A young woman lost her toenails when they began to separate from her toes. Doctors were able to discover the reason why this happened, a fish pedicure she received six months prior.
A Pedicure Gone Wrong
The young woman had partaken in a new way some people claim is rejuvenating for their feet. Fish pedicures involve feet being dipped into a warm tub of water while having small fish nibble on them. The fish used in this treatment are toothless carp fish that eat dead skin. They are also plant eaters.
The young woman, who is in her 20s, said that after receiving her fish pedicure, her toenails stopped growing and started to fall off. The woman assumed at first that she had onychomadesis; however, her dermatologist stated otherwise.
Dr. Sheri Lipner, an assistant professor of dermatology at Weill Cornell Medicine, said that this was most likely a result of fish traumatization to