Disinfecting My Feet After a Spa Pedicure
May 19, 2012 1:53 PM   Subscribe

Currently in the process of getting a mani/pedi at a salon my friends have been to, but I haven't. Question about hygiene.

I am really a newbie when it comes to having my nails done and I don't know a lot about the different tools. I am pretty sure the nice lady doing my toes right now cut my cuticles, and while I THINK that she disinfected her tools before starting with me, I am not
100% positive.

What can I do once I get home that could mitigate any potential infections? Would dousing my feet in rubbing alcohol be sufficient? None of my friends have ever mentioned having problems with this location but I am paranoid about my health so I just want to make sure I make the best of an ambiguous situation. The last spa I went to seemed hyper clean and great but they burned me badly during a deluxe massage so my sense of what makes for a good spa is sort of off.

posted by iLoveTheRain to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Rubbing alcohol and/or a good wash with warm water and soap couldn't hurt. And FWIW, I would worry way more about the germs on your hands then the germs on your feet (I got the worst bug after a manicure once, I'm certain I must've caught something at the salon), so definitely use anti-bac and wash those hands ASAP, too.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:56 PM on May 19, 2012

A good wash of your hands and feet should do it, pretty much; you can use some hand sanitizer as well.

Next time you go to a salon, ask about their disinfecting procedures up front. Reputable salons will discuss their barbicide and autoclaves with you. (If you are hyper concerned, there are salons that will, eg, show you the sealed packets from the autoclave before they open them to use the tools on you. I've had pretty good luck finding information about which salons do that kind of thing on Yelp.)
posted by shamash at 2:16 PM on May 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'm not a doctor, but based on my knowledge of immunology, I would not worry about it at all.

To get number 1. out of the way quickly, your burn experience is in a slightly different vein - everybody has different sensitivities. My masseuse is always surprised at how hot I'll take my towels and after peels so harsh my aesthetician said I would be pink for the entire day I walked out of the spa already back to my normal color. I'm not saying you didn't get hurt, only that "too hot" or "too cold" are subjective terms.

"Disinfection" and "sterilization" are not.

2. Unless they actually cut your skin to the point of bleeding (OR you are suffering from an immune deficiency/taking drugs that make you most susceptible to fungal infections) I still wouldn't worry. Your skin (as a structure) and the bacteria on it make up part of your immune system that very few microbes are able to penetrate.

Using hard scrubs, antibacterial soaps, and alcohol unnecessarily, however, can reduce the numbers of the mutualistic (i.e. good) bacteria as well as increase the dryness of your skin, both of which will make you MORE susceptible to infection, even from non-salon places.

3. If they put your hands and feet under UV light (omg so bad for your skin...but some salons use it anyway....) that would also reduce your risk of infection, as microbes die more quickly from UV radiation than humans.

So if you bled, I would worry....but if not, I'd be pretty chill (I am SUPER germaphobic, but I still don't really care about salon stuff)
posted by Lt. Bunny Wigglesworth at 5:33 PM on May 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

I get a LOT of mani/pedi's, and I've always seen them taking the tools out of sealed bags to indicate that the tools have obviously been sterilized beforehand. Of course, I have a favorite place now, so I wasn't even a bit concerned when they cut a toe cuticle and it bled. If you're really freaking out about it, you could always call them tomorrow and ask how they sterilize their tools or check on Yelp.
posted by twiggy32 at 12:28 AM on May 20, 2012

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