With warmer weather approaching, those feet are just itching to break free from the confines of closed-toe shoes in favour of sandals. With nail salons and our favourite spas not yet open, many people are turning to at-home pedicure options to get those toes sandal-ready. To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of dos and don’ts for taking care of those toes at home:
DO – Cut your toenails straight across
Cutting your toenails straight across, leaving only a few millimetres of the white nail at the tip, helps prevent nail trauma, ingrown nails and promotes a healthy nail bed.
DON’T – Over-file your foot calluses
After soaking your feet in warm water for 10-15 minutes, gently and thoroughly slough off dead skin and calluses with a pumice stone. The skin on your foot should become smoother and the calluses should soften, but you should not experience any discomfort, redness or bleeding. Do not use a blade to remove calluses.
DO – File the edges/corners of your nails
Keeping the corners of your toenails filed prevents any sharp edges from irritating adjacent toes. Sharp corners can also contribute to ingrown nails. Gently file the corners to remove any sharp edges for maximum comfort.
DON’T – Cut away cuticles or calluses
Instead of cutting away the protective cuticle, use cuticle oil or another moisturizing agent to soften the cuticle and push it back gently. Use cuticle oil or another moisturizer regularly to hydrate the nail and keep the cuticle healthy.
DO – Use a moisturizing lotion, avoiding between the toes
Apply lotion to the soles and heels of your feet, avoiding between the toes. Excessive moisture between the toes can cause fungus and other infections.
DON’T – Use dull or rusty tools
Dull or rusty tools are dangerous and ineffective. Now is a good time to invest in quality tools. Surgical steel tools are one of the best options for your at home pedicure. They don’t rust, stay sharp and can be cleaned easily. Be sure to clean your tools before and after each use to prevent infection.
Once your favourite aesthetician has returned to normal operations, keep these tips in mind when booking a pedicure:
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Tips to Consider Before Booking a Pedicure
- Avoid shaving your legs immediately before your appointment. Skin irritation can be more problematic on recently shaved skin.
- Ensure that your toes, feet, ankles and legs are free of any open wounds or fungal infections (regardless of how small). Any area where the skin is open may allow germs or infectious agents to enter the skin.
- If you are diabetic, consult with your family physician or foot care professional before booking an appointment with your aesthetician.
- Ask the salon about their hygiene and cleanliness practices, including:
- How is the technician or aesthetician licensed?
- How does the salon clean the foot baths and what type of foot basins are in use? Non-whirlpool basins are preferred, as they are easier to ensure proper cleanliness; all basins must be sanitized between each use.
- Are all files (emery boards) and buffers single-use and disposed of after each client?
- All tools must be sanitized after every service and each client must receive sterilized tools.
- Take serious note if the salon is not forthcoming with any information that you are asking of them.
Once You Arrive at the Salon
- The salon should be a visibly clean environment—the floor should be clear of debris, dust and hair.
- Are the tools sterilized, and placed on a clean towel or tray or located within a sterilized bag?
- Does the aesthetician have clean hands? Hands should be washed before each client.
- Before beginning, the technician should perform a brief assessment of your feet and lower legs to examine for any areas of concern, as well as ask you about your relevant medical history (current issues, if you are diabetic, have an autoimmune disease and medications).
- Request that your cuticles are not trimmed as this can damage or nick them and lead to infection.
- Do not allow the technician to shave off any calluses using a razor or similar device.
A pedicure should not be a painful experience or induce bleeding. If you are concerned or have doubts about anything listed above while at the salon, do not be afraid to leave the appointment. Your foot health is paramount to a healthy lifestyle, and painted toes are not worth picking up an infection.
Foot and Nail Care for Proper Foot Health
Throughout the year, foot and nail care are very important to your overall health. If you have any questions about your current practices, or whether you should see a medical professional prior to a pedicure, feel free to reach out to your local pedorthist. Your pedorthist is familiar with reputable businesses in your area and will be able to provide referrals to other nail care professionals in addition to offering you nail care tips to help your feet be healthy and sandal ready!