Getting your nails or feet done has traditionally been a female endeavor - but now men are starting to take care of their hands and feet as well. I take my father for a pedicure every 6 weeks or so. At 82, I think he enjoys the attention even though he would never admit it, but most importantly it's really good for his foot health. Getting a pedicure makes you feel pampered and well cared for, and when you’re done, you feel clean and energized.
Many people choose to get pedicures before special events like vacations, weddings, or graduations but did you know there are several health benefits associated with getting regular pedicures? Keep reading to learn 5 health benefits that you might not have known about when it comes to pedicures! Most nail salons and many spas offer pedicures. You can make it a solitary and relaxing time or have a little party.
Let's start with talking about what's usually involved in a pedicure and then discuss various health benefits.
What’s Involved in Getting a Pedicure?
Having a pedicure takes less than an hour in most cases, depending on the season you may want to make an appointment as opposed to doing a walk-in. You'll cut down on any wait times and I feel it is much more relaxing. When it is time for your pedicure to begin, you will be seated in a special chair that has been fitted with a tub of water for your feet. Most places now have the pedicure chairs. It's easier for you to relax and gives the technician a better angle to do what they need to do.
This water is filtered and salinized or chlorinated like the water in a swimming pool, and it can be aerated like the water in a Jacuzzi - you will be able to have the water hotter or cooler depending on what works best for you. Having the water warmer though does help your skin and nails to relax and soften.
After your feet have been soaking for a few minutes, a nail specialist will come to take care of you and your feet. First, your toenails will be trimmed straight across, after which your nails will be filed to a rounder shape. Some doctors discourage rounded toenails on the grounds that they can more easily become ingrown; if this is a concern for you, ask your podiatrist for advice. Let you technician know anything particular that is going on with your nails or feet.
Your specialist may also want to use cuticle pushers; this is another practice that is discouraged by some doctors on the grounds that the cuticles constitute a natural barrier that protects the body from bacteria and other environmental hazards. I prefer to have my cuticles done. I wear sandals most of the year and my cuticles get dried out and thick. It seems to clean everything up. Every technician is different so you will have to figure out what works best for you.
In addition to cutting your toenails, your pedicure specialist will rub your feet with a pumice stone and/or scraper in order to remove dead skin and calluses. Again make sure you are aware what they are going to use. Everyone has different skin - so don't be afraid to tell the technician what you like and don't like. Most salons will also offer to massage your feet for a few minutes (and sometimes your calves as well), and can finish your pedicure by painting your toenails. The place I use has a regular pedicure which is pretty basic - and nice - BUT the Deluxe Pedicure for the extra $5 - 7 is so worth it!
Again check out the menu and ask questions. If you're not a regular pedicure person make sure you understand the process and what is included in your service.
Benefits of a Getting a Pedicure
Of course there is an obvious cosmetic benefit to getting your toenails done—they look clean and pretty—but there are also numerous health benefits.
Prevent Fungal Infection
Fungi often grow on toenails when your feet are exposed to excess moisture and it takes a few weeks for a fungal infection to become noticeable. Professional nail technicians and manicurists are able to identify a fungal infection even in its early stages when it is most easily treated. Getting regular pedicures is actually a great way to maintain the health of your toes.
During a pedicure, your feet and lower legs are massaged. This helps to promote the circulation of your blood. Increased blood circulation helps to prevent things like pain, arthritis, and varicose veins. Healthy blood flow also helps evenly distribute heat throughout your extremities.
Helps the Lymphatic System
The massage received during a pedicure also helps to stimulate lymphatic circulation. Lymph nodes are located all over your body. Lymph nodes filter substances that travel through the lymphatic fluid, and they contain lymphocytes (white blood cells) that help the body fight infection and disease.
Improves Foot Health
Regular pedicures are also a good way to prevent blisters, corns, and blackened toenails (one of a number of running-related injuries that can be prevented with conscientious nail care). Although please be aware that if you have blackened toe nails on a regular basis, it is very likely that your shoes are too small. Blackened toe nails are bruised toenails. They can also fall off and take a long time to regrow.
