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Houston podiatrist discusses safe pedicures and healthy nail polishDoesn't it feel like there's a pedicure salon in every strip mall?

Certainly does to me. That alone speaks to how popular pedicures are. My name is Dr. Andrew Schneider, and I'm a podiatrist in Houston, Texas. Pedicures are a luxury. If you get them regularly, I'm sure you enjoy being pampered and how they make your feet look and feel. Unfortunately, I see problems in the office that result from overaggressive pedicures. 

You might not give a second thought about getting a #pedicure. After all, you can trim and paint your nails yourself. What difference does it make if someone else does it for you? A big difference is that when you're working on your own feet, you can feel if something hurts and simply stop. When a pedicurist is doing it, you're more likely to cringe through the discomfort rather than say something. 

Particular care in getting a pedicure is necessary if you're diabetic. You should follow these guidelines, but to the extreme. This is because your feet might be numb and you can't feel the temperature of the water you're soaking in. You may not feel if the operator is too aggressive. In general, with diabetes, you have a greater chance of developing a problem or infection from a pedicure. These guidelines are for everyone, but especially so if you have diabetes.

First, know when you should not get a pedicure. Just because you scheduled an appointment, doesn't mean you can't cancel it if something comes up. If you have any infection, cuts, or open sores on your feet or legs, delay your pedicure until it's healed.  You should avoid shaving your legs for a day or two before your pedicure. Shaving can lead to nicks. Getting a pedicure with even a small open wound can lead to developing an infection. 

Make sure you find a salon that's clean and where the operators practice proper sanitation. The foot bath should be cleaned between each client. Instruments used for the pedicure should be properly disinfected and sterilized between customers as well. You can be extra safe and bring your own pedicure instruments. This way, you know the instruments are only being used for you. 

Also, it's okay to provide instructions to your pedicurist. You can tell them not to leave sharp corners and to file them with an emery board. You can tell them not to cut your cuticles, since they should be left intact to provide the protection that your toes need. Some say it's okay to push back the cuticles, but personally, I like to leave them alone. Your pedicurist should also not treat corns or calluses with anything sharp. It's fine for them to use a pumice stone, however. 

If you're #diabetic, don't hide it from your pedicurist. Most know what extra precautions to take when a client has diabetes. You must remind them each time and they'll know how to treat you. After your pedicure is finished, look out for possible problems such as pain and redness or discharge surrounding the toenail. 

And now it's time for the part of the pedicure where you choose your color. Be aware that not all nail polishes are created equal. Most nail polishes have harsh chemicals, such as formaldehyde and toluene that are damaging to your toenails. You may see this damage when you remove the polish. You'll see white streaks on the surface of the nail. This is the toenail drying because of these harsh chemicals. You also want to avoid shellac and other gels on your nails. As damaging as regular nail polish is, shellac is even more so. They adhere more strongly to the toenails and often damage the toenails when they're removed.

When choosing a nail polish for your toenails, consider a nail polish that's healthier. These don't contain those damaging chemicals and they often have vitamins, protein, and tea tree oil as ingredients to counteract the usual damage to the toenails. You should also use a #NailPolish remover that does not contain acetone. If you live in a climate such as we have in Houston, it's sandal season much of the year, but when the temperature gets cooler and you're wearing closed shoes, consider going without nail polish entirely. Giving your toenails a chance to recover from months of wearing nail Polish will do wonders for their health.