Tips for a safe pedicure - The Dos and Donts

Did you know that a relaxing footbath, a massage or a pedicure at a spa that seems like an exhilarating experience on the surface could also give you nasty infections?  In October of 2000, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention investigated the first known outbreak of Mycobacterium fortuitum cutaneous infections acquired from whirlpool footbaths. As a prominent cosmetic podiatrist in New York City, Dr. Oliver Zong has seen countless patients who have developed infections in their feet as a result of spa pedicures.  He says, “a pedicure is something I recommend to my patients who want to maintain both the health and look of their feet, but I warn them to ‘proceed with caution’ when choosing a nail salon to frequent.”
tips for a safe pedicure & beautiful feetWith pedicures becoming more and more popular, protecting your feet from potential harm becomes even more vital.
Pedicure Dos and Don'ts
Dr. Zong’s Pedi-Do’s:
  • Do ask salon workers how the foot spas are maintained and how often they are cleaned. Take notice of their actions while they are working on clients to see if footbaths are disinfected with each customer.
  • Do pay attention to the time spent cleaning footbaths between customers. The disinfectant needs to work for the full time listed on its label, typically 10 minutes, depending on the type of disinfectant. It is worth your health & safety to practice patience at the spa!
  • Do check your skin for infection during the days following your pedicure. Open wounds may appear on the skin of your feet and legs and can look like insect bites, but increase in size and severity over time.
  • Do visit your podiatrist or primary care physician if you suspect you may have a serious infection.
Dr. Zong’s Pedi-Don’ts:
  • Don’t get a pedicure if you have cuts or abrasions on your feet or legs. Microorganisms living in footbaths can enter through the skin and cause infection.
  • Don’t shave, wax or use hair removal creams within a day before getting a pedicure
  • Don’t get a pedicure if you have bug bites, bruises, scratches, scabs or poison ivy.

Information on Dr. Zong
Dr. Oliver Zong is a podiatrist in Manhattan's influential Financial District. As one of the premier cosmetic foot surgeons in the country, He serves as the Director of Surgery at NYC FOOTCARE and is on the Board of Directors at Gramercy Park Surgery Center. Besides traditional and cosmetic foot surgery, Dr. Zong is also an accomplished cryosurgeon and co-founder of the Podiatric Cryosurgery Center of New York. He is an attending physician at New York Hospital Downtown, Wyckoff Heights Medical Center, Cabrini Medical Center, and Gramercy Park Surgery Center.  Dr. Zong graduated as Valedictorian from New York College of Podiatric Medicine where he earned his degree, Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM).  An accomplished foot surgeon, Dr. Zong is credited with coining the terms, “Foot Makeover”, “Foot Facelift”, “The Toe Tuck”, and “High Heel Feet”.  An expert in his field, Dr. Zong has appeared on numerous national and local television news programs and has also been featured in numerous health and beauty magazines and newspapers across the country.  For more information please visit
(a press release that I received about the precautions to be taken when having a pedicure/footbath at a spa/salon)

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  1. I find this post extremely helpful considering that I'm a clean-feet-freak. To reduce the risk of getting this problem, better do it on your own... at home. :D

  2. you are right Eva; even I prefer a home pedicure.

  3. Heera5:56 PM

    Pedicure spas know what they are supposed to do, but many of them fail to do it properly. Sometimes to cut corners and other times just out of pure ignorance.

  4. Savita5:58 PM

    a good pedicure is easy to do. when washing you your feet use a pummus stone to scrub all the dead skin off. after, towel dry. Massage in a lotion. file down nails, but not round...kind of..across..than apply a nail hardener and colour of your choice. Enjoy your beautiful fee

  5. Savita5:59 PM

    a good pedicure is easy to do. when washing you your feet use a pummus stone to scrub all the dead skin off. after, towel dry. Massage in a lotion. file down nails, but not round...kind of..across..than apply a nail hardener and colour of your choice. Enjoy your beautiful feet

  6. Nadita6:00 PM

    try to make sure not to scrape your feet along the floor too much. if your allowed to wear dance shoes WEAR THEM. pointe shoes? add tissue to cushion it and prevent less scraping. also you could also put an extra layer of clear nail polish over your pedicure

  7. I do my own pedicure all the time. Don't buy polish that are in these kits as you never know how long those kits were sitting around. It's best to buy an new individual polish. Give your feet a good soak, use a pumice brush and file yours heels, you don't want those looking raggedy if your toes look good.Take off all previous polish, clip nails straight across more square, don't round off greater chance of an ingrown nail happening. Make sure you use a base coat let dry then put on a really nice color close to the color of your dress, then a top coat to keep it chip free longer. Try a french tip on a high color

  8. Indira6:01 PM

    something you might want to try would be to put a thin layer of tape on top of your toes. This keeps the paint from chipping off, but may be problematic when you try to take it off.

    Otherwise, I would just try file down your toenails so that they do not collide with the tops of your shoes every dance move that you do. If you have pointe, then wear socks in addition to your toepads (for some odd reason it partially works).

    In general try to keep off your feet and refrain from doing any unnecessary dance moves during your two hour class tomorrow. And remember if worst comes to worst, you can always do some touchups.

  9. Anonymous9:19 AM

    make sure your feet are clean and do not smell before you get your pedicure. Its recommended that you should bring in your own pair of flip flops to wear after your pedicure instead of wearing those disposable paper flip flops that are given to you. Don't worry about it being your first pedicure. It is usually a fun and relaxing experience. You'll enjoy it.

  10. unknown9:21 AM

    For a french get a light pink and a crisp white polish. do a coat of clear for the base then use the pink polish let that dry for a minute. To do the white take your time till you get the motion. With the white polish start on the left top where your free edge is and keep the brush still while you rotate your toe. (move your toe not the brush) That is my trick for the white tip.
    Lotion- any kind that is for dry skin
    Dirt under free edge- use a q-tip dabbed in peroxide. It will actually make your free edge whiter.
    Cracks- if their from calluces, get a pedi file from a drug store of beauty supply and use that or just apply lotion to them every day after showering.
    Push cuticles back gently with orange wood stick and use any body scrub on your feet.
    One more thing, get a pumice bar and use that every day in the shower for smoother feet between pedicures.

  11. Urmila10:53 AM

    "Don't use anything more abrasive, like a metal tool,"

  12. Sarala11:00 AM

    Before I have a pedicure I put a little antibiotic cream on my feet and especially my toes. I also reapply when I get home.I know this may sound extreme but it makes me feel safer.

  13. Sushma11:02 AM

    Don’t get a pedicure if you have bug bites, bruises, scratches, scabs or poison ivy

  14. DO use a rubber cuticle pusher or manicure stick to gently push back cuticles.


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