Manicures and Pedicures

11Mar

Do you think a manicure or pedicure is just a luxury for the rich and famous? Think again! Apart from soft, smooth skin and beautifully presented nails, there are many health benefits associated with these treatments.

A manicure is a procedure, suitable for men and women, where the hands and fingernails undergo massage, moisturising, clipping, shaping, filling and/or the application of nail polish. It can be performed for cosmetic or therapeutic purposes and is conducted at home or in a nail salon. When the same processes are performed on the feet, it is called a pedicure. The latter treatment can also include exfoliation and massage of the lower leg up to the knee.

Anyone can benefit from these treatments. Some of the health benefits include:

  • Improved circulation – massage of the muscles around the lower leg can improve blood flow and functioning of the lymph nodes. This can help to clear toxins from the body.
  • Early detection of disease – did you know that the condition of your nails can reveal much about the state of your overall health? Problems in the heart, blood, liver or immune system as well as dietary deficiencies, arthritis or diabetes can sometimes be detected through an examination of the nails. A trained professional can often identify underlying health issues and assist you in getting the right treatment.
  • Clear fungal infections – the toe nails, in particular, are prone to overexposure to moisture which can lead to the growth of fungi cells. The sooner these infections are treated, the better.
  • Mental health – a healthy mind and a healthy body are interrelated. A relaxing foot massage or some pampering to make your nails look beautiful can-do wonders for your emotional state. It is important to have healthy methods of managing stress in your life, to keep issues such as anxiety or depression at bay. A regular manicure or pedicure could be part of a healthy lifestyle.
  • Healthy skin – exfoliation can remove dead skin cells and callouses. A good scrub can also remove contaminants and dirt which come into frequent contact with your hands and feet, leaving your skin feeling softer and smoother and looking more youthful.

There are also several health risks associated with manicures and pedicures. It is important to know what these are so as to avoid salons which will place you at greater risk:

  • Infection – the use of unclean or unsterilised equipment increases the risk of spreading infection from one person to another. Since some treatments involve skin penetration, trimming or scraping nail fungus, there are strict hygiene standards which must be followed by salons to minimise the risks.
  • Exposure to UV rays – some hand treatments in salons involve the us of UV lamps. The safety of such levels of exposure is controversial.
  • Skin irritation – overly aggressive treatment of callouses or cuticles can break the skin; some chemical solutions used for soaking can irritate sensitive skin; improper trimming can lead to ingrown toenail.

Some other helpful tips:

  • Only visit a reputable salon – don’t be fooled by the lowest price, as tempting as that may be. You want to make sure that the salon you visit complies with public health regulations and that the staff have the correct and current qualifications. These should be displayed. You can also simply observe the way the salon operates to get an impression – do the staff wash their hands and clean equipment correctly between clients? Does the place appear dirty or have overpowering odour?
  • Purchase your own nail equipment – you can often provide your own tools to be used for your treatment. This way you can are not sharing with many other people and you can be assured of their level of cleanliness.
  • Don’t shave before a pedicure – the risk of infection is greater on freshly shaved legs which might have tiny grazes or cuts. It is best to wait until after your treatment to shave your legs.
  • Go natural – sometimes it is best to give your nails a break. Nail polish acts as a barrier to air and moisture so it is wise to go without polish for at least a week each month.

As you can see, giving some attention to your hands and feet as part of your beauty routine, isn’t only about looking and feeling great, but also an important part of your overall health care.

For more advice on proper hand and foot care, ask the staff at your local Chemistworks store.