Would you consider a fish pedicure for dry skin on your feet?
Posted: May 16, 2022
Dry skin on the feet is a common problem and there are many ways to treat that but probably the weirdest is the use of fish to eat away at the dead and dry skin. A number of pedicure spas are offering a pedicure using the fish. They use the species, Garra rufa which feeds on dry skin. It has been suggested that it may also be useful for the skin condition, psoriasis. The Garra rufa fish has no teeth, so it just feeds on the dead skin by nibbling away at that dead or unhealthy skin, giving the ‘pedicure’. There is no published research on the use of this method and most of the support for it is based on marketing, testimonials and anecdotes. Some comments have been made on the soothing micromassge that comes from the feeding action of the fish.
Concerns have been raised about the safety of fish pedicures. They have been banned in several USA states and other countries for hygiene and infection control reasons. The issue is that fish can not be disinfected or discarded after each treatment due to cost, so may pass any infection on between clients. The water used for the fish can be sterilized to reduce that risk but it will not eliminate it. Those with weakened immune systems or underlying medical conditions, such as diabetes and psoriasis, are best to avoid this due to their increased risk.
A fish pedicure is not for the faint hearted and squeamish. Some of the reviews from those who have had this often comment on the creepy nature of having fish nibble away at the dry skin on the feet. At the same time the reviews can comment on just how good their feet and skin feel after a fish pedicure. If you are in reasonable health and not prone to infections or at risk for problems, then there is no reason why you should not give a fish pedicure a go if you are interested in pursuing this as an option to deal with the dead and dry skin on your feet. Just keep in mind the potential hygiene issues and take appropriate precautions.
If you are not prepared to have a fish pedicure as you are too squeamish or concerned about the hygiene issues, there are alternatives. You could see a podiatrist and get any thick and callused skin removed or you could have a go at that yourself with something like a foot file or one of the newer electric callus removers. They will at least get rid of the thicker and dry skin. However, what is really important after that is the regular maintenance to keep that callused skin down, especially if it is prone to crack as that can become painful. You may need to use the foot file on a regular basis. After that it is often a good idea to apply emollient creams every day to soften the skin and help that dry skin. The urea based creams are often good for that.
Craig Payne is a University lecturer, runner, cynic, researcher, skeptic, forum admin, woo basher, clinician, rabble-rouser, blogger and a dad.