The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continue to warn the public about nail salon pedicures, particularly the risks surrounding foot baths and the use of improperly sterilized tools. According to a 2017 report available on the CDC website, outbreaks of skin infections on the legs and feet of patrons following pedicures have caused concern about the safety of foot spas. The CDC reports that some incidents of foot infections have been caused by various types of bacterial organisms that can thrive in foot baths and spas and form dense layers of cells and proteins called biofilms—which can be very difficult to remove.
Warm and moist environments like nail salon foot baths are the perfect breeding ground for the transmission of bacteria, fungus, viruses and other, even more dangerous pathogens. Unfortunately, these health risks are not widely known among the millions of women who regularly visit their nail salon for a well-deserved pedicure and some pampering.
If you currently have, or are treating, a nail infection, treatment alone will not be enough if you continue using unsanitary tools and footbaths.
Pedicure tools that are inadequately sterilized or re-used can expose salon clients to a host of health risks. “Unless you bring your own tools and accessories to the nail salon, each time you have a pedicure, you are putting yourself at risk for contracting a nail fungus, warts, athlete’s foot, MRSA, HPV, and more,” notes Robert Spalding, a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine who has lectured and written extensively on the health risks associated with salon pedicures.