Infection Risks due to Pedicures

By Cesar Collado

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Pedicures are enormously popular amongst women and men.  Pedicures have three primary purposes.  While they are generally viewed as primarily cosmetic procedures, there are other primary benefits from pedicures.  

1.    Moisturizing, exfoliating, and nail polish address the physical appearance and attractiveness of well-maintained feet.

2.    There are general wellness benefits from massages that increase circulation and the relaxation a pedicure provides

3.    The primary safety benefits are to identify foot problems early.  These include corns, bunions and fungal infections. These conditions are easier to treat when they are identified in its earlier stages.

Ironically, getting pedicures can be the source of many health and safety issues.  Amongst them are contact dermatitis, skin irritation, and pedicures can expose feet to bacteria, fungi, viruses and blood-borne pathogens, including the hepatitis B and C viruses. 

Despite these risks, there is are no clear industry standard for training and licensing in the nail industry, nor is it regulated by any one governmental entity. Licensing and regulation vary from state to state.  

Robert Spalding, author of “Death by Pedicure,”  that as many as 75 percent of salons don’t follow their state’s regulations for disinfection. Spalding adds, “a huge number of people walk in with nail fungus, and most state laws prohibit them to be served, but they are served anyway. That then causes a bigger problem on the bacterial level.”

The EPA has very stringent guidelines for cleaning footbaths between clients.  This involves cleaning (removing debris), disinfecting (EPA registered for foot baths or hospitals, and soaking (for recommended times).   

I encourage readers to go into a nail salon and simply observe practices between clients.  It is important to note that liners do not replace EPA cleaning protocol and the danger (germs) linger in the jets of the footbath.


1.      Moritz, Katie, Are You Sure Your Nail Salon is Safe?, Rewire (, January 9, 2018 2.     Webster, Hannah.  “Health Risks Lurking at the Nail Salon” US News and World Report. July 28, 2014.