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Is a Pedicure Safe? Is a Pedicure Safe During Pregnancy? Get a Clean Healthy Pedicure!

clean foot bath
Ahhhhhhh, a pedicure! Summer is the height of pedicure season but we do pedicure all year long at the salon. Beautiful feet and polished toes are a must when you wear your sandals, flip flops and other open toed shoes. 

Pedicures also keep your feet healthy by keeping toe nails the right length, removing hard, rough skin and hydrating the skin. Hydrated skin is healthier skin! 

But, is your pedicure safe from bacteria, fungus, injury and harmful chemicals? 

Let's have a look at a few things that could go wrong with a pedicure turning it into a unsafe situation. 

First up is the foot bath, then the callus removal process, the pedicure tools, salon licensing, followed by nail polish ingredients and safe pedicures during pregnancy.

How to get a Safe Pedicure

Is The Foot Bath Clean?
Those whirlpool pedicure baths feel great, don't they? The problem is you just don't know how clean they are. Sure the bowl may be cleaned and sanitized, but the pipes within the unit can contain microbes. 

This may scare you or gross you out, but you need to know! Nail clippings, skin, and skin care product remnants can remain in the jets of the whirlpool.

Bacteria can then grow in the pipes unless they are properly cleaned. That bacteria can cause a nasty infection on your feet or legs if you happen to have any opening in your skin. It could be just a tiny nick you got from shaving or blister that isn't fully healed. It could also be nick that occurred during your pedicure from toe nail clipping, filing or cuticle cutting then, that bacteria jumps right in! 

Even worse, you can get a toenail fungus that lasts for years or may never go away!

Pipeless pedicure chairs are much easier to clean because they don't have the pipes with water running through. They do have removable jets that need to be cleaned then sanitized and put back in. 

It is recommended by the EPA that the foot spa is cleaned between each client in this way: 

1. Water is to be drained and debris removed.

2. Foot basin is to be cleaned with soap and water.

3. Foot basin is then to be disinfected with a hospital grade disinfectant and remain wet with the disinfectant for 10 minutes. Whirlpool, air jet and pipe-less spas must be circulating during that time.

I'm thinking this process would take at least 15 minutes to do between the draining, soaping and disinfecting. 

This cleaning procedure can be done between clients or started after your feet are finished soaking while other parts of your pedicure are taking place like the polishing. 

Does your pedicurist do this? I think it takes a lot of time and effort to do in a busy salon! The cleaning process doesn't stop there. 

According to the EPA, each night the whirlpool, air jet and pipe-less foot spas should be cleaned in this way:

1. The filter screens, inlet jets and all other removable parts should be removed and all debris must be clean out from behind and in them.

2. All parts need to scrubbed with brush using soap or disinfectant.

3. Parts are then rinsed and reassembled.

4. The basin is then filled with water and hospital grade disinfectant and run for 10 minutes.

5. Finally, the whirlpool is rinsed and air dried.

Whew! That's a lot of work. Do you think salons and spas are doing all that each night after a long, busy day?  Some may do it, but how would you know? 

We love our pedicures. What's a girl to do? Well, watch how your salon or spa cleans their pedicure spa while you are there. They should be following the above procedures. Ask questions about their night time cleaning procedures. 

Better yet, look for salons and spas that use disposable liners in their foot baths or use non circulating soaking basins that are easily disinfected. You are then guaranteed a fresh clean foot soak every time. 

We use disposable liners at the salon in our foot baths and they are great! Our clients come specifically for our pedicures because they know they are getting a safe, clean pedicure every time. 

Are Razor Blades used in Pedicures Safe?

Razor blade callus shavers, Credo Blades, should not be used during a pedicure! 

You may like the results of the razor blade callus remover but there are three huge reasons that they should not be used during a pedicure at the salon.

#1. A cut on your foot during a pedicure can end up as a serious infection, especially if you are diabetic. That blade may not be clean. The pedicure bath may not be clean. Bacteria or fungus can enter right into that fresh cut and then you will end up with an infection.

2. Callus builds up on your feet as protection against friction and pressure. If that thick skin is cut off, the feet are left sore and sensitive and that callous comes back with a vengeance! 

