Just say no to fancy pedicure tubs! As you probably know, I have been a nail tech for nearly 20 years (along with lots of other things on the side). I have never, ever been comfortable with pedicures – not performing them, mind you – but with the sanitation process. If you have anything at all but a non-moving bucket of water (very unappealing to the clients), there is no good way to clean them. The nicer and fancier pedicure units are, the harder they are to clean. We do the best we can with the products that are available, but if there is any plumbing at all in the pedicure tubs – any movement of water, any bubbles – it is a breeding ground for bacteria. I saw this article this weekend, and not only is it extremely relevant for those in my MRSA community, but it is very relevant for all of the rest of us beauty-loving people. You need to be aware of this danger:

From Dallas, WFAA.com:

Hall is among several women who confirmed to News 8 that after they got pedicures in whirlpool foot spas at Beverly Hills Nails, skin infections broke out on their legs.

Dallas County Health and Human Services confirmed there is a complaint against the salon.

Beverly Hills Nails manager Victoria Tran said state regulators came in and took water samples for tests that are not yet back. “But we’re not 100 percent sure that it’s from unsanitary of the whirlpool, or if it’s caused by something that they have done or happened before,” Tran said.

An aggressive bacteria can grow quickly in water if a whirlpool foot spa is not cleaned frequently.

The bug enters the skin through shaving cuts or abrasions. The infection leads to painful lesions that can last for months and leave scars.

Doctors call the drug resistant staph bacteria MRSA—methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus.

Let me tell you, as a nail tech, it IS due to the pedicure units. And I am sure that they do everything they can to clean them properly, but it is just not possible, unless you run straight bleach through the pipes, and you know how fast that would clear out your salon (not to mention make everyone sick)? If you remember several years ago, there were similar breakouts in some salons in California. I always suspected it was MRSA, but it was never revealed what bacteria it was. This is an extremely dangerous bacteria that is virtually unknown in the United States, but is becoming more common every day. Just like the old Staph infections, MRSA breeds rampantly in dark moist areas, and can live on surfaces a very long time. Along with the salon, watch out for it at your gym as well. Many athletes get MRSA.

My advice is to not get pedicures in a salon. Truly. Learn to do your own pedicures, or, find a nail tech that will use, as I mentioned earlier, a plain ol’ bowl of water. No plumbing, no whirlpool, no bubbles no moving water. I don’t care how clean you think that salon is, or how clean they insist they are, those pipes are dirty, and the salons can’t help it. Take it from one who has been there from both sides. You do not want to get MRSA.
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