Summer is here, and everyone is running to the nearest nail salon hoping to get perfect looking toenails for sandals and other opened toed shoes! In this post we would like to take the opportunity to give you some ‘spa smart’ tips that will assist you in selecting a spa or nail salon that’s clean so you receive a perfect pedicure without the risk for infection!

1. Assess the overall cleanliness of the establishment: Look around when you enter and check to see if they have readily available cleaning products near their pedicure soaking tubs. As clients leave are they cleaning out each the tub completely? Use caution, pedicure soaking tubs are the areas in a spa or salon that carry the highest risk of infection! Are they autoclaving their tools between each client? The only way to ensure that nail tools are completely sterilized is through the use of an Autoclave (the little “hot boxes” where tools are placed between each client). Without Autoclave sterilization the tools are only “clean,” and may have lingering organisms present.

2. Bring your own tools: Many salons allow clients the option of purchasing their own “nail tools,” for which you are the only client using those tools. Investing the extra few dollars on that first visit will provide you a decreased risk of infection and peace of mind, knowing that only those tools have touched your feet. You no longer need to worry about who’s toes were being worked on before yours, and what “germs” may be passed from them on to you.

3. Ask the nail technician NOT to push back your cuticles: The nail cuticle is one your body’s protection mechanisms for keeping bacteria out. By pushing the cuticle back, you open up the possibility of infection, as bacteria can now enter underneath the cuticle. Interrupting the natural function of your cuticles combined with un-sterilized tools and dirty soaking tubs is a sure bet for infection!

4. Give your toenails a rest: Frequently taking off nail polish and allowing the nails to “breathe” helps prevent extra moisture from building up under the nail, subsequently decreasing your risk of infection by bacteria or fungus. In the winter months when sandals are infrequently worn, try to go without nail polish as much as possible. In the summer, when you know you won’t be on vacation or won’t need your nails looking “pretty in pink” for a certain event, take the polish off and give your toenails a break.

Hopefully these tips will pop into your head as you contemplate your next pedicure. It’s important for feet to look nice for the summer months eliminating embarrassment with sandals where toes are exposed, but it’s more important to avoid infection and its long-term complications!

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