Pedicure Dangers – Why I Couldn’t Walk This Week After I Got A Spa Pedicure in a Nail Salon

It's really awful to think that the nail salon put that chemical on my feet and that something like this could happen to any of us. You got to get a pedicure and BAM! You're out of commission for a week because you literally cannot walk! I don't think it's something you think about when you go to the nail salon but in the future I will never again let them put the callus removing solution on my feet. There's no reason that we really need to have a chemical like that on our skin – they can just scrub off what they can and that's it.  I also found several articles online saying NOT to remove calluses – this makes a lot of sense. This is costing me lots of time at work and I'm not able to do things around the house like water my plants or cook food or go do things in my garden which means that my family has to pick up the slack. Not to mention it is really gross and painful. My feet are still really tender today and if I go anywhere, I will definitely have to wear socks and my soft clogs because there is no way I can wear flip flops or any other type of shoe right now.

Her feet got BURNED by callus remover at the NAIL SALON! Top tips for getting a safe spa pedicure and more.

Here are some tips for getting pedicures at the nail salon:

  • Don't shave your legs less than 24 hours before going to the salon. The same goes for going to the beach and putting your legs in ocean water. I read this tip multiple places.
  • Ask to see the cleaning logs for the whirlpool foot baths and visually inspect them for cleanliness.
  • Don't get a pedicure if you have any type of sores or cuts on your feet.
  • Ask to see the labels for each product being used on your feet. All of the salons up here use non-labeled bottles, which I am now going to refuse.
  • Bring your own products if you want to make sure they are safe.
  • Bring your own nail polish – many times the salons water polish down and if the polish was used on someone with infected nails, the bacteria can be in the polish bottle and be transferred to the next person.
  • Ask to read the instructions for callus remover to ensure it isn't on longer than it should be. Or skip the callus remover.

Sources:

Thanks so much for stopping by today. I really hope this post gives you some insight that will help you have a better experience at the nail salon.  Have a story of your own? Tell me all about it in the comments section.

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Jennifer Priest is a 20+ year designer in the arts & crafts industry and home DIYer with a passion for creativity. An Army veteran raised on a ranch, from her experience, she shares smart DIY projects that save money and fun craft ideas that anyone can make. Besides blogging, Jennifer is a Master Practitioner and Trainer of NLP, Hypnosis, and MER, and coaches other online entrepreneurs on money mindset, business, and living an intentional life. When not blogging, Jennifer is having adventures in the wilderness, on road trips, playing with her cats, and making paleo food.

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53 Comments

  1. Sorry for your pain. That just sounds horrible. Feel better soon. I’ve never had a pedicure and after reading your post I think I’ll skip them in the future.

    1. They are usually great but I have noticed that the salons up here are not up to par. When I was in a college, one of my fellow students in the Math program co-owned and salon with his sister. They took you on a tour of the salon when you “joined” and you got your own tools that were sanitized and hermedically sealed, kept in your own case so that only your feet touched those tools. They never used chemical removers. I need to just suck it up and make the drive to that salon if I go again.

      1. It has been months since my last salon pedicure. Before reading this I thought that I had just suddenly developed a sensitivity. It had been a while since I had a pedicure and I noticed he was adding a lot if solution and extra scrubbing. My feet felt wonderful at first. I woke up the next morning in pain blistered and unable to walk.I too applied neosporin and wore socks.as I mentioned it has been months and I still have po ain and difficulty with the heels of my feet. I will never get another salon pedicure again but definitely keep it up my self. My heels turned black.

          1. I’m having the same the pedicurist scrapped my heal so badly I can’t walk it was cut and bleeding fir the first few days now it’s just sore. Will it ever get better?

          2. We advise in the post to go to the doctor — it’s been years since this happened to me. My feet are just now in 2020 starting to get normal skin on the bottom. So I guess it might get better? But you will need to talk to your doctor for sure.

          1. Omg, me too. Brenda, I’ve been searching high and low on how to fix my heel. The left one I can deal with.The right one is dark. Apparently it is melanin. The scrubbing,chemicals have stimated it’s production. From what I have gathered, which is very little is that 4% hydroquinone (prescription) or an over the counter cream can help. I would rather go with a high potency natural lightener though because hydroquinone is iffy.So that’s what I’m trying right now. I will report back in a few months if it works. I also plan to visit a podiatrist soon to see what they think.

