Pedicures are one of the most popular pampering treatments among women, involving soaking and massaging of the feet and the clipping and filing of toenails. Dead skin is also normally removed from the heels with a hard brush.
Due to the amount of detritus created by a pedicure, it is essential that hygiene and sanitation are paid close attention to. Unfortunately not all salons are equally conscientious in this regard, and many women catch infections from pedicure treatments as a result.
Clients enjoying a pedicure may develop either a bacterial or fungal infection from unsanitary foot spas, as well as from infected instruments, such as emery boards and toe separators. Bacteria in the water can enter the body through cracks in the heels, and cuts, such as the kind of micro-cuts created when shaving the legs. Mycobacterial infections can be difficult to treat, and can be physically deforming. Bumps and boils often develop on the feet and legs, which may turn into open sores, leaking puss. It is not uncommon for women to be scarred for life following a serious microbacterial infection, and the entire leg may be affected right up to the thigh.
Bacterial infections normally require months of antibiotics to treat, and cosmetic procedures such as laser surgery or skin grafts may be needed to reduce the aesthetic damage done. Fungal nail infections are also regularly passed on via foot spas, and may also take many months to treat. Nail infections of this kind are unsightly, with the nails usually turning yellow and then black. The infection can also be passed from person to person very easily, and an infected person will effectively have to quarantine their feet, to protect other family members from contagion for example. Often the only effective treatment for a fungal nail infection is to remove the nail altogether under anaesthetic.
Bacteria can multiply extremely quickly in a pedicure foot spa if it is not cleaned frequently. Infections can also be transmitted via the instruments used during a pedicure. It is worth paying attention to how often a salon disinfects its foot spa and equipment. Where instruments such as emery boards cannot be sanitised, they should be disposed of, and not reused on another customer. The sanitary standards of staff at beauty salons are also important in preventing infections from spreading, especially washing their hands thoroughly between treatments, and wearing appropriate the sanitary equipment. Unfortunately no industry regulatory body exists to set hygiene standards at beauty salons, and as a result hundreds of clients develop infections every year.
Fish spa pedicures have attracted attention in the press since they first appeared on the beauty treatment market in 2010, due mainly to the perceived shock value of a person actually choosing to have a shoal of small black Garra Rufa fish (also known as ‘doctor fish’) nibble away the hard skin on their feet. Hundreds of beauty salons and health spas now offer fish pedicures throughout the UK. The 30 minute procedure targets tough skin, claiming to leave the feet in a smoother and cleaner condition. Fish pedicures are also believed to be particularly beneficial for those suffering from certain skin diseases, including eczema and psoriasis, due to the healing protein diathanol, found in an enzyme contained in the saliva of the Garra Rufa fish. The treatment itself is not painful or even unpleasant, with the sensation said to resemble a mild case of pins and needles.
Tanks containing up to 200 Garra Rufa fish make perfect breeding grounds for bacteria, and once bacteria is present in the water, anyone with an open wound, however tiny, will be at risk of catching an infection or disease. Most often, bacteria will enter the body from the physical contact that takes place with the Garra Rufa fish, through cuts, abrasions or open pores. Bacterial infections can lead to unsightly swelling and boils breaking out on the skin. In certain cases, a person may be scarred for life by the skin damage that an infection may cause. For this reason, salons and spas offering fish pedicures must ensure their water is effectively filtered at all times (normally five times an hour), and that potential clients are aware of the possible dangers of bacteria being present in the water.
It is essential to seek the advice of specialist solicitors if you have developed a bacterial or fungal infection following a pedicure treatment. An infected person may have to spend considerable sums of money on surgery to remove scarring, and even this may not be able to repair the damage caused. These kinds of injuries are always sensitive, and normally involve both physical and emotional pain and suffering. Contact our expert female lawyers for free advice today.