It’s sandal season, and people everywhere are flocking to nail salons to make sure their feet are soft and ready for the pool and beach. Many people wonder if pedicures are healthy for your toes and feet. The answer: they can be if the pedicure is sanitary and performed correctly. Here are a few guidelines to ensure that your feet stay healthy and protected during this time when you want to show them off most.

DO SCHEDULE YOUR APPOINTMENT EARLY

Try to book your appointment early during the day, and if possible, during the week rather than weekend. This is when salons are less busy, and nail technicians are more likely to take the time to properly sanitize the tools used during the pedicure.

DON’T SHAVE YOUR LEGS RIGHT BEFORE THE APPOINTMENT

Shaving your legs within 24 hours of your appointment can leave small cuts in your skin leaving you at risk for open wounds to be infected.

DO TRIM YOUR TOENAILS STRAIGHT RATHER THAN ROUNDED

A straight cut across the toenail is the best way to make sure you won’t grow in grown toe nails in the future. Many technicians like to round the nail or the corners of the nail; try to avoid this.

DON’T USE A CALLUS SHAVER

Foot razors can shave off too much of the epidermis, which leaves your skin too exposed. If you have a callus that needs to be treated, a gentle filing with a pumice stone is recommended. If that doesn’t suffice, see a podiatrist for proper treatment.

DO BRING YOUR OWN KIT

Cleanliness is key to avoid bacterial infections that can be transferred through the tools used at a nail salon. To avoid this risk: bring your own tools such as emory boards, wood cuticle pushers, clippers, and a pumice stone.

DON’T KEEP YOUR NAILS PAINTED 365 DAYS A YEAR

Give your nails a break every 2-3 weeks. This prevents nails from becoming dehydrated and also allows any ailments to heal better. Many people are tempted to cover up an embarrassing yellow nail with polish, but the yellow is likely caused by a fungus. Trapping it under polish locks in moisture and provides a perfect environment for the fungus to get worse.

Overall, a good rule of thumb is that cutting of skin is technically surgery and should be done by a medical professional rather than a nail technician at a salon. Any infected areas should be treated by a podiatrist or physician prior to getting a pedicure. Certain types of people that may be more prone to foot issues (Diabetics, athletes, etc.) should consider getting a medical pedicure rather than a standard one, as they are performed by a podiatrist and held to medical standards of sanitation.