Toenail Fungus and Pedicures

What to watch for with toenail fungus and pedicures.

Unfortunately, the training for nail specialists in salons is extremely variable. It varies state by state and even salon by salon. It pays to know something about toenail fungus and how to prevent it, since it can be transmitted by nail treatments unintentionally. If you have toenail fungus already, you’ll need a dermatologist to help you get rid of it.

Toenail fungus can start as an extension of the athlete’s foot fungus (T. Rubrum) from the skin to the toenails so treat athlete’s foot early and aggressively (the best drugstore cream is Lamisil).

For salon transmission, foot baths are not usually the problem. The fungus is usually transmitted to the toenails by instruments or files that have been used on other customers and then not properly or completely sterilized.

The best prevention is to bring your own instruments and polish to the pedicure. But if that’s too much work, look for salons who make sure each manicurist has two complete sets of instruments and files (if not disposable). That way one set can sit in the sterilizing solution for the full 20-30 minutes needed, while the other set is being used. A recipe for problems is the same set used quickly on client after client.

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Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

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Hi, I’m Dr. Irwin, and I believe that consumers need and deserve a medically trained and unbiased skincare advocate.

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