Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Mani and Pedi, Please ?

I have alot of patients ask me, "Can I please get a pedicure?" Sure it feels great to get your feet and hands pampered. And truth be told I get a mani and pedi, about once a year for special occasions. It is vital you make sure the establishment you are going to is clean; in the way they handle their instruments, chairs, tubs (whirlpools), etc. There are some patients who should not get this done especially patients with diabetes, numbness into their feet and hands, poor circulations or open wounds.  However, there are some hidden dangers from manicures and pedicures for even those of us who do not have these systemic problems.

In a recent article from Fox News  (http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/health/2012/04/24/gel-manicure-could-lead-to-cancer-doctors-say/?cmpid=cmty_{linkBack}_Gel_Manicure_Could_Lead_to_Cancer%2C_Doctors_Say) the UV light used in gel manicures have been linked to skin cancer. The UV light is the same light used in tanning beds which are known causes of cancer in indivuals. The UV light is used to make the gel nails harden and shine. However, over time the harmful rays may cause skin cancer. Make sure to put a sunscreen on your hands or feet prior to using the UV light.

In another article published recently (http://news.oneindia.in/2008/06/15/pedicures-harm-good-1213517160.html) Tracey Vlahovic DPM, a classmate of mine, explains the concerns of developing not only nail fungus from unclean instruments but bacterial infections from unsterilized instruments. This can reult in fungal nail and skin infection, ingrown toenails or cellulitis, a bacterial infection of the skin.

A new fad is the fish pedicure. You feet are placed in a tank with skin eating carp. They gently clean the dead skin off your feet. This is not allowed in certained areas of the country because of the concern of spreading diseases. The fish can spread diseases such as Hepatitis and HIV, especially in patients that are immunocompromised.

The best advice is to use your own clean instruments. Use a vitmain enriched antifungal nail polish to add some color to you toes. Nail polishes, such as Dr. Remedy TM which comes in a variety of colors, uses tea tree oil as a natural antifunal component to prevent fungus nails. Simple care of your feet including using a pumice stone and an urea based cream to help soften calluses or hard skin after a shower or bath can prevent the need for pedicures. They are just not worth the risks.

Dr. "Sandie" Grulke

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