The COVID-19 crisis has put lots of everyday pleasures on hold — including pedicures. As salons open around the country, many Americans may be embracing the idea of a day of feet pampering.
While there are many safety measures spas and salons must adhere to these days to meet CDC guidelines — and put customers’ angst at ease, too — consumers can act as their own watchdogs when considering a pedicure.
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Here, FN has tapped the advice of New York podiatrists Dr. Jacqueline Sutera, a member of Vionic footwear’s Innovation lab team, and Dr. Miguel Cunha, a podiatric surgeon with Gotham Footcare, for safety tips to consider before booking an appointment.
On The Surface
The virus can live on surfaces — albeit for short periods of time — that are not properly disinfected between customer-sessions such as tables, chairs, and instruments, warns Dr. Cunha. Make sure the salon has the necessary time between appointments to properly clean and disinfect furniture and tools. “We need to be concerned about the transmission of COVID on top of the infections that have always been an issue,” she advised, referring to fungal infections, such as athlete’s foot, as well as viral infections that cause warts.
Keep Your Distance
Curtains, barriers, or acrylic shields, should be erected between work stations, in order to distance clients from one another, as well as technicians. Make sure employees wash their hands and use hand sanitizer before their services.
For salons that offer whirlpool treatments, Dr. Sutera suggests avoiding direct contact with the whirlpool due to the possibility of picking up a bacterial, fungal or viral infection. For Dr. Cunha, whirlpool foot baths should be avoided altogether, as overgrowth of fungi can occur in the filters, making it difficult to clean properly between patrons. “With these jacuzzi style foot baths the infection can spread quickly from patient to patient as the system recirculates the water continuously,” he said. “Choose a nail salon that uses plastic tub liners or bring your own. These plastic tub liners cover the walls of the tub, allowing you to feel the sensation of the water without coming into contact with the actual basin that can expose oneself to bacteria and fungus.”
Tools of the Trade
To further protect yourself, Dr. Cunha advises making sure the pedicurist uses new utensils to avoid contracting any fungus or bacteria that could lead to Athlete’s Foot or Plantar’s Warts. “I also would not allow them to cut my cuticles or toenails to avoid potential infections or ingrown nails,” he said. “Also consider bringing your own tools such as a pumice stones, toe separators and nail files since this equipment is porous you cannot sterilize it effectively. Or, request that the salon use the disposable ones and open the package in front of you to ensure it was never used before.” He added, “For all other metal equipment such as metal files or nail clippers an autoclave is a must to effectively sterilize.”