know when to "just say no" at the nail salon, check out a few more tips for keeping your feet safe during a pedicure. 

Top Tips for Safe and Pretty Pedicures

After you've refused the most dangerous pedicure procedures, make sure you:  

  1. Tell your pedicurist to trim your nails at the corners—instead, ask him or her to trim them straight across, or with a slight curve. This will help lower your risk of getting an ingrown toenail.
  2. Bring your own (brand new) pedicure kit from home. This is the best way to ensure your equipment has been properly sterilized, so you can help avoid fungal contamination.
  3. Avoid the salon altogether if you have diabetes—even a small nick during the pedicure could cause a major infection that could, ultimately, result in the development of an ulcer. Leave the foot care to your podiatrist and just get your polish applied at the salon if you still feel the need. Bonus points if you opt for a color from Dr. Remedy's line of nourishing polishes. Not sure where to pick up a bottle? We've got you covered! We carry many of the polishes in our office, and if there's a color you want that we don't have, just mention it at the desk and we can order you the polish you want!

Safe Home Pedicures 

Guess what? Scoring a safe and awesome home pedicure is actually really easy. And you never have to worry about dirty equipment. Germ filled spa tubs. Or, you know, global pandemics...

Ready to jump on the home pedicure bandwagon? Awesome! Check out my video at the bottom of this page. And also, let's talk about the rough skin on your feet. As you'll hear on the video, you have to be careful about remmoving rough skin from your feet. That's why I never recommend sharp, at-home callous removers. These tools can cut your skin too deeply. Which means you could accidentally cut into healthy skin. If that happens, your feet may start to bleed, and you'll open yourself up to new infections. 

One better option? Pumice stones, since they gently smooth out harder areas of skin. But they can't cut off healthy skin, or make you bleed. But if, like me, you're always after the hot new products, then check out a home pedicure magic product I just read about on Creams can help you hydrate and pamper your feet, even if you apply them yourself

It's called the Richanna EZ Foot Peel. It's a gel-based foot exfoliater (which means it gets rid of dead skin on your feet. Leaving behind the soft, smooth skin you love to show off in summer sandals.) And it solves alot of the problems I worry about with pedicures. 

Instead of rubbing or cutting away your hard skin, this products sloughs it off using a plant-based cream exfoliator. It's cream base also hydrates your feet, which is important. And, if you follow up with a cream moisturizer, you can hel avoid dry, cracked heels! (Remember: always choose creams over lotions. They are better for hydration)

Now, you may have a hard time buying this exact product. Because it sold 26,000 bottles in just one day. But here's the good news: you can get similar effects with that pumice stone and a great cream moisturizer. 

But, if you're worried about your toenail health, or already have dry, cracked heels, don't try to heal yourself alone. Come and see me ASAP for restorative foot or nail treatments. Together, we can help your feet look healthy and beautiful once again. So you can get back to your favorite spa treatments--at home or out in the world! 


Dr. Andrew Schneider
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A podiatrist and foot surgeon in Houston, TX.
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