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IMG_5525Dry skin on feet is a common problem. Not only is it unsightly, but it can be irritating, painful and even lead to infection.

The latest fad is Fish Pedicures—where fish eat dead skin off your feet! Would you do it? Is it safe? Does it work?

Salons across America are offering customers the chance to have the dead skin literally eaten away. Customers dangle their feet in a tank with tiny silver-colored carp, Garra rufa, which suck away the dry, dead skin, maybe even corns or callouses.

The Up Side to Fish Treatments

These may work, and in fact, could prove to be more effective (and safer?) than putting on gobs of Vaseline or other moisturizers day after day. Called “doctor fish” in China, these fish are used to treat skin problems throughout the entire body, including psoriasis.

For centuries, physicians have recognized the benefits of leeches and maggots in treating foot ulcers and wounds.  

The Downside to FIsh Treaments

Customers are putting their feet in tub of water, albeit chlorinated, but still water. Even chlorine does not kill all germs and infectious organisms. Suppose the last person’s foot had an open wound and an infection of some kind (use your imagination! – but I have seen everything in foot wounds from HIV to MRSA to syphillis), and your foot has a cut or abrasion. In theory, you could contract that infectious organism. Further, from reports I have read, salons do not change the fish tank water between clients. In reality, the risk is probably low.

Final Thoughts on Nibbling Fish

I would not put my foot in a tank of water that has had hundreds of other feet in it. Though, I admit that I will go in a public pool. Is a fish tank any worse?

The jury is still out on fish pedicures. Fish pedicures won’t get rid of your bunions, hammertoes or heel spurs, but may help alleviate dry skin, corns or callouses. If you are adventurous and have tried everything else for dry skin and your feet are healthy (and you are not diabetic), you may want to try it. If you do, let me know how things work out for you.

To read more about dry skin CLICK HERE or peruse the articles listed on the right.

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  • Suzanne Davis

    One word- EW

  • Dr. Nirenberg

    I think you’ve summed this “treatment” up perfectly!

  • Alexa

    Why EW? If it works then what is the problem? :)