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When you’re in need of a little TLC, an obvious way to treat yo’self is to head to the salon for a little pedicure action. After all, what’s better than having someone else scrub your toes and eliminate those unsightly callouses from your heels, especially with summer just around the corner?

Well after hearing this one woman’s cautionary tale, you may be doing your own pedicures from now on.

Jennifer White recently took her two kids to get their toes all done up at a salon in her hometown of Noblesville, Indiana. Only White got more than a pretty polish and soothing soak. Just a few days after her treatment, she noticed that her foot had swelled and turned a remarkable purplish colour. So it was off to the ER she went, where doctors informed her that she had probably picked up an infection at the salon.

Gross? Of course. But also scary. White was off work for a full week with an infection, plus she had to deal with the extra headache of the hospital bills. The salon is at least open to helping the woman foot some of those bills (see what we did there?), but the manager is denying any responsibility since they didn’t use a razor to slough off dead skin, which is illegal in the state.

White shared a video of the infection, which has obviously made its rounds by now. It’s pretty gruesome, but by no means is it the first horror story we’ve heard from a person who picked up an infection at a salon.

In fact, we should all be wary of such horror stories the next time we want to get a mani or pedi. So how can you avoid putting yourself in a similar position to White?

  • Make sure the salon in question uses clean, sterilized tools and that those tools are cleaned before and after each customer.
  • If you have any doubts, bring your own filing kit and ask the pedicurist to use them instead of the stuff they have in house.
  • Don’t go to a salon that uses razors to slough off dead skin; opt for ones with gentle exfoliators or those cheese graters instead.
  • If you have any kind of open cut or wound on your foot or hand, opt for a DIY mani or pedi until it’s healed.
  • Frequent salons that have basin soakers rather than jets — jets are basically cesspools for germs and infections.

As far as we’re concerned, with sandal season just around the corner we all want pretty feet. But just because a place offers a decent price does’t mean that it’s sanitary. We’d rather pay just a little bit more or do some more research and not end up with a foot that looks like a prop from Saw. Because although we feel for the woman, no amount of polish can pretty that foot up until it’s nice and healed.

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