#3. Blades are illegal in almost all US states. Cutting calluses with a razor blade is considered to be surgery and should only be done by a medical professional. Check with your state's governing body, the state board, that regulates manicures and pedicures to check the law in your state. I'm in PA. They are illegal.

It is fine to smooth and reduce the callused areas with the use of peels, scrubs, pumice stones and foot files during a salon/spa pedicure. Razor blade callus removers are not illegal for you to use carefully on yourself at home.  You can find them easily on Amazon if you want to use one.
Shop for a pedicure razor on Amazon

Another interesting fact:
If you live in Arizona, Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington or Texas, no fish pedicures for you! They are illegal in those states.🐟

Are the Pedicure Tools Clean?
Make sure the nail files, foot files and orangewood sticks are fresh and clean for you. They are to be used on only one person then tossed in the trash. 

All metal tools, cuticle pushers, cuticle nippers and nail clippers must be clean and sanitary for each client. Tools must be wiped of debris then soaked in alcohol or other disinfectant.

Is your Pedicure Technician Licensed?
Only go to an experienced licensed pedicurist who has be properly trained knows what she/he is doing. Also, only go to a licensed salon. Licenses, for each technician and the salon itself, must be available for you to see in the salon. 

One of my clients once told me she had a pedicure by a 14 year old boy. She thought it was a marvelous idea until I told her anyone performing manicure/pedicure services in a salon must be licensed by their state. It is extremely unlikely that a 14 year old boy is a licensed operator. In PA, to qualify for the state board exam, a 12 grade education or equivalent is required.  

zoya pink nail polish

Is Nail Polish safe?

Some nail polishes can contain unsafe ingredients, such as formaldehyde and dibutyl phthalate, that should be avoided. For example, many people like Essie Nail Polish. Essie is not a brand that I use. It is tested on animals and it contains ingredients that are not safe. Here is the list of Essie Nail Polish Ingredients for you to review.

Essie Nail Polish Ingredients:
Ethyl Acetate, Butyl Acetate, Nitrocellulose, Propyl Acetate, Tosylamide/Formaldehyde Resin, Isopropyl Alcohol, Trimethyl Pentanyl Diisobutyrate, Triphenyl Phosphate, Ethyl Tosylamide, Camphor, Stearalkonium Bentonite, Diacetone Alcohol, Stearalkonium Hectorite, Benzophenone-1, Citric Acid, Colophonium /Rosin/Colophane, Silica, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite, Alumina, Dimethicone, Aluminum Calcium Sodium Silicate, Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Calcium Aluminum Borosilicate, Tin Oxide, Polyethylene Terephthalate, Calcium Sodium Borosilicate, Polyurethane-11, [May Contain/Peut Contenir, Ci 77891/Titanium Dioxide, Mica, Ci 77120/Barium Sulfate, Ci 77491, Ci 77499/Iron Oxides, Ci 15880/Red 34 Lake, Ci 19140/Yellow 5 Lake, Ci 15850/Red 7 Lake, Ci 15850/Red 6 Lake, Ci 77510/Ferric Ammonium Ferrocyanide, Ci 77163/Bismuth Oxychloride, Ci 77266/Black 2, Ci 77000/Aluminum Powder, Ci 77007/Ultramarines, Ci 42090/Blue 1 Lake, Ci 77510/Ferric Ferrocyanide, Ci 15880/Red 34, Ci 73360/Red 30 Lake, Ci 75170/Guanine, Ci 47000/Yellow 11, Ci 73360/Red 30, Ci 60725/Violet 2].

Read Can nail polish spread fungus?

