'Fish Pedicure' Caused One Woman's Toenails to Stop Growing

After a young woman's toenails started to separate from her toes a doctor finally zeroed in on the reason a fish pedicure according to a report published Tuesday in the journal JAMA Dermatology

A woman reportedly lost her toenails after getting a fish pedicure.

Though it does not meet the legal definition of a pedicure, the practice of sticking your feet into a tub filled with diminutive omnivorous fish from the species Garra rufa has been a popular spa service worldwide for more than a decade, according to Dr Lipner.

According to a new report in the journal JAMA Dermatology, the patient had received such a treatment and noticed later that her toenails began shedding. Dermatologist and lead author Shari Lipner diagnosed the woman with onychomadesis, or a condition that halts nail growth at its root, likely caused by fish repeatedly biting the affected toes during the treatment.

Fish pedicures may be a fun way to exfoliate rough heels, but experts are now warning that the procedure may pose an infection risk. There were reports of a patient with a Staphylococcus aureus infection after a fish pedicure.

Lipner said the woman's nails may grow back - but it'll take as long as 18 months. And although there's no way to test for fish-pedicure-induced toenail loss, she told CNN, "I think we're fairly sure that it was the fish pedicure". But, there are several risks linked to fish pedicures - for example, when the fish are present, the tubs can not be properly cleaned between one customer's use and another's.

Now it's those trendy fish pedicures that are shrouded in horror.

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Their recommendations dealt with hygiene and infection control, "as would be required for other types of beauty salons".

That raises the odds for infections transmitted between customers, and "several bacteria capable of causing disease in humans were isolated in batches of Garra rufa and waters from 24 fish spas", she said.

In the United Kingdom, an investigation was conducted by the UK's Fish Health Inspectorate discovered bacteria outbreak among the fish used in these spas. Fish were found with bulging eyes, many hemmorhaging around the gills and mouth.

Fish pedicures have boomed since the first USA fish spa opened in Virginia in 2008, Lipner claims in the paper, due to what she calls "unfounded claims" that the treatment leaves feet smoother and less pungent, removes bacteria and fungus and increases circulation. "It was a bit of a craze people got excited about, and then they moved on to the next thing", said Verner-Jeffreys, who added that the concern surrounding fish spas is not just about human health. And healthy fish, he added, would mean "less problems all around".

The beauty craze has been banned in 10 USA states - including NY - because of health concerns.

First we were warned of the risks of getting eyelash extensions.

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