Taking good care of your feet is a great way to boost self-esteem and your sense of well-being. If you want to go above and beyond healthy feet to pretty feet, a pedicure is generally the way to go. Whether you’re grooming your toes at home or at a salon, there are some important health tips and pedicure tools to consider.
Choose a Sanitary Salon
Going for a pedicure is a popular way to pamper yourself, but a salon can also be a place to pick up an infection. Before you go for your pedicure, make sure that the salon disinfects the foot baths and pedicure tools between clients. If you can, schedule your pedicure first thing in the morning as the foot baths are usually cleanest then. Many salons allow you to bring your own tools and keep them there for the pedicurist to use just for your appointments. That’s the best way to ensure your tools are sanitary. During the appointment don’t let the pedicurist use a razor to get rid of dead skin. If not done correctly, this technique can result in an infection, especially if too much skin is removed.
Although you may want to shave your legs before going to the salon, avoid shaving the lower part of your legs for 24 hours before your appointment. Any small cuts or scratches could result in an infection from the foot bath.
At Home Pedicure Tips
When opting for a spa treatment at home, start with soaking your feet in warm water with vinegar or Epsom salts for at least 10 minutes to relax your feet and soften the skin. After soaking and drying your feet, use a pumice stone or foot file to gently exfoliate dead skin and calluses from your heels and the balls and sides of your feet.
Use toenail clippers, rather than nail scissors, to cut straight across your toenails. This prevents ingrown toenails. Although you can gently buff the edges of your nails, avoid rounding them as that can also increase your risk of ingrown nails.
Do not cut your cuticles. They serve as barriers against bacteria. Instead, use a manicure stick or cuticle stick to gently push the cuticles back, but avoid doing so too frequently. That can just make your cuticles thicker.
Using Nail Polish Safely
Over time, dark colors of nail polish can cause discoloration of the nail. Before you use nail polish, create a barrier between your nail and the pigment, as well as the chemicals in the polish, by using a base coat. You can also use your nail polish to do double-duty, by choosing a base coat with enriching or anti-fungal properties.
If you have problem nails such as brittle nails, discoloration, or fungal infections, it might be tempting to cover them up with acrylic nails. Resist the temptation, however, as artificial nails can make these problems worse. Instead, consult your salon or doctor for nail treatments or base coats you can use to treat the problem rather than hide it away.