If your local salon gets even a little careless, you can be exposed to a host of pedicure problems. Here are some scary situations you’ll want to avoid
Many salons offer callus remover procedures, often using cheese grater-like devices (or the real things!), but this can be very dangerous, warns Jacqueline Sutera, DPM, a podiatrist in New York, New York. “When these go too deep and are used on patients with thin skin, poor circulation, or diabetes, it can cause burns and terrible wounds or infections,” she says. To avoid this, she recommends using creams specially made for thicker foot skin. “These creams have gentler ingredients like urea and lactic acid and can be used several times a week to keep skin smooth and thin out calluses in little time
Cutting the cuticles
The very purpose of cuticles are to protect the nail matrix, which are the cells that grow nails, explains Dr. Sutera. When the cuticle is cut, this can expose you to infections and damage to the nail matrix. “Damage to the nail matrix will permanently grow out nails that are thick, discolored and very unsightly,” she says. “This can often be mistaken for fungal nails.” Instead, she recommends having your technician gently push the cuticle back to remove the excess growth. “Only hangnails or jagged cuticle skin should be carefully trimmed with clean instruments
This might seem like a relaxing way to spend some time while you’re at the spa, but experts warn that there may be bacteria and fungus swirling around in those footbaths. “You can come out with unpleasant health issues after soaking in unsanitized whirlpool jets,” warns Caitlin Hoff, health and safety investigator for ConsumerSafety.org. To protect yourself, she recommends finding a salon that uses plain glass bowls (that they also clean between appointments) or individual bath liners that are removed and replaced between each client.
Treatment of ingrown nails
Some nail techs treat ingrown nails, but podiatrists recommend against letting them do this. “Ingrown toenails often have already punctured the skin and sometimes have a localized abscess or pus pocket associated with it,” says Dr. Sutera. “If a trained podiatrist isn’t the one caring for it, you could be exposed to a bacterial infection which would require antibiotics or, worse, nail removal.