          2. Definitely see your doctor before using anything on your heel, even over the counter meds. I hope it heals soon!

          3. I had my pedi done 2 days ago & I have neuropathy so I did not feel much. The lady kept scrubbing & shaving my dry heels like a sponge.
            Today ,I hurt like He….,my entire feet hurt,heels are burning,I can h hardly fall asleep.
            D/t my failed back surgery I can’t bend down to visualize my feet. These Pro girls are from Vietnam & I never had a problem before until we had this Delux Pedi here in Las Vegas
            I swill soak m.y feet again & if they don’t look normal, will have to ve see my doctor ,maybe I will need antibiotic

        1. DESITIN girls – this is your friend.

          OMG, bless your heart – I’ve done this to myself. In the future, try Desitin (the baby cream) for relief – it helped the pain and healed a lot overnight and to my amazement, practically healed completely by the next day!!

      2. I had a pedicure today and I have not been able to stand in top bottom of my foot without sever stabbing pain and the woman. Made my toe on other foot bleed so when I got home I immediately soaked my feet in warm elskm salt hoping g toward off any bad bacteria.

        1. Oh my gosh, I am so sorry to hear this! Please go see your doctor just to make sure you are safe.

    2. callouses have a purpose: to cushion and insulate the deeper layers of the skin. removing this layer can cause sensitivity to the now exposed deeper skin surface. urea cream breaks the bonds that hold the skin cells together. removing the upper skin layers can cause an high sensitivity to the heals pain can last a long time walking is very difficult due to the pain but ibuprofen can cause a lot of relief

    3. I had the same problem. My red nail polish looked great. The next day I could hardly walk. I take 325 mg aspirin a day to ward off off another stroke. My feet look like someone attacked them. No more pedicures for me.

    4. I’m so sorry for your experience.
      The trouble I used to have is, sometimes they wanted to play doctor and attempt to remove ingrown nails. I would be polite and tolerate the pain, and they would dig deep!!! Then one day I had enough and said, ok you have to Stop!!! It was so painful!
      I hope you end up taking pictures and at least make them pay any medical bills you had. They owe you that. Good luck!

  2. Oh my goodness! I cannot imagine the pain you went through. Not being able to walk? That’s horrible. I am glad you are on the mend and feeling better. Thanks for all of the tips!

  3. Jennifer that’s so terrifying! Please make sure you don’t get an infection. I’ve also avoided pedicures after developing toe nail fungus. I’ve always been suspicious about that callus remover and, even though my feet are far from smooth and perfect, I think I’ll just stick to a salt scrub and pumice stone. Thanks for such an informative article.

  4. I’m right now at the nail Salon!!!! That happened to me once I scrub so much my feet and I couldn’t even walk!!! I hope you get better soon! And wish me luck with my pedicure! Hahaha

  5. Omg. I have been dealing with a fungal infection and red raw burned looking skin since a pedicure right before Christmas! Callous remover was put on the synthetic scrubber and then as I was reading she started scrubbing it on my toes and the tops of my feet!! It was burning so bad I asked her to stop. I had had pedicures before and no on jad rubbed it on my toes and tops of my feet. Within 2 weeks I had both of my feet break out with a horrible scaly infection and when I tried putting over the counter dungal vream on it nothing helped and then the tops of my feet started biting again with the cream and the tops of my feet have been purple red for weeks!! I went to urgent care when it scared me how bad it looked so fast. I used prescription cream that started burning again and then got into internist who put me on oral lamisil ( which can be hard on liver). And more prescription cream. I can’t tolerate the topical as my feet burn like fire! So nued and prayin this will finally clear up. I won’t be able to trust doing this again. It isn’t over. I would send you a picture if you want and it would freak you out. Had pedicures for two years and went somewhere different one day. — ugh. Thanks for sharing because the drs have said for me to have broken out like this and both feet at the same time and the chemical this is what happened but I had never heard of anyone else burned or anything from callous remover.

    1. Oh my gosh I am so sorry that happened to you! I did go get a pedicure for the first time since this in January and the lady tried to put the callous stuff even though I told her not to and I screamed and the whole salon looked at me! But I was like NO WAY!!!! Glad you are recovering though.

    2. I just came from the nail salon today. They put on a chemical callous remover and wrapped my feet in saran wrap. Then she started scrubbing it with the metal scrubber and a sponge scrubber. I have tennis socks on now because my feet are blistered and pounding as I lay on my bed. I urge everyone not to get the liquid callous remover.

