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Fish pedicure blamed for woman's lost toenails
06 July 2018, 11:08 | Rodolfo Wallace
During a fish pedicure people immerse their feet in a tub of water that contains small fish called Garra rufa. Credit Shutterstock
The female subject in the report had claimed to receive a fish pedicure some months before beginning to notice the abnormal nail behavior.
The only other possible reason for the toenail loss was the pedicure she had had months earlier, which involved having toothless carp nibble the dead skin off her feet, Gizmodo reported. The fish eats ups dead human skin when no plankton around and therefore cleans the feet off its dead skin and dirt accumulated on the feet dunked into it.
It was quickly determined that the woman was suffering from onychomadesis, a condition in which the toe sheds nails after the nail matrix, the part of the nail bed beneath the nail that contains nerves, lymph and blood vessels, has been damaged.
"While the exact mechanism is unknown, it is likely that direct trauma caused by fish biting multiple nail units causes a cessation in nail plate production", Lipner wrote. There other known causes of onychomadesis were ruled out, so it's thought that the fish pedicure is to blame.
"I would be highly surprised if you found any dermatologist who recommends Garra rufa pedicures", Lipner said.
Although a fish pedicure may sound like a toe-tickling unique experience, you could potentially lose your toenails - seriously.
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In addition to all of the health concerns and risks with fish pedicures, PETA also notes that the tubs are full of fish feces and that many time fish can die en route to the spas from the sellers. But, there are several risks linked to fish pedicures - for example, when the fish are present, the tubs can not be properly cleaned between one customer's use and another's.
Although fish pedicures are popular in many places, it's actually banned in several states in America. 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.
Soon, sessions with the rebranded "doctor fish" were also being hailed as a treatment for improving eczema, rough skin, circulation, and cleanliness.
While this is the first case of toenails falling off due to a fish pedicure, it should be enough for people to be cautious about such procedures.
A few case reports have also directly traced foot infections to these treatments.
Here in Canada, the Vancouver Island Health Authority shut down a fish pedicure spa in Duncan, B.C.in 2011, citing concerns the pedicures could lead to the transmission of skin diseases. Toenails only grow one millimeter a month on average, while an entire nail can take as long as 18 months to be replaced.
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