Before beginning a pedicure, ask your client when she shaved last. If she has shaved in the past 48 hours, offer a dry or soak-free pedicure instead of a whirlpool pedicure, says Janet McCormick, co-owner of Nailcare Academy and a nail technician of almost 40 years. This is because shaving abrades and can cut the skin, allowing pathogenic bacteria to invade the skin and potentially expose clients to mycobacterium during pedicures. In a worst case scenario, this can cause hard-to-heal ulcers on the legs and leave unattractive scars, according to McCormick. She suggests you don’t offer an explanation of why you’re doing a soak-free pedicure unless clients ask, but if they do, McCormick tells them, “Shaving causes micro-openings of the skin that can allow invasion by bacteria, and even ‘good bacteria’ can cause problems under certain conditions.”

In addition to advising against shaving within two days before a pedicure, McCormick recommends wearing gloves from the beginning to the end of a pedicure. She says not to touch any uncleaned items with gloves on. For an example, if you need to open a cabinet, use a clean towel to pull the knob. Although the likelihood of an infection is small, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. 

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