Fish Pedicure Banned – Good News or Bad?
Florida stops fish pedicures
SARASOTA COUNTY, FL – A popular way to get a pedicure is now banned in the state of Florida. Ladies have been lining up for fish pedicures, but now the Board of Cosmetology has put a stop to it.
It’s Gina Dello’s day off, and there is only one reason she came to AJ’s Salon and Spa — to get a fish pedicure. “It just sounded like something unusual and weird, and it’s my day off, and I thought I would try it…but no more.”
Fish Pedicures: Are They Good for Your Feet?
Thepractice of pedicures using fish involves placing feet in a tub of water containing Garra rufa fish, also known as doctor fish. These fish originate from lakes and rivers in Asia and the Middle East. The premise is that the fish will nibble away at dead skin on the feet, providing an exfoliating effect. Proponents believe this process results in smoother, softer skin. A typical pedicure session runs between 10 and 30 minutes.
Some proponents claim they provide a pampering spa-like treatment for feet. The fish gently remove rough, dry skin, potentially providing therapeutic effects similar to a foot scrub. There is some limited evidence that fish pedicures may help reduce scaling and inflammation associated with the skin condition psoriasis.
However, experts have raised important health and hygiene concerns regarding use fish for pedicures. There are risks of transmitting infections between customers if the fish and tubs are not properly disinfected after every use. Documented infections associated with fish pedicures include Staphylococcus and Mycobacterium. Individuals with open cuts or wounds on their feet may be at particular risk.
In light of these risks, health professionals advise against these kind pedicures, instead recommending safer foot soaking and scrubbing options for softening skin. There are also concerns regarding potential harm to the fish themselves and risks of releasing non-native species into local ecosystems through improper disposal.
While novel in nature, these kind of pedicures are not recommended by health experts due to risks of infection and ecological damage with this fish. Safer pedicure options that do not involve live fish can provide similar smoothing and moisturizing skin benefits without the associated risks. In summary, the documented health and environmental risks outweigh the purported benefits of this practice.
While these pedicures sound neat and unique, doctors do not recommend them because of health and safety worries. Safer pedicures that don’t use live fish are a better choice for soft and healthy feet. What do you think the benefits of fish pedicure – would you soak your feet in a tank of nibbly fish?
The Florida Board of Cosmetology banned the pedicures. “The main issue is the requirement to clean the utensils between customers, and that’s not something they felt could be done when using a live animal.” Plus there’s a state rule that prohibits animals or pets in cosmetology salons.
At AJ’s, the owner said he did 200 pedicures a week. People paid $35 to have fish eat off their feet. “It helped my business, especially in recession time, it really helped. But law is law. We cannot break law, so we shut it down,” says Johnny Tran of AJ’s Salon and Spa.
Tran’s Sarasota County salon was actually the first in the state to offer the fish pedicures, but the owner says these tiny carp have been around for centuries. They were used in ancient Asia to help cure Psoriasis.
Now the fish will be sent back to the supplier, and the custom-made tanks are empty. And the owner of AJ’s says he’ll just have to look for another way to catch the attention of customers.
State regulators say salons have to stop doing the pedicures immediately. Inspectors will be looking for violators. They say they don’t think there were health risks with the fish pedicures, but banned them just to be safe.
Note: Last year Spavelous warned spa owners not to invest in expensive equipment prior to checking with the state on their regulations. Read Garra Ruffa Article
The Unique Nature of Garra Rufa (Doctor Fish)
Garra Rufa, more commonly known as doctor fish, are a species of fish originating in Turkey. These small cyprinids are characterized by their subterminal mouths adapted for surface feeding and scraping.
Doctor fish inhabit cool, fast-flowing rivers and streams, where they feed on algae, plankton, and detritus. Their reddish-brown coloration helps them camouflage against the rocky bottoms of their native waters.
What makes Garra Rufa unique is their tendency to feed on dead human skin. The fish gently suck and nibble at the tissue without damaging living skin. This natural exfoliating effect led to the practice of “fish pedicures” – placing feet in doctor fish tanks to remove calluses and rough skin.
While considered an unproven cosmetic treatment, Garra Rufa fish pedicures raised ecological concerns about introducing non-native species. Countries like the United States banned the use of doctor fish due to risks of infection and release into local ecosystems.
Regardless of their disputed use in skin care, Garra Rufa remain a fascinating species of fish perfectly adapted to their specialized feeding niche in nature. Their unique biological traits and global introduction provide insights into the ecology of organisms and their interactions with humans.
Top Pedicure Treatments at Salons
Getting a pedicure is a relaxing self-care ritual. Salons offer a wide array of pampering pedicure choices to leave your feet looking and feeling silky smooth. Here are some of the most popular pedicure treatments you can request during your next salon visit:
Traditional Pedicure The classic pedicure includes trimming, shaping, and polishing nails and callus removal. It provides a thorough clean-up of feet. Many salons include a soothing foot massage and moisturizing mask or paraffin wax treatment to rehydrate skin.
Gel Pedicure A gel manicure for the feet, this includes applying a colored gel polish and using a UV or LED lamp to cure the polish. Gel pedicures last longer without chipping compared to traditional polish.
Paraffin Wax Pedicure Feet are dipped into warm, moisturizing paraffin wax to intensively soften skin and enhance relaxation. The wax is wrapped around feet while it hardens before being removed. This ultra-hydrating treatment leaves feet incredibly smooth.
Shellac Pedicure Similar to a gel manicure, Shellac pedicures involve applying a durable, high-shine polish that is cured under UV light. It resists chipping and fading.
Mineral Sea Salt Pedicure This indulgent treatment starts with a mineral-rich sea salt soak to detoxify and soften feet. Essential oils are often added to relax the mind and body.
Choosing an add-on scrub, mask, or massage can further customize your pedicure experience. Treat your feet to a salon pedicure and see why these pampering rituals remain a popular self-care experience.
The unique practice of the pedicures using Garra Rufa has sparked curiosity and controversy in recent years. While proponents claim the doctor fish provide a natural exfoliating treatment for feet, health experts have raised concerns about risks of infection and ecological impacts. Ultimately, safer salon pedicure options exist that can provide similar smoothing and moisturizing skin benefits without the associated risks.
Garra Rufa are a species of fish adapted to feed on dead skin cells in their native freshwater habitats in Asia and the Middle East. Their use in spa fish pedicures became popular as a novelty experience, with claims they can gently remove calluses and rough areas on feet. However, research found little evidence for long-term skin benefits, while highlighting potential hygiene issues and risks of spreading infection between customers. Several countries banned these kind of pedicures due to health and environmental risks.
For those seeking softer feet, traditional salon pedicures remain a more advisable option. Pedicures allow feet to soak, renew skin, and address problem areas safely. Popular add-on treatments like paraffin wax, sea salt soaks, and scrubs intensively hydrate and smooth rough skin. While fish pedicures may seem like an interesting idea, salon pedicures provide healthier, safer ways to get silky soft feet. In the end, leaving fish therapy to fish themselves is the wisest choice.