When going to a salon for a pedicure it's important to go through this mental checklist before sitting back and putting the health of your feet in the hands of someone else:
- Is the salon licensed?
- Do the nail technicians/pedicurists have their licenses displayed?
- Does the footbath/whirlpool area appear clean and sanitary?
- Is the water emptied after each use?
- Is the footbath disinfected after each use?
- Are the instruments used for the pedicure cleaned and disinfected?
- Are disposable items thrown out after each use?
- Did the pedicurist properly ask you about the health of your feet before beginning?
- Does the salon have sufficient ventilation?
- Were you given your own foot towel?
Skin infections, usually caused by microorganisms that survive and breed in the warm water of the footbath can occur. You can tell if you've developed an infection if small wounds, that at first look like insect bites, break out on your feet and legs. Open cuts, abrasions and sores on the feet make it more likely for an infection to occur if there are any little bugs lurking in the water. This is why it is very important to not go for a pedicure with any kind of wound on your foot. If you're not certain about whether you should go for a pedicure, ask a trusted pedicurist.
Care of your cuticles, also known as the eponychium -- the living layer of skin cells that lay on your nail bed -- is mainly an aesthetic issue and the matter of personal preference. Some prefer to keep their cuticles trimmed very low. Others think that cutting into the cuticle is dangerous because of the risk of cutting too deep and causing an infection. Some states have passed laws making it illegal for salons to cut the eponychium. Pesty overgrown cuticles can instead be manicured by pushing them back with an orange stick after a good foot soaking.
We've now gone over the ins and outs of pedicures, but there's still lots more information out there. Click on through for links to some great Web resources.