Fish Pedicures: Information for the Public

18th October 2011

Over the last number of years a number of establishments have begun to offer “fish pedicures” to clients. This procedure involves a small type of fish (Garra rufa a type of carp) nibbling away dead or hard skin from the feet. There is potentially a small risk of catching an infection as a result of a fish spa pedicure but is likely to be very low. If you follow the guidelines below you will reduce your risk of infection even further.

A)     Choosing the fish pedicure salon carefully

Use your personal judgement: if a salon or establishment looks unsanitary or dirty, avoid it.

B)     Before having a pedicure

There are a number of medical conditions which, if you have, mean that a fish pedicure is not an appropriate procedure for you. These include:

  • Leg waxing or shaving in last 24 hours
  • Any open cuts/wounds/abrasions/broken skin on the feet or lower legs (wait until your skin has FULLY healed before booking a pedicure)
  • Infection on the feet (including athlete’s foot, verruca)
  • Psoriasis, eczema or dermatitis affecting the feet or lower legs
  • Diabetes (increased risk of infection)
  • Infection with a blood borne virus such as Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C or HIV
  • Any immune deficiency due to illness or medication
  • Bleeding disorders or on anticoagulant medication (e.g. heparin or warfarin)

C)     During the pedicure

A trained member of staff should inspect your feet beforehand to make sure the skin isn't broken, bleeding or raw. You should remove all ankle and toe jewellery, false nails and nail varnish to ensure that the staff member can fully inspect your feet. Your feet should be washed fully before the pedicure in soapy hand hot water.

D)     After the pedicure

If you notice any bleeding, swelling, oozing from the skin or pain, heat or redness after the pedicure make sure to contact your GP to ask for advice.

Further information and guidance is available in the document below.