Fish Pedicure Prompts Woman's Toenails To Fall Off

A woman, whose toenails started falling off after getting fish pedicure, sheds new light when it comes to the risks of what was once established as a harmless way of relaxing.

Every now and then, people find other ways to experience relaxation to the next level. From leech facial to ventosa treatment, these promise benefits to one's health. Fish pedicure, a popular way to remove the callouses on the feet, also aims to help destress clients.

Fish pedicure is the treatment in which the feet are submerged in a tub of water that is filled with small fish, specifically the Garra rufa or more commonly known as "doctor fish." These Mediterranean creatures are omnivores, but when there is a shortage in supply of plants, they consume human skin, and in this case, the callouses.

Risks Of Fish Pedis

What used to be seen as a fun and totally safe way of treatment has been put to question after a 20-year-old woman claimed that her toenails fell off after the treatment. JAMA Dermatology recently released the findings of the said woman that it had examined and the results were horrifying and will make one rethink about that appointment for a fish pedicure.

The woman continuously experienced her toenails falling off for half a year, and that is nowhere near normal for anybody. After the examination, the woman was diagnosed with onychomadesis, or the tendency of the nails to become loose from the skin and then eventually fall off.

There are many causes of onychomadesis, including infections, autoimmune diseases, and many other medical conditions. However, Dr. Shari Lipner, the author of the study, pointed out that the woman's case stemmed from the fish pedicure, the first case of this kind.

Therefore, as much as people think fish pedicures are harmless, the treatment actually brings some risks to the customers. More than the music-to-the-ears claims of better circulation, smoother and softer skin, as well as eczema and psoriasis treatment, Lipner urged fellow dermatologists to be wary of some of the dangers lurking behind this and inform clients of the possible adverse effects.

"Tubs and fish cannot be adequately sanitized between people and the same fish are typically reused," the doctor explained.

This means that there's a possibility of infection transmission from one person to the other. As for the woman's case, it may be that the bites of the fish had traumatized the nail units that put to a halt the production of nail plates.

Photo: Eric Molina | Flickr

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