Pedicure do’s and don’ts for a fabulously healthy feet
According Dr. Marlene Reid of the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA), “Pampering and grooming your feet promotes good foot hygiene, and should be done frequently to contribute to not only your foot health but also to your body’s overall health.”
A recent survey of the APMA revealed that 50 percent of women between the ages of 18 and 49 had received a professional pedicure by the age of 25.
Pedicure is still best experienced when you can sit back, relax and leave the job to the professional. However, it is import that you protect your feet from pedicure infection, especially if you are a diabetic or presently have cuts or scrapes on your feet.
Before plunging your feet into the inviting footbath, keep in mind these do’s and don’ts that include tips from the American Podiatric Medical Association:
- Get your pedicure first thing in the morning when the footbaths and pedicure utensils are in their cleanest. Or if you are not a morning person, make sure the salon cleans the footbath and sterilizes the pedicure instruments.
- Bring your own pedicure utensils to the salon. Or you can just bring those items that can’t be sterilized, like toe separators and emery boards. This prevents bacteria and fungus contacted by previous users from being passed on to you.
- Use a pumice stone or exfoliating scrub when scrubbing calluses on the heel, ball and sides of the feet. Soak the feet first in the warm water for at least 5 minutes to soften calluses and rough patches.
- Use a nail clipper with a straight edge when trimming toenails; this ensures that toenails are cut straight across. Manicure scissors and curve-shaped clippers increase the risk of ingrown toenails. See a podiatrist if you have a tendency to develop ingrown toenails.
- Use an emery board nail file to smooth nail edges. File lightly in one direction; don’t use too much pressure. Avoid scraping the nail’s surface.
- Gently run a wooden or rubber manicure stick under the nails to keep them clean. This helps remove dirt and soap build-up.
- Use a rubber cuticle pusher or manicure stick to gently push back cuticles.
- Apply nail polish if toenails are healthy. Remove polish at most a week after receiving pedicure using non-acetone nail polish remover. The polish can cause flaking of the nails due to lack of moisture.
- Apply a clear base coat to the toenail before starting the colored nail polish. This keeps your toenails from being stained and discolored by the colored polish.
- Put a clear top coat of polish every three days to make your toenail polish last longer.
- Maintain the moisture balance of your feet’s skin and keep soles soft by moisturizing and exfoliating between pedicures.
- Bring or wear flip-flops when going for a pedicure. You don’t want to smudge the polish while it still not dry and hardened.
- Visit a podiatrist if you suspect you may have a foot infection.
- Don’t get a pedicure if you have cuts, bug bites or scratches on your feet. Microorganisms in the footbath can easily enter through the break in the skin.
- Don’t shave or wax your legs before getting a pedicure. The freshly shaven skin of your legs may allow bacteria to enter.
- If you are having both pedicure and manicure, DON’T use the same tools for both services as bacteria and fungus can transfer between fingers and toes.
- Certain salons use a foot razor to remove dead skin. DON’T allow this technique as it can result in permanent damage if used incorrectly and can easily cause infection if too much skin is removed.
- Don’t round the edges of your toenails. This shape increases the chances that painful ingrown toenails will develop.
- Don’t share porous nail files, like emery boards, as they easily trap germs. Be sure to bring your own to the salon, unless you are sure that the salon replaces them with each customer.
- Don’t use any sharp tools to clean under nails. Using anything sharp makes it easy to puncture the skin, leaving it vulnerable to infection.
- Be sure that you DON’T leave any moisture between toes. Anything left behind can promote the development of athlete’s foot or another fungal infection.
- Because cuticles serve as a protective barrier against bacteria, DON’T ever cut them. Cutting cuticles increases the risk of infection. And incessantly pushing back cuticles will make them thicker.
- If you suffer from thick and discolored toenails, which could be a sign of a fungal infection, DON’T apply nail polish to cover up the problem. Nail polish locks out moisture and doesn’t allow the nail bed to “breathe.” Allow the nail infection to heal first before painting nails. If the problem persists, be sure to visit your podiatrist.