HEALTHY IS BEAUTIFUL SERIES
TOPIC OF THE WEEK: PEDICURES
Summer is my favorite time of year! Time to let the toes out! I love setting my feet free from the confines of shoes. Most people don’t give much thought to their feet but they really take a lot of wear and tear. Think about it, every day you get up and walk around without a thought as to what your poor feet go through to support the weight of your body. If you have ever had a foot injury you can probably understand this more than most. I know that my car accident gave me a new appreciation for my feet and the realization that I needed to take care of them.
Usually after having your feet trapped in shoes all winter long, there tends to be a buildup of dead skin. These callouses form to protect your feet from where your shoes rub against them. Whether you choose to get one in the spa or do it yourself at home, pedicures are a great way to keep your feet healthy & pampered. Check out these tips below for the Perfect Pedi!
PAMPER WITH A PEDICURE
Let me start this section by saying that I love pedicures. I love the massaging chair that you get to sit in, the glass of wine & plate of snacks that I get served all while having my feet & calves massaged…it is the ultimate in pampering experiences. For many centuries having well-manicured hands & feet has been a sign of wealth & privilege. Here is a link to an interesting article on the history of pedicures.
Pedicures in our times are much different from the ones in the days of old. Servants would come to your chamber and give your feet personal attention, sometimes even with happy endings. Since salons now a days are designed to get people in and out of the “chair” as fast as possible, important disinfecting procedures are not usually followed.
AT HOME PEDI
Giving yourself a pedicure at home is a great way to save money and protect yourself from the bacteria & fungi lurking in most salons.
Perfect Pedi Steps:
- Soak. Soaking your feet for 10 minutes will help to soften any dry skin and cuticles. Here is a simple detox foot soak recipe from one of my favorite bloggers Wellness Mama. Click on the photo below for seven more natural foot soak recipes.Source: http://www.naturallivingideas.com/7-foot-soak-recipes-to-re-energize-re-invigorate/
- Cut & File. Cut your toe nails straight across with a large nail clipper and don’t cut them too low. This will avoid painful ingrown toenails. File with emery board to shape and smooth edges. Here is a video on how to properly cut your toenails.
- Remove Dry Skin. Use a pumice stone to remove callouses then use a foot scrub to remove any remaining dry skin. You can make a simple foot scrub using 1 part sugar or salt and 1 part olive oil. If you want to get fancier here is a link to some more DIY scrub recipes. Source: http://www.amazon.com/Premium-Natural-Lava-Pumice-Stone/dp/B0147DY2L8
- Moisturize. This is the most important step in the whole process if you want to keep smooth, soft feet. Apply a liberal amount of natural butter or oil and massage into feet. Then put on a pair of thick socks to help it soak into your skin. Leave the socks on for a minimum of 10-15 minutes. I make an amazing natural Peppermint Foot Cream that soothes, cools & moisturizes sore, tired feet.
- Polish. It really is healthier to go polish-less as most polishes contain TPHP, an endocrine disruptor. Please take your time to read this article about the findings by Duke University on the effects of TPHP. That being said, I do understand how pretty it feels to have a nice bright hue on your newly pampered toes. If you do decide to go with polish here is a great blog on finding less toxic nail polish brands and another on how to perfectly polish your toenails.
Being pampered in the salon is great if they follow all of the proper procedures to make sure that everything is sanitized. Make sure you ask the owner about the cleaning procedures. You can also watch to see what happens when each person leaves the chair. Did they take apart the foot bath components and sterilize for at least 10 minutes? Did the tools get sanitized? Probably not…check out these other tips to consider when going to the salon.
- Make Sure Tools Are Sterilized. Barbicide is often used in salons to sterilize metal tools, you’ve probably seen that blue cool-aid colored liquid on each manicure station. Please note that plastic or wooden tools should not be reused, this includes nail files as they cannot be sterilized. It is best to bring your own non-metal tools to be safe. Simply have a small container with all of your tools and bring to each session, that way when you get home you can ensure that they are cleaned properly. I have even seen some salons that keep a box of tools for all of their regular clients. (3)
- Don’t Turn On the Bubbles! While the pedicure chairs may be cozy, the whirlpool jets are not easy to properly clean quickly. While it is optimal to sanitize the jets after each client, it never happens, remember how important turn-over is to profit in the salon industry. Since they are not often sterilized they can harbor bacteria & fungus. (3)
- Wait at least 48 hours after shaving. Your skin is a protective layer designed to keep bacteria & fungi out of the body. Each time you shave your legs, it causes microtears in the skin. These tears that are often unseen, can allow infectious disease into your skin. (4)
- Don’t Cut Cuticles. Cuticles protect your nail bed from infection from bacteria & fungi. While it may appear “neater” at the time, cut cuticles tend to grow back faster. There is also a chance of cutting more than just your cuticle. If you have ever had that happen, you know how extremely painful that can be. (1)
- Bring your own products. In my teens & 20’s I always had issues with the foot soaks, scrubs & lotions that salons used. They left my skin dry and irritated. I always attributed this to having sensitive skin. Now I know that most, if not all commercially produced products are laden with toxic chemicals. Especially the ones that are purchased in bulk and have an unlimited shelf-life. This however is a very easy problem to remedy. Simply make your own. You can use the same recipes from the At Home Pedi section above. If you don’t have time to make your own, make sure you take a product that you can read the ingredient label on.
- “Foot Hygiene: 3 Reasons Why You Should Never, Ever Cut Your Cuticles.”SteriShoe. N.p., 21 Apr. 2014. Web. 24 May 2016.
- “History Of Pedicure.”US Pedicure Spa. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 May 2016.
- Oliver, Dana. “5 Dangers Awaiting You At The Nail Salon.”The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, n.d. Web. 24 May 2016.
- “Pedicure Safety Tips.”com. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 May 2016.