Treating Yourself to a Pedicure? Follow These Guidelines

Pedicures have a long history. They began in Ancient Egypt where arid desert weather made it essential for Egyptians to find a way to protect delicate skin that would otherwise crack or ache. Their worn, weary feet needed some rejuvenation, so they created the pedicure. This Latinate word combines “ped” and "cura," which translates to “foot cure”. Just as this ancient people needed a foot cure, we still do today.

Your feet endure assaults from the weather conditions, uncomfortable shoes, and tripping hazards on a regular basis, so they deserve a little pampering now and then. However, if you are considering a pedicure, you need to follow a few guidelines. Read this blog to learn what you should do before and during the appointment to ensure your feet look and feel great while they stay healthy.

Consult with Your Podiatrist

No one understands your feet quite like your podiatrist. Therefore, use their knowledge to your advantage. Speak with them before you make an appointment to get more personalized information about any concerns or risks you face if you visit the salon.

For example, if you have diabetes or other circulation problems, you may need a customized pedicure. Ask your podiatrist to recommend a salon that will accommodate your specific needs, or see if he or she has in-office pedicure services.

Use Sanitized Tools Only

Once you choose the salon, get more information than your appointment time. Improperly maintained tools commonly spread bacteria, so ask about their sanitation practices. Ensure nail technicians thoroughly clean their foot baths, nail clippers, and other equipment between each use.

Any salon you choose should have strict hygiene standards. For example, all metal tools need to be steam autoclaved before usage. In addition, see if they throw away "soft" tools such as emery boards or nails buffers after each appointment. If they do not, you may want to research another salon or bring your own equipment to the appointment.

Avoid Razors

On Your Feet

When many people schedule their pedicure, they can't wait for all their calluses to disappear. However, do not allow your pedicurist to use a razor to remove them.

While this makes an effective method for removing the hard, dead skin you dislike, razors may cause permanent damage if the technician accidentally removes the underlying derma layer. This also raises your chance of infection, so ask for a file or pumice stone instead.

If you believe your calluses are too difficult for these alternative tools, ask your podiatrist about treatment options.

On Your Legs

Many salon-goers also feel the need to shave their legs before they show up to their pedicure appointment. Resist that impulse. Yes, your technician may feel a little stubble, but that's nothing to worry about. On the other hand, shaving can create tiny cuts in your skin, which bacteria use to enter your body. Avoid possible infections by shaving the day before so your legs have time to heal before you arrive.

Don’t Hide Discoloured Nails

Discoloured nails look unsightly, but that doesn't mean you should cover them with nail polish. If your foot hurts or appears different than usual, your body may be sending you a message.

Remember that your nail colour and texture reflect the health of the nail, so take steps to heal the problem instead of masking it. Discolouration may signal fungal infection, so visit your podiatrist to find and repair the source of the problem. Wait until it heals before you apply your favourite shade of polish. If you place lacquer on it too soon, the nail bed can’t access air and moisture, which exacerbates the problem.

Request Square-Cut Nails

As your pedicurist cuts your nails, remember that shape matters. Request that he or she cut your toenails straight across rather than rounding them. Square-cut nails prevent infection and in-grown toenails because they leave a uniform length and allow the nail to stay a little longer than a round cut.

Dry Your Feet

Most pedicures involve a foot bath, which allows you to soak your feet while you relax. This is a luxury for most people, but make sure to remove any moisture before you leave the salon. It may take an extra couple of minutes after the appointment, but this step is worth the exertion. Excess moisture promotes fungal infections like athlete's foot.

Ask for a towel or sit near a fan so you don't leave with damp feet. Be especially careful to dry between toes.

Enjoy Yourself

Now that you know a few ways to ensure a harmless trip to the salon, enjoy your pedicure. Don't forget to consult your podiatrist beforehand. And while you're here, browse our other blogs for more information on your foot health.