Going for a manicure and pedicure sounds like a relaxing treat, especially for people with diabetes who are always busy with self-management. A manicure and pedicure can help you feel and look better but it is important to be cautious about where you go and how it is done. Discover manicure and pedicure tips for people with diabetes to ensure a positive experience with no complications.

Pedicure and Manicure Tips – Know Where to Go

The first step to a successful manicure and pedicure is to know where to go. Inexpensive salons often have unlicensed technicians who are not educated about proper hygiene and cleanliness. Inspect the spa before you make an appointment. Ask about their cleaning and sterilization procedures. See if all of the technicians are licensed since they need to display their license by their station. Often it is wise to bring your own implements to the salon to ensure the highest level of cleanliness. Know the difference between a medi-spa and a regular salon. A medi-spa is supervised by a doctor or podiatrist. Well-trained nurses or assistants perform the pedicures and manicures. They follow medical cleaning and sterilization procedures. They also know how to do manicures and pedicures for people with diabetes, including cleansing, moisturizing, and massage techniques. Ask your insurance provider if a pedicure at podiatric office or medi-spa is covered by your policy. You may simply need a referral from your doctor to enjoy this healthy benefit. Have your feet examined by your physician and get approval before scheduling a pedicure. If you have peripheral neuropathy, avoid pedicures and only go to a podiatrist for foot and nail care. You should visit a salon for massage and polish only.

Be Aware of Nicks and Cuts

When you have diabetes, a small nick or cut can lead to a serious infection. A cuticle or foot cut may easily become infected. It is essential for the instruments to be properly sterilized before each use. Stainless steel implements are more sanitary than wooden ones and porous files. Some salons use new implements for each customer. Make sure the sterilized packages are opened in your presence. To be safe, bring your own nail clipper, nipper, pumice stone, file, cuticle stick, and buffer. If you use polish consider bringing your own since salons use the same bottles for multiple customers. Have the technician sterilize the foot bath before you put your feet in the water. You can bring tea tree oil and add a few drops to the foot bath which works well as a disinfectant. Let the salon know you have diabetes before they get started. If you have cuts, ulcers or scrapes on your feet or legs, put off your pedicure until they heal. Do not allow them to push an orange stick under the nail which may increase your risk of nail fungus. Schedule pedicures 2 or more days after shaving your legs in case you have fine nicks, cuts or razor burn.

Caution When Trimming

Often the technician clips your nails and cuticles during a manicure and pedicure. Advise the technician to gently push back your cuticles rather than clipping them. Make sure your toenails are clipped straight across to avoid painful ingrown toenails that can lead to infections. Advise the technician not to cut into the corners of your toenails. If you are concerned, you can clip your own toenails or have a podiatrist do it before getting a pedicure. Have the technician gently file your nails rather than clipping them. Make sure they are not clipped too short which may cause irritation.

Foot Baths

A foot bath can be a relaxing experience during a pedicure. You will have greater peace of mind if you verify it was sterilized. Make sure the foot soaks and solutions are changed for each customer. Test the temperature of the water with a finger before putting your foot in. This is especially important if you have peripheral neuropathy and cannot feel extreme heat. If the water is too hot, let the technician know. The ideal temperature is between 90 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Inquire about the type of foot bath used at the salon. Pipeless or basin foot baths have fewer places for bacteria to hide. If you are unsure about using the foot bath, get a hot towel pedicure instead. Hot towels are used rather than a foot bath.

Getting Rid of Dead Skin

Eliminating dead skin and calluses is another part of a complete pedicure. It is important to tell the technician to be gentle. Provide your own pumice stone. Avoid the use of liquid callus removers that can burn the skin or metal scrapers that can cut the skin.

Moisturizing Your Hands, Feet, and Legs

Bring unscented diabetic skin creams to the manicure and pedicure appointment. Some salons use scented lotions that may irritate sensitive skin. Tell the technician not to put lotion between your toes. Often a massage is part of the moisturizing process. If the technician is rough, let the person know you need a gentler touch. Most technicians are responsive and adjust the massage to suit your comfort zone.

Manicure Protocol

During a manicure, your hands are often soaked in a bowl of warm water. Check the temperature and let the technician know if it is too hot. Make sure the bowl is clean and sterilized or request a hot towel instead. Your nails should be clipped straight across and filed gently. The cuticles should be moisturized and pushed back slightly with no clipping. You can also clip and file your own nails and go for just a hand massage and a basic polish change.

More to Know About Feet and Hands

If you feel uncomfortable during a manicure or pedicure, speak up right away. If your concerns are not addressed immediately, walk out. It is better to leave than face getting an infection. Keep up with your own hand and foot care after the manicure and pedicure. Wash your hands and feet daily in warm water with mild, unscented soap. Do not make a habit of soaking feet which may lead to nail fungus. Use a pumice stone on your feet to gently get rid of dry skin. Moisturize your hands and feet daily, avoiding the area between your toes. Rub your cuticles with oil to stop them from cracking.

Sitting in a massage chair for a manicure and pedicure can be a wonderful way to unwind, maintain healthy feet and hands, and improve circulation. Get the most from the experience by being well-prepared, taking note of sanitary conditions, and clearly communicating your needs with the technicians. Once you establish a routine at a local medi-spa or salon, you can simply sit back and enjoy the experience.

ADW Diabetes

ADW Diabetes is a diabetic supply mail order company that is dedicated to keeping diabetes management affordable. ADW takes a leading role in offering free diabetic education through Destination Diabetes, an informational component of the ADW website featuring tips and advice from diabetes and nutrition experts, diabetic recipes and more.