For someone who has suffered a fungal infection once upon a time from getting a pedicure, this article comes from a place of deep love.

It’s always sandal season in our part of the world, which means that nail salons are busy, polishing and buffing toes all day every day. But there is a downside to getting those colorful nails, and they are infections. One is a fungus, then the elder siblings viruses and bacterial infections. If the place you go to isn’t vigilant about how they treat the instruments between clients there’s a greater possibility of picking up something that could make your toenails more painful than splashy. Believe me, I know, after getting a bad infection a while back, your girl had to research and ask doctors on the best ways to avoid a reoccurrence. I compiled a list of rules on how to get a healthy pedicure without incident. Phew! So glad my nails are all better now.

Rule No 1.
Always go to your nail salon appointment with your portable tool set. This is very necessary especially if you can’t afford the upscale salons with good sterilizers. Bringing your own pedicure instruments is another great way to ensure they are cleaned. I always bring my own file, buffer and pumice stone to be sure I don’t pick up bacteria from someone else. The technicians never mind and it seems to be a common practice.

Rule No 2.
Don’t let them tamper with your cuticles. Allowing them to clip or aggressively push back your cuticles can let bacteria in and invite infection. Be mindful of technique, the pedicurist should wash her hands between clients and swab your feet with anti-bacterial solution.

Rule No 3.
Be sure that all pedicure instruments are sanitized in an autoclave. Don’t be embarrassed to ask them to see their sanitizing machines! Be sure to watch closely, as your instruments should come directly out of the sanitizer when they are used on your feet. Otherwise, there is no way to know for sure that they were properly cleaned.

Rule No 4.
Be sure to have the nail technician cut your nails straight across or with a slight curve. Cutting too far down on the corners can cause ingrown toenails which can lead to infection.

Rule No 5.
Be sure they properly disinfect the soaking tubs after each use. I like to visit a new salon ahead of time and watch what happens when they get new clients. Do they take the instruments directly from the sanitizer and do they properly sanitize the foot tubs after use? Don’t be afraid to ask, your health depends on it.

Rule No 6.
I am as hairless as a Chihuahua on my legs, so this doesn’t really apply to me but for those that shave, please don’t do it 24 hours before getting a pedicure. Doctors warn against shaving, using hair removal creams, or waxing your legs and feet during the 24 hours before getting a pedicure. Hair removal can cause cuts or subtle abrasions that you don’t even notice on your feet, these tiny openings in the skin can allow bacteria and fungus to enter.

Rule No 7.
Do not wear artificial nails to cover up nail problems. I know it can be a bother to be seen in public when you have those weird looking nails due to affection. Artificial nails can actually make them worse, visit a doctor instead and get the problem fixed. You will be much happier with the outcome, I promise.

Well, that’s about it folks. I will keep updating this list as I learn more about healthy ways to get pedicures and manicures. These rules apply to get a manicure as well. It’s all love from this side of the galaxy.

-Onyi Ukorah

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