Finally! Sandal season is upon us! Spring is the time when our toes get to come out from hiding from our UGG boots, rain boots, knee-socks and snuggly slippers. Are your toes ready to see the light of day? If they’re anything like ours, then….probably not. Am I right?
So, first order of business is a pedicure. But we’re not talking any old strip-mall nail shop pedicure...we’re talking about a healthy pedicure. Getting a pedicure is a time-honored way for women - and men! - to pamper one’s self and relax. But did you know that they are also good for your feet? There are numerous health benefits associated with pedicures. You just have to make sure you’re getting them done the right way. Otherwise, they may have the opposite effect.
First we’ll look at the benefits of getting a pedicure. Of course there are the obvious benefits of relaxation, and perhaps more importantly...not having your feet resemble Bilbo Baggins and his Hobbit feet. But the benefits don’t stop there. The foot massage that accompanies most pedicures can help stimulate circulation in your feet and lower legs. The increased blood flow helps prevent clotting, and is good for the overall health of your feet. Removing calluses and excess dead skin can help prevent the formation of painful pressure points on your feet, caused by uneven weight distribution. Regular pedicures can also help prevent ingrown toenails, blisters, and blackened toenails (especially common among runners).
Next, we want to stress that pedicures are not solely (pun not intended) for the ladies. Many guys are getting in on the action. It’s not just for vanity reasons, either. (Although avoiding “Hobbit Feet” is as good a reason as any.) Many spas are now offering “Sports Manicures” for athletes who are notoriously hard on their feet. Athletes know how important foot health is to their overall well-being and performance, and pedicures can help. Hey dude, if Babe Ruth, Tim Tebow and David Beckham can do it, so can you!
So now that you the health benefits of a pedicures, here’s a little primer of the do’s (COOL) and dont’s (NOT COOL) of getting a healthy pedicure:
#1 ON THE NOT-COOL LIST: Never, ever, ever stick your feet in a jacuzzi tub. Do NOT be charmed by the allure of that bubbling cauldron of fungus and bacteria. I know it may feel good in the moment, but it certainly won’t a week later when you are fighting a fungal or bacterial infection on your feet.
COOL: Your pedicurist uses a freshly cleaned and sterilized bowl or bath in which to soak your feet.
NOT-COOL: You do not see a sterilizer for the pedicurist’s tools.
COOL: Your pedicurist is using stainless steel tools that are sterilized before and after every use and client.
NOT-COOL: Shaving your legs before a pedicure. Shaving leaves tiny cracks and micro-tears in your skin, in which bacteria can enter. That goes for you, too, guys. That is SO not cool.
COOL: Pedicurists who cut or file toenails straight across in order to prevent ingrown toenail.
NOT-COOL: Cutting cuticles. DO NOT CUT CUTICLES. STOP IT. JUST NO. Cuticles are there to protect your nails from microbes. They are part of our body’s many natural defense mechanisms. It is perfectly fine for the pedicurist to apply natural oils to your cuticles and to push them down gently, but do not let them cut. Your cuticles and the skin around your nails should never look red after a pedicure.
And finally...COOL...a pedicurist who is more concerned by your foot health and comfort than how many feet come in and out of his/her door or what color polish you choose.
Some Atlanta nail salons, we endorse and love:
Wax-ATL/Buff Nail Care (Inman Park/O4W)
10Ten Nail Bar (various locations)