  6. Hello. This just occurred to me today!!! I have a couple of sections that are red because of the same thing, too much skin was removed. I tried applying hydrogen peroxide but it burns. I was wondering if you can please tell me what you did to help with the pain? Would a cream for cut work? I would greatly appreciate it, if you can help me.
    Thank You for your post. 🙂

    1. Hello, sorry to hear this. I can’t give any medical advice. I’d say visit your doctor to see what they recommend for your specific situation. Hope that helps!

  7. The same thing happened to me. The employee put the gel on and then used something that looked like a kitchen grater and never washed it off and instead eventually wiped it off with a towel. A couple days later the bottoms of my feet were extremely red and itchy. By the end of the week I was itching over my entire body. I went to a walk in clinic and they said it was a burn from the acid in the callous remover and the itching all over my body was a reaction to it. The doctor prescribed prednisone and some other medication for the burn and reaction. He told me that the level of salicylic acid in callous remover is high. I believe he mentioned it was around 17%. I have never gone for another pedicure as he said it was dangerous for multiple reasons. I worry that it might have done permanent damage. There have been times when the bottoms of my feet feel tingly and I have no idea whether it is related in addition to some thickened skin on the bottom of my toes that I never had. This is what happened when I treated myself to the deluxe pedicure at Venetian Nail Spa in Pembroke Gardens.

  8. Hi, I can’t tell you how grateful I am to find out what is up with my reddish sensitive toes. Same thing, after a pedicure. Also very grateful it wasn’t on the bottom of my feet. I kept saying , oh it must be sunburn because I am wearing thongs. Had pedicure April 30th. Wow. Love pedicures. Won’t do it again. I can’t believe they used that on me without asking! So angry!i guess I will ask my doctor for advice.

    1. My daughter got a pedicure four days ago and she said it feels like there’s a rock in her foot when she walks. I feel bad for her. Has anyone else had that happen to them?

  9. It’s all about where you go. i LOVE the acid. I remember when they could shave your feet with the razor/shaver thing, but that was outlawed. My feet were never the same until they came up with the remover and the “cheese” grater. I live in a hot climate (two seasons, summer and August). I wear flip flops all day most days — around the house and running around. My callouses are HORRENDOUS. Living in a huge city (Houston), there is a nail salon — if not two or more — on every corner, and in every shopping center. They are NOT the same (and, sometimes, competition brings the price down and gets the corners cut). The one I go to charges about $30 for what I get (prices vary). The soaking bowls are lined with plastic wrap so that nobody gets the same bowl, ever. When they remove the plastic, I see them bleach them. Every person gets a sanitized set of implements that were put through the autoclave and sealed. Everyone gets a brand new pumice stone and nail file. If you do not take them, they trash them. The attendants wear gloves. I cannot imagine anything else they could do to help keep infection down. I would think if you are prone to gout, diabetes, or other foot problems, I would consult my doctor before letting anyone do anything to my feet.

    But, my feet get so thick, it’s uncomfortable to walk anyway. they crack, peel, and catch on my blankets at night, feel dry and are absolutely uncomfortable. If they are rubbing too much, simply ask them to stop. I am very sorry that you had a bad experience. Pedicures are one of the great pleasures(!) and I would hate for anyone to be forced to forego such a great, relaxing experience that feels so good, helps you look good, and is affordable.

    Good luck — hope you are better.

  10. I hope you have called them to let them know. Expect them to cover any medical expenses. I had a friend that got MRSA from a nail salon. $5K per each antibiotic treatment.. and extremely painful. If they aren’t willing to refund your money and pay your medical, you should most definitely seek legal assistance. Your health is much too important just let this go.

  11. The same just happen to me and my boyfriend,we went together my feet turned out great his on the other hand his. Are blistering and can’t walk. This was 3 days ago.

    1. OMG! So sorry to hear this! Contact your local Public Health or Environmental health office. They can investigate. And go see your Doctor for sure.

  12. I took my fiancé for his first pedicure today and he now has sore red spots on the bottom of his feet! They used callus remover and I think that’s what caused it. I feel so bad now especially because it wasn’t because it was his first time. Do not get callus remover. Mine turned out but it is not worth it!

    1. Oh no 🙁 That is terrible!! We trust these people to know what they are doing to our feet!!! Hope he heals soon. Might be a good idea to visit a doctor just in case.

  13. This just happened to me and I was searching for tips advice for an OTC treatment!
    Thing is, I did this is a treat so my feet would look nice for my vacation and now I don’t even know if I will be able to walk ?

