The Ugly Side of Pretty Feet in The Beauty Industry

October 5, 2015

DIRTY PEDICURES: Are you getting them?

According to C-Health, industry experts, from foot doctors to cosmetologists, warn that just because you’ve entered a beautiful salon does not mean that you’ve stepped into a health hazard free zone.

Those soothing foot spas can contain more than just bubbles; they might be breeding grounds for bacteria and fungus, which can spread infections that could lead to more serious conditions like a staph infection, blood poisoning, hepatitis or tuberculosis.

The pitfalls of bad pedicures have made headlines in recent years, including Paula Abdul’s 2004 hospitalization after a fungal fingernail infection, the 2006 death of a Texas pedicure patron after her foot was cut with a pumice stone, and over 100 Californians who contracted infections from contaminated foot baths at a salon in 2002 and 2003.

A 2001 study published in the Canadian Journal of Public Health surveyed 120 salons in Toronto and concluded that infection control protocols need to be established for nail salons because of the potential for the transmission of infectious diseases.

The study found that technicians re-used almost all instruments, even when this was not the intent of the manufacturer. Isopropyl alcohol – not the more thorough autoclave device – was the most commonly used disinfectant. Many technicians did not wear gloves while performing procedures and most did not follow universal precautions when asked how they would react to cuts on either the client or themselves.

Robert Chelin, president of the Federation of International Podiatrists, says he’s treated many patients with infections resulting from botched pedicures.

“It could be fatal, there’s always the chance,” says Chelin, who practises in the Toronto area. “A fungus infection, certainly you’re not going to die of in your nail, but a bacterial infection – yeah, you could get blood poisoning… it can travel in your system, it can take you down fast.” read more