Summer marks the peak season for pedicures. It’s also one of the busiest seasons for podiatrists for patients coming to us with ingrown toenails and nail infections related to nail salon visits.
To keep your pedicures safe, you don’t need to totally banish the nail salon. But try to remember the following tips to keep your summer pedicures safe, whether you get them at the salon or DIY.
Only Push Back the Cuticles
The number one cause of nail infections in my practice is over-zealous cuticle cutting by the pedicurist. Small cuts in the cuticle are an entry point for bacteria. The result? Localized nail infections and ingrown nails.
If bacteria gets trapped under the nail, part of the nail must be cut away to resolve the infection. This procedure must be done by a podiatrist under sterile conditions – not at home in your bathroom.
Cut the Nails Square
Another common cause of ingrown nails is when the nails are cut too round in the corners. Everyone’s toe nails grow with a different shape. It’s best to keep them a little longer and away from the corners.
If you start to feel tenderness in the corner of the nails, see a podiatrist. We can easily cut the corners out with a special nail nipper.
Many patients with ingrown nails cut the corners and end up doing what I call “chasing the ingrown nail.” They cut further down every few days until it is so irregular they now require a more invasive nail procedure by a podiatrist.
Don’t Get Pedicures Immediately After a Leg Wax or Shaving
The concern for this one relates to the whirlpools we put our legs in during the pedicure. When we get a wax or shave we open up the hair follicles in our legs. We can even get tiny cuts on our legs. Both are a point of entry for bacteria.
We really don’t know how clean the whirlpools are at salons. It’s best to avoid any exposure to the whirlpool with a break in our skin. If you have a concern over the cleanliness of the whirlpool, just opt out of that step of the pedicure.
Safer Nail Polishes
If you regularly paint your nails, you’ve experienced dry, brittle, discolored nails after you remove your polish. Many popular nail polishes found in salons actually contain formaldehyde, toluene, and phthalates. These chemicals can leach nutrients from your nails.
Safer nail polishes are now available on the market including one of my favorites, Drs. Remedy. It’s free of all toxins and also contains tea tree oil, wheat protein, and lavender. If you have switched to safer nail polish and still experience brittle, discolored nails, consider taking some time off from pedicures or see a podiatrist to make sure it is not a nail fungus.
Use These Tips at Home or in the Salon
What if you’re a woman more in favor of the DIY home pedicure? The same tips above apply. Remembering these few tips can ensure a summer full of sandals and summer dresses – accessorized with the perfect pedicure!