While even with properly fitted footwear this can happen - if its a common thing for you - please consider looking at your footwear. Pedicures will only treat the symptoms - not the problem. The removal of calluses on the feet can prevent the formation of pressure points from uneven weight distribution which can also ultimately damage your shoes in a variety of ways.
Improves Nail Health
Pedicures also help to increase blood flow in your nails. The buffing process not only makes your nails look nice and shiny, but it is also important as it helps stimulate blood flow to the area. Blood carries nutrients that are vital for nail health and growth. Having your nails trimmed by a skilled nail specialist can prevent ingrown toenails as well as the benefit that they have a better angle to really get the best cut.
Promote Mental Health
Pedicures can help promote your mental health. Similar to massages, pedicures can help reduce stress. Stress is the root cause of many illnesses and diseases and getting a pedicure is very relaxing - it helps to put your mind at ease. After a stressful day or week, a pedicure can completely relieve your stress, and make you feel better overall.
How Much Does A Pedicure Cost?
The cost of getting a pedicure can vary greatly, depending on the level of service provided. A simple pedicure usually involves soaking, nail shaping, caring for the cuticles, callus removal, and a brief massage, which can cost around $30 - 40, depending on where you live.
A more extravagant pedicure may also include an exfoliating scrub, hot towels, moisturizing paraffin wax treatment, and moisturizing foot and calf massage.
Pedicure Risks and Precautions
While getting a pedicure is generally safe and beneficial, there can be risks involved. Make sure you are comfortable with the location, with your technician and with the service you are getting.
The whirlpool baths in which customers soak their feet must be cleaned and disinfected between uses, and the water must contain some kind of antimicrobial agent. The place I use has bowl liners. Changed out each time there is no risk of dirty or contaminated water.
Pumice stones and exfoliating scrubs are fine, but avoid foot razors. Theses were used all the time - but there was always the chance for cuts and infections. These devices, which shave skin off the foot, can do serious damage if they are incorrectly used, but don't seem to be used anywhere I have gone in the last few years. Overly aggressive abrasion to remove calluses is also unwise. You don't want a raw spot on the side or bottom of your foot. Callus develops to protect the part of your foot that is taking excess wear. Removing all of it may look pretty, but may make your feet more sore after.
Don’t shave or wax your legs before getting a pedicure; tiny little cuts—even if they are too small to be seen—can allow bacteria to invade your body. Plus the scrubs - usually a salt or sugar scrub can be uncomfortable.
Don’t overly round the edges of your toenails; this can contribute to an ingrown toenail. See how your nails grow. Everyone is different. Mine are so curved that ingrown toenails are the primary reason I get pedicures. Prevention for me is half my battle.
Don’t let a pedicurist put your feet in a bowl of dead-skin-eating “doctor fish.” The use of these fish is illegal in many states, and for good reason—they spread disease. It sounds kind of interesting, but way too trendy - and also a little creepy. Fish eating stuff off your feet? - when do they stop eating the bad stuff and continue to eat more??? I prefer having a person do the job - it's what you need and gives you the control you want.
For your own protection and for the safety of others, don’t have a pedicure if you have any cuts or wounds on your feet. Microorganisms can be a danger found in nail salons, and any opening that can allow them to enter or exit your body should dissuade you from getting your nails done that week.
Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Pedicures
All these questions are valid - depending on what is going on with your feet, your skin and possibly allergies. Any concerns should be discussed with your doctor.
Do you think rounded toenails are a health risk? What is an attractive way for me to have my toenails cut without risking an ingrown toenail?
Is having a pedicure done at home less risky? Can you do it yourself?
Do you recommend that I not wear nail polish?
What is the best way to determine whether a nail salon is hygienic enough to use?
I hope this was informative. I read quite a few articles to compile these tips and suggestions. Many people already get pedicures but many of our customer are reticent. I think not knowing how it works, what they do or that - yes - it's okay for a guy to get one too, prevent people from trying a pedicure. I have managed to get my husband and my father to both get and enjoy their pedicures. I try to get one about every 4-6 weeks. Keeps my feet feeling and looking good. Plus it a nice pampering session!