Fish Pedicure Causes a Woman to Lose Her Toenail; Is This Cosmetic Procedure Safe?
Is fish pedicure safe? Photo Credit: Tracy Hunter

You must have heard of the fish pedicure that has become highly common these days. For those who don't know, fish pedicure basically is a process of dunking the feet into a tub or small pool full of small fish, usually fish called Garra rufa. The fish eats ups dead human skin when no plankton around and therefore cleans the feet off its dead skin and dirt accumulated on the feet dunked into it.

Recently according to a report in the journal JAMA Dermatology a woman's toenails started to separate from her toes and it was blamed on a fish pedicure session the woman had recently gone through six months ago. It was only later on that she noticed her nails shedding off. While the fish species, in this case, was unfound and the report also claims that. There could be a possibility that the woman had injured her toe to cause her toenail to become dead. This often leads to the affected toenail to fall off itself when the new toenail begins to grow. The medical term for it is onychomadesis, which is quite common.

Is fish pedicure safe?

A report from a case study captioned Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus foot infection after fish pedicure defines fish pedicure as, 'Fish pedicure has become a popular cosmetic procedure involving immersion of the feet in a tank with freshwater fish (Garra rufa) that nibble off dead skin. There are concerns about the potential transmission of pathogens, but no cases of infections after this procedure have been published so far.' However, the case study captioned, Staphylococcus aureus infection of the feet following fish pedicure claimed that person did suffer from an infection of the feet after getting a fish pedicure done. The report says, 'We report a case of Staphylococcus aureus infection of the feet that appeared after a “fish pedicure” (immersion of the feet in a tank with the fish Garra rufa, that nibbles off dead skin). The clinical picture was characterized by maceration, purulent discharge, scales, crusts, itching and burning sensation. Bacteriological examinations were positive for Staphylococcus aureus.'

Having said that, no studies claim that you should not get a fish pedicure done. If you want to get a fish pedicure done, you might want to keep the following points in mind.

1. Make sure it is a fresh fish pool or tub.

2. There are many natural sources of such pedicure available. Avoid such unnatural ways of getting a fish pedicure done from a public pool etc.

3. Check for the appropriate license of the spa offering such therapy.

4. Know about the fish used and its source.