Fish pedicures may be a fun way to exfoliate rough heels, but experts are now warning that the procedure may pose an infection risk. These pedicures involve dunking your feet in a tub of water filled with tiny fish called Garra rufa. These fish will eat dead human skin when no plankton are around, so they leave your feet feeling soft and smooth.
As CNN reports, a new dermatology report focuses on an unnamed young woman who got a fish pedicure. All seemed fine at first, but a few months after the pedicure, she noticed her toenails were shedding and separating from her toes. This nail shedding is called onychomadesis, and it usually results in the nail falling off after an injury stops nail growth.
Dr. Shari R. Lipner, an assistant professor of dermatology at Weill Cornell Medicine, wrote a report on the young woman's case in JAMA Dermatology. According to Gizmodo, Lipner can't reveal where the woman got her pedicure in order to protect the patient's identity, but she said the patient has no other medical history that would cause her nail shedding. And although there's no way to test for fish-pedicure-induced toenail loss, she told CNN, "I think we're fairly sure that it was the fish pedicure."
But other experts aren't convinced that the pedicure is to blame. "I am not convinced at all that the fishes caused the problem," Dr. Antonella Tosti, the Fredric Brandt Endowed Professor of Dermatology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, told CNN. He explained that people who have feet where their second toes are longer than their first toe, called a Greek foot, may have nail loss when wearing high heels and pointed shoes.
[youtube align='center' autoplay='0']https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7EQ-C8LF9c[/youtube]
But while there's no way to know for sure what caused the patient's toenail issues, there have been some concerns about fish pedicures in the past. There were reports of a patient with a Staphylococcus aureus infection after a fish pedicure. Additionally, the fish are sometimes recycled from person to person, and a bacterial outbreak among the fish was reported in a 2011 investigation by the UK's Fish Health Inspectorate. While experts still don't know exactly how fish pedicure-borne infections happen, it could be due to lingering bacteria from the last person to put their food it in the fish tank.
All in all, it'll probably be best to stay away from fish pedicures and fish spas, or at least make sure they're clean and safe before you dip your feet in. According to the CDC, more than 10 U.S. states have banned fish pedicures entirely.
Marie Claire Newsletter
Celebrity news, beauty, fashion advice, and fascinating features, delivered straight to your inbox!
Temi Adebowale is the Editorial Assistant at Men's Health. She was previously a Newsroom Fellow, writing news stories across Hearst Digital Media's brands. Temi likes Rihanna, animal print, the StairMaster and burritos.
Four Months After the Release of ‘Barbie,’ Margot Robbie is Still Cosplaying the Doll on the Red Carpet
This time, she's in Prada.
By Rachel Burchfield
Taylor Swift ALSO Declined to Perform at King Charles' Coronation, Book Claims
By Iris Goldsztajn
What Happened to Jessica Savitch?
In the 40 years since her death, the pioneering newscaster has become an Icarus-like parable, a woman who was punished for her outsize ambition.
By Justine Harman
Senator Klobuchar: "Early Detection Saves Lives. It Saved Mine"
Senator and breast cancer survivor Amy Klobuchar is encouraging women not to put off preventative care any longer.
By Senator Amy Klobuchar
How Being a Plus-Size Nude Model Made Me Finally Love My Body
I'm plus size, but after I decided to pose nude for photos, I suddenly felt more body positive.
By Kelly Burch
I'm an Egg Donor. Why Was It So Difficult for Me to Tell People That?
Much like abortion, surrogacy, and IVF, becoming an egg donor was a reproductive choice that felt unfit for society’s standards of womanhood.
By Lauryn Chamberlain
The 20 Best Probiotics to Keep Your Gut in Check
Gut health = wealth.
By Julia Marzovilla
Simone Biles Is Out of the Team Final at the Tokyo Olympics
She withdrew from the event due to a medical issue, according to USA Gymnastics.
By Rachel Epstein
The Truth About Thigh Gaps
We're going to need you to stop right there.
By Kenny Thapoung
3 Women On What It’s Like Living With An “Invisible” Condition
Despite having no outward signs, they can be brutal on the body and the mind. Here’s how each woman deals with having illnesses others often don’t understand.
By Emily Shiffer
The High Price of Living With Chronic Pain
Three women open up about how their conditions impact their bodies—and their wallets.
By Alice Oglethorpe