WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- A young woman in her 20s, who had a fish pedicure in a nail salon, noticed that her toenails were separating from her toes.
- Terrified by the condition of her toenails, she saw a doctor who told her that the fish pedicure she had gotten months ago was the possible cause.
- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 10 states in the U.S. have already banned the use of fish pedicures for various reasons.
A fish pedicure involves dipping your feet in a tub of water with plenty of small fish called Garra rufa. These fish will nibble away your calluses and cuticles just like what a nail salon employee does. These “doctor fish” are omnivores that usually eat plankton. Since they’re not in their natural habitat, they will eat human skin.
However, this “natural” beauty treatment is likely to be the cause of why a young woman lost her toenails.
The story was published in JAMA Dermatology by Dr. Shari Lipner, the woman’s dermatologist, who noted that fish pedicure started 10 years ago and continue to be a trend until now.
“Their attractiveness was likely due to unfounded claims that the treatment would leave feet smoother and smelling fresher, increase circulation, eliminate fungus and bacteria, and treat psoriasis and eczema,” Dr. Lipner writes.
According to the CDC, one study suggested that Garra rufa have been effective in treating skin diseases like psoriasis.
“This treatment was performed in a controlled setting at a medical university in Austria, not at a nail salon,” the CDC warns.
The woman went to Dr. Lipner after having trouble with her toenails for six months. She was diagnosed with onychomadesis, “a condition that occurs when the nail plates separate, ultimately leading to the nail shedding.”
After performing a complete history and clinical examination of the woman, Dr. Lipner ruled out all other known causes of onychomadesis.
“The fish pedicure is the most likely cause of her onychomadesis based on the timing of the pedicure and the clinical presentation of her nails,” the dermatologist told CBS News.
“It may be due to the trauma of the fish on the nail matrix or nail growth center,” she added.
Dr. Lipner also noted other possible risks linked to fish pedicures, including the potential transmission of infections.
“Since the risks outweigh any known benefits of fish pedicures, I would advise my patients to avoid the ‘doctor fish’ and instead see a board-certified dermatologist for skin and nail conditions,” Dr. Lipner recommended.
Source: CBS News