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Spa safety for those with Diabetes

Always tell your nail technician or any spa-service provider that you have diabetes. This lets them know to use extra care while pampering you, even if you don’t feel anything is wrong.

Clients with diabetes often have special health challenges in addition to diabetes, such as heart disease, poor circulation, or nerve damage. So patients with diabetes who have nerve damage in their feet might not be able to feel pain during a pedicure. So they may be less able to give feedback to the technician.

Risky Nicks and Cuts

Because diabetes can cause poor blood flow to your limbs, it’s harder for white blood cells to reach small wounds so they can heal properly. If your nail technician nips your cuticle or rubs too roughly on your heel to remove dead skin, you can get a small wound that turns into a serious infection. Ingrown toenails may also lead to foot infections, so it’s important to keep your nails trimmed and filed. If your blood sugar isn't well-controlled, or if you have damage to your nerves (diabetic neuropathy), be careful when trimming your nails. You can cut your nails way too short, and can cut the soft tissue around your nails. Use caution with scissors or clippers, or using anything that can cut or lacerate your skin.

If you don’t feel comfortable trimming your own nails or going to a salon or spa, ask a podiatrist to do it instead.

Tips for Safe Spa Visits

Here are some safety tips for your next salon or spa visit:

  • Tell the spa or salon owner, or your aesthetician, that you have diabetes before you begin any service. Talk to the staff about any concerns you have or precautions you need to take.

  • It’s safe to use tools like a pumice stone or sanding surface to remove dead skin from your heels. Be gentle, though. Avoid using metal scrapers to remove skin.

  • If you have corns or calluses on your feet, tell your technician to gently rub or smooth them rather than cutting them or using any liquid callus remover.

  • Make sure soaking water is not too hot to avoid burns you might not be able to feel. The water should be between 90-95 F. Ask the technician to test it before you put your feet in.

  • Tell your nail technician to trim your nails with a clipper and then file them smooth with an emery board.

  • Ask if soaking tubs and tools are washed and sterilized after each person’s use. If a salon or spa doesn't seem clean, don’t go there.

  • Tell your nail technician to never cut into the corners of your toenails. This might cause an ingrown toenail and an infection.

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