1. Why is shaving calluses illegal in most states?
Calluses protect our feet from daily wear and tear—think high heels and friction caused by walking or jogging—so it’s best to just smooth them with a pumice stone instead of removing them altogether.
2. Should I shave my legs before a pedicure?
Mycobacterium fortuitum—a bacterial infection caught via open wounds that results in purple, pus-filled bumps—from infested pedicure tubs. After some investigation, it was determined that all of the women had something in common: They had shaved their legs before their appointments, creating superficial nicks and wounds that left their skin susceptible to infection. While nail salons are required by law to rinse and disinfect their tubs with hospital-grade solution after every client, it’s a good idea to protect yourself by holding off on shaving until after your appointment. Infections aside, shaving also strips the legs of a thin layer of skin, increasing the chances of irritation caused by perfumed creams or exfoliating beads used by most salons. Nail technicians urge customers to delay shaving until after a pedicure, and insist there’s no reason to be self-conscious about prickly legs.
3. Should I bring my own manicuring tools?
Are you a stickler about toting your own files and cuticle cutters to the salon? If so, you may not be doing yourself any favors. It’s more likely that someone’s personal tools are more unsanitary than salon ones. Customers usually seal their tools back in the bag without sanitizing them, which becomes a breeding ground for bacteria—even if it’s just their own. On the other hand, after each client, professional salons are required to scrub their tools with soap and water to remove debris, followed up by a (minimum) 10-minute soak in a hospital-grade sanitizer. If you’d still rather stick to your own tools, we suggest sanitizing them after each use by adhering to the same cleaning routine: Scrub them with soap and water, then soak for at least 10 minutes in a disinfectant solution like Barbicide or rubbing alcohol.
4. You should think about forgoing your appointment if…
… you show any signs of infection, such as pain, itching and redness around the nailbed, which is often caused by biting your nails or picking at your cuticles. Most cases result in swelling and pus around the nailbed (typical of a bacterial infection) or discoloration of the nailbed (characteristic of a fungal infection), which can spread to the rest of the hand and will require a trip to the doctor.