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Pedicure or Pedicurse? How to avoid trauma at the nail salon

ped-i-cure; /pedakyoor/ : noun 1. A cosmetic treatment of the feet and toenails, as removal of dry skin and trimming of toenails; a single treatment of the feet. (

Pedicures have gained popularity so much over the last twenty-five years that very few women over the age of 18 haven't enjoyed the service. No matter your age or economic situation, everyone wants to be pampered, which is the embodiment of a good pedicure. But what happens when pedicures go wrong? How can you tell the good from the bad? No one expects a trip to the doctor for antibiotics after they paid someone to relax! Over the years, I have built my business on a good solid pedi that is relaxing, effective in treatment, occasionally educational for the client's particular issues, and most important CLEAN! You wouldn't believe how many crazy stories I have heard from some of my guests about places they have been to before. Or perhaps you would.


  • Your feet will feel smooth, soft, and be sparkling in your new sandals.

  • It helps improve circulation, which can benefit the whole body.

  • By relaxing during your treatment, and closing your eyes while being massaged, your whole body and spirit feel renewed.

  • It is one hour away from reality, responsibility, and obligations.


  • If an inexperienced, or worse, unlicensed, pedicurist gets hold of your feet, the doctor visit will cost more than the pedicure. A lot more! Get a referral from a friend or your hairdresser who is knowledgeable about local spas.

  • Although it feels great, a pedi more often than once a month could cause blistering or other problems from your skin being too smooth. Calluses are mother natures bumpers for your feet.

  • Customers with any autoimmune issue, health issue such as a diabetes or pregnancy, should take extra precaution. Ask your doctor if it is safe, do some research online, and then call around with a good 5 to 10 questions for the nail specialist. If they can't communicate clear answers, just say no.

The bottom line is you need to be an educated consumer. The best resource for nail questions are professional trade publications, and, which can give you answers on anything you may have hand or foot related. Don't rely on Facebook recommendations or YouTube opinions. There is a LOT of bad information out there. Below is what you should look for in a salon as recommended by INTA/NMA: If you see any of the following violations of these cleanliness criteria, we recommend that you leave the salon and find another place for service or insist they follow these procedures.

  • Salon that does not look clean in general, with any hair or nail clippings, dust or debris on the floor, drawers, tables, or other furniture.

  • Salon is using dusty or dirty nail files, buffers and other tools.

  • Salon is using products from unlabeled or unmarked containers.

  • Salon stores nail files and other tools in a dirty drawer or container.

  • Salon is using nail files or other tools are stored in dirty or contaminated looking solution. Note: Some solutions are not transparent but are not necessarily “dirty”. If uncertain, ask.

  • Salon does not cover or place lid on disinfection containers.

  • Restrooms are dirty or unkept, lack liquid soap and clean towels.

  • Nail technicians are using razors on clients feet to remove a callous or thick skin.

  • Salon is providing services to clients with infected fingers, nails, toenails or feet.

Be wary of nail technicians or salon service providers who:

  • Do not wash their own hands before performing a nail or pedicure service.

  • Provide services that are painful or damages your skin or nails.

  • Cannot explain how they clean and disinfect their nail files, clippers, bits, and tools when asked.

  • Cannot explain how they clean and disinfect foot spas when asked.

  • Do not have a logbook indicating when pedicure foot spas were cleaned and disinfected.

  • Use an implement or other object to forcibly remove or “pry off” artificial nails.

  • Do not provide each client with a clean and disinfected nailbrush for scrubbing underneath nails.

  • Do not use a clean, freshly laundered or disposable towel.

  • Will not show you a current license when you ask to see it.

  • Say they are too busy to properly clean and disinfect their tools.

  • Stick their fingers directly into jars or containers.

  • Do not discuss concerns, ask questions and/or complete consultation before performing services.

This is just a start. As the South kicks off our balmy weather with our flip flops (another post for another time about proper footwear), pedicures requests are made

daily. Before you just drop in someplace you never heard of, step back, take a deep breath, and consider the lists above. There are good nail techs out there, all you have to do is ask!

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