Fish pedicures may be a fun way to exfoliate rough heels, but experts are now warning that the procedure may pose an infection risk. And although there's no way to test for fish-pedicure-induced toenail loss, she told CNN, "I think we're fairly sure that it was the fish pedicure". Doctors were able to discover the reason for why this happened, a fish pedicure she received six months prior. As a result, people may see deep grooves that run horizontally across their nails - known as Beau lines - or they may see larger gaps where there is no nail, the AAD said.
Fish pedicures involve having small fish nibble on a person's feet while they soak in a tub of warm or room temperature water. The fish used in this treatment are toothless carp fish, which are plant eaters and eat the dead human skin. Onychomadesis only temporarily stops nail growth, which usually resumes within 12 weeks, according to a 2017 study of the condition.
Lipner diagnosed onychomadesis - a not-uncommon condition that's most often linked to underlying major illness or certain medications.
Fish pedicures have boomed since the first USA fish spa opened in Virginia in 2008, Lipner claims in the paper, due to what she calls "unfounded claims" that the treatment leaves feet smoother and less pungent, removes bacteria and fungus and increases circulation.
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The popularity of fish pedicures peaked about 10 years ago, but they are still trendy today, the report said.
"First, tubs and fish can not be adequately sanitized between people", Lipner said, "with the same fish typically reused for several persons". In addition, the fish themselves can not be sanitized between each customer's pedicure session, the CDC says. According to Gizmodo, Lipner can't reveal where the woman got her pedicure in order to protect the patient's identity, but she said the patient has no other medical history that would cause her nail shedding. So, there's concern that the pedicures might spread infections. Spas can also mistake the toothy chinchin fish, which draws blood, for the doctor fish, further increasing the risk of infection, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
"This case highlights the importance of skin and nail problems associated with fish pedicures and the need for dermatologists to educate our patients about these adverse effects", the report concludes.
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.