    1. Oh no 🙁 The best thing to do is take a visit to your Doctor to see what they can prescribe.

  14. I know how it feels, my foot started with little blisters and had clear ooze with blood, after that skin on bottom of foot started peeling and peeling away from where blisters we’re open. My foot feels raw and hurts to walk on, I now have to wear a large band-aid with a cotton square underneath the band-aid. That really helps when wearing flip flops, my foot hurts when I walk with socks on.

  15. My husband recently got a pedicure and the bottom of his feet are cracked and raw.. he said his feet were burning during the pedicure too.. we put neisporin on and covered them with bandaids.. I don’t want them to get infected any advice

    1. I’m so sorry to hear that 🙁 I can’t give meducal advice. Go to your doctor. Hope he gets help soon.

  16. Im right there with you. though mine didnt bleed .Im in so much pain trouble walking standing. Its been 2 weeks for me.I will never do a pedicure again after this. Its bad.

  17. I have had pedicures in the past but this has NEVER happened to me – on Monday after a pedicure I have had right heel pain like crazy – excruciating pain when walking. Although it has gotten better over the last couple days I came across this web site today. I thought maybe I was having plantar fascitis but now I’m wondering about this scrub. Nothing hurt during the actual pedicure – it was when I stood up on my right heel; and whoa!!!!

  18. I have an issue with feet almost like a phobia, and because of this I don’t get pedicures. My feet were rough, cracked, dry, and peeling. And ive tried everything i could think to try to get my feet soft and somewhat less embarrassing. Nothing worked!! So when I came across this jar that said instant pedicure extreme strength callous remover.. sandal ready feet in 5 minutes I didn’t hesitate for a second. As soon as I got home I glanced at the instructions (always read completely before using that’s where I messed up) and started soaking my feet. I put on my gloves and started coating my feet with the gel. It burned a little but I figured it was suppose to. After about 3 minutes with the gel on my feet I couldnt stand the burning any longer and immediately washed my feet with soap and water. I still felt like my feet were on fire so I put some aloe cooling gel on my feet and didn’t think about it again until the next day (yesterday). I woke up and my feet were in so much pain when I saw them I was shocked to see my feet covered in raw bleeding burns. I can’t walk without crying from the pain and even wearing socks hurts. The worst spots are inbetween my toes and the outsides of my feet. My husband was looking at the callous remover gel and pointed out that it is for your heels only..(boy do I feel stupid)!!! So he put some silverdine burn cream on my feet and wrapped them up about an hour ago. It seems to be helping a little but still too painful to walk or even stand. And to make matters worse my feet phobia issue has now been critically worsened. Any advice??

  19. Well this answers my question. I was just at a conference in Prague and got a pedicure at a place I did not know. When she did the leg massage it was very warm and I thought they must put camphor n the massage cream. I know believe she used the callous remover for my massage instead of the lotion. My legs turned scarlet red and even split the skin at the ankle. A raised rash appeared and I had pain and itching. Eventually I went to a pharmacy and asked for a topical steroid cream which really helped. I get pedicures regularly at home from the same place and never had a problem.

  20. Desitin (the baby cream) – this works so quick, I cut too much off during a pedicure and it hurt to walk the next day, I have a lot of lotions and creams but this was handy and it is a miracle worker, please let me know if this works for you too. It did major repair the first day (enough to walk) and the 2nd day, the skin had healed drastically!

  21. I love pedicures. For the first time my feet began developing callus below my toes. On the ball of the foot. Thick yellow skin. So when I went the lady soaked my feet and cut skin off my feet with a tool fhay seemed for nails. I said what are you doing. She kept cutting then passed the metal scraper. I was feeling sensitive. This was about two weeks ago. The last two days I felt tingling in my left foot and a cramp coming in making it hard for me to walk. I thought I had a bug on my foot and had my husband check it. But it was sensation inside. Right before cramping. So I flexed my foot. But the next day same bing again tingling. This is the third day now and I do not know if it is related to the pedicure. Has anybody had a similar experience?

    Thanks

    1. Oh no, so sorry that happened to you. Sounds painful! We can’t give medical advice here other than to advise you to go to your doctor.

  22. Oh my! This is exactly what happen to me today and it’s the reason I found your page. I had the same thoughts “oh I’m just being sensitive, it’ll be fine” and she also poured more of the remover onto the pumice as she was scrubbing. I had appointments following my pedicure so I didnt look at my feet until about 3hrs later although they hurt/burned for those hours. When I did look I noticed bloody oozing spots where it looked like skin had just been tore from my foot and my foot now looks like I have dry scaly skin all along the side where there was never dry skin before. It hurts so bad! Never would have thought it was the remover but that absolutely makes sense! Thanks for the insight

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