Young Woman Loses Her Toenails After Getting A Fish Pedicure

Pearl Mccarthy
July 5, 2018

As CNN reports, a new dermatology report focuses on an unnamed young woman who got a fish pedicure.

But her dermatologist thinks she's narrowed down on the culprit: a fish pedicure.

Garra rufa, or "doctor fish", pick dead skin from a spa visitor's feet in April 2006 in Hakone, Japan.

It's an unusual beauty treatment meant to rejuvenate the skin on your foot, but a medical professional is warning the public to steer away from "fish pedicures" after a woman lost her toenails from the procedure.

"I wouldn't say it necessarily poses a significant risk to humans, but it did illustrate that they may be carrying things which are nasty both to fish and humans".

"Being omnivores, when there are insufficient plant sources, they will eat human skin", Shari Lipner, assistant professor of dermatology at Columbia University's Weill Cornell Medicine and report's author wrote. Onychomadesis only temporarily stops nail growth, which usually resumes within 12 weeks, according to a 2017 study of the condition.

The patient didn't have any typical risk factors for toenail problems - such as an injury to the nails, or a family history of nail disorders - but she did report that she had a fish pedicure a few months before her nail problems started.

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However, routine use of the fish for pedicures is another matter, she said, and may often cause more harm than good.

"This is not uncommon in women with a Greek foot ... who wear high heels and pinpointed shoes", Tosti said, referring to feet whose second toes are longer than the first, like Greek statues.

The popularity of fish pedicures peaked about 10 years ago, but they are still trendy today, the report said.

Just how the nibbling fish triggered onychomadesis "is unknown", Lipner said, but "it is likely that direct trauma caused by fish biting multiple nail units causes a cessation in nail plate production". There were reports of a patient with a Staphylococcus aureus infection after a fish pedicure. In addition, the fish themselves can not be sanitized between each customer's pedicure session, the CDC says.

The report doesn't specify where the woman had her pedicure, for the sake of protecting her anonymity, but it's worth noting that the pedicures have been banned in many states in the USA, but they remain popular in China.

In the United Kingdom, an investigation was conducted by the UK's Fish Health Inspectorate discovered bacteria outbreak among the fish used in these spas.

Their use has been banned in some states in the U.S. - at least 10, by Lipner's count. "Therefore, we will have to wait quite a while to see the outcome", she said.

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