My favorite nail polish is Zoya. We use it at the salon. Zoya is a professional nail lacquer wears quite well on natural nails and is free of 10 harmful ingredients formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, dibutyl phthalate, toluene, camphor, TPHP, parabens, xylene, ethyl tosylamide and lead. It is vegan, cruelty free and made in the USA. Their nail polish remover is great too! 
Other non toxic nail polish brands I like include:

Cote is fighting in Washington for legislation for cleaner, safer beauty ingredients and for full ingredient lists to be used on beauty products. Their polish is free of formaldehyde, toluene, DBP, formaldehyde resin, camphor, TPHP, xylene, ethyl toslamide/epoxy resin, parabens and gluten. It is vegan, cruelty free and made in the USA. I love Radiant Rose Gold.
Smith & Cult
Smith & Cult nail polish is free of 8 toxic chemicals: formaldehyde, toluene, DBP, formaldehyde resin, camphor, xylene, ethyl toslamide and triphenyl phosphate.  It is vegan, gluten free and cruelty free. I love the way their nail polish bottle looks! Look at these gorgeous colors!
Ella+Mila nail polish is 7 free, cruelty free and is made in the USA. It is free of formaldehyde, toluene, DBP, formaldehyde resin, camphor, xylene and TPHP. It has a cute elephant on the bottle! Here are a few of their beautiful colors.
Honeybee Gardens 
Honeybee Gardens WaterColors Nail Enamel is a water based nail polish that is actually free of 12 toxic chemicals and has no harsh odor. It contains NO: formaldehyde, toluene, dibutyl phthlate, camphor, formaldehyde resin, xylene, parabens, fragrance, nitrocellulose resin, animal ingredients, triphenyl phosphate or benzophenone-1. It is vegan, cruelty free, gluten free and non GMO.

I have never tried this polish so I don't know how it performs but it gets great reviews. Also, the founder of Honeybee Gardens donates monthly to no kill animal shelters so I certainly want to support her company!💙

Honeybee Gardens WaterColors Nail Enamel Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Acrylates copolymer. May Contain: Iron Oxides (CI 77490), Mica (CI 77019), Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Ultramarine Blue (CI 77007). 

That's it! Amazing! The ingredient list is so short. I have to admit I am totally intrigued by this product and it is on my list to try. You can't mix and match other polish brands with this brand. You must use their base coat, top coat and polish remover since it's water based. Their colors are bright and fun!

Is a Pedicure Safe During Pregnancy?

A pedicure is a great way to soothe the swollen feet that often occur during pregnancy. 

Some people say that foot massage can bring on premature labor. There are specific reflexology aka acupressure points around the ankles and on the foot (BL60 aka Bladder 60 and BL67 aka Bladder 67) that correlate with the uterus.  

It is believed that these specific reflexology/pressure point can lead to a miscarriage by increasing blood flow stimulating the uterus to contract. However, there is just not enough evidence to suggest that foot massage including this pressure point can actually bring on labor. 

I say, be on the safe side and opt for a gentle foot massage that does not include reflexology or pressure point therapy. It is safer and will still provide you much needed pampering unless, that is, you are overdue. Then, I strongly recommend a pedicure using the BL60 and BL67 points with your doctor's approval to get things rolling!!!

Some chemicals including DBP (dibutyl phthalate), toluene and TPHP (triphenyl Phosphate) used in some nail polish brands can cause birth defects and are hormone disruptors.

Granted, the amounts in nail polish are small, but I would never take a chance with my baby! Stick to the healthy nail polish brands I mentioned. Always check with your salon to be sure they are using high quality, safe nail products and make sure they are aware that you are pregnant. 

I personally would avoid any salon using toxic chemicals. Even if you bring your own safe polish with you, there are toxic nail polish solvents evaporating into the air that you will be breathing in.

Safe Pedicure recap:
👣 Find a salon that uses disposable foot bath liners.

👣 Do not allow a razor blade callus remover to be used on you during a pedicure.

👣 Make sure your pedicure technician is using clean tools.

👣 Be sure your technician and your salon are licensed.

👣 Use nail polish brands with safe ingredients.

👣 Clean pedicures are safe during pregnancy but avoid reflexology aka acupressure point massage and use safe nail polish.

My local Philly area friends, you can get a safe, clean, luxurious pedicure at Styling Point in Media, Pa.

       Have a Beautiful Feet Day! 

Licensed Cosmetologist, Esthetician, Makeup Artist

PS: Thanks for using my amazon💋
As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases at no cost to you. That keeps my blog running and supports the care of animals in need!😸

zoya eleni


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