Should I Be Afraid of a Pedicure?

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Questions for Houston’s Foot Doc, Podiatric Surgeon, Sherman Nagler, D.P.M., FACFAS

Q. I’ve heard a lot of cautionary tales about pedicures gone wrong – should I be afraid that the warm massaging spa-jets are actually pulsing with a bacterial infection? Are my concerns about the toxicity of the nail polish and nail polish remover valid or am I being overly cautious?

I’m hoping to enjoy an anxiety-free, laughter-filled, summer afternoon, splurging on a pedicure party with the girls! Thanks for your medical expertise and advice!

A. You can NEVER be too cautious when it comes to your personal health and safety. Great question!

Firstly, you can trust the great State of Texas to keep you safe. Pedicures are a regulated service within the cosmetology industry. All salons, and professional estheticians and cosmetologists, are required by law to maintain current licensure, to follow industry protocols and to meet minimum health and safety standards. Licensing and information on past violations can be verified at the website.

Your toenail polish may seem bright, happy and nonthreatening, but it is actually suffocating your toenails by literally cutting off their oxygen and light, causing them to weaken and become vulnerable to infection. Enjoy your pedicure for a few weeks, and then, ditch the polish for a while to let your naked toenails breathe.

Read labels and carefully examine the ingredient list to choose a safe, non-toxic nail polish. Avoid choosing a bottle that contains the toxic trio of ingredients – toluene, formaldehyde and dibutyl phthalate. According to Duke University research, the body can absorb the harmful chemicals in nail polish through the nail bed. Poisoned polish, containing the toxic trio, can leave behind damaging chemical deposits in the body and may lead to hormone-imbalances or other, more serious endocrine disruption. Whenever possible, stick with trusted nail polish brands.

Do your feet need more attention than a pedicure can offer? Treat your feet to an expert podiatric evaluation at The Nagler Foot Center. Schedule an appointment online, at Nagler Foot Center website, or call 713-893-5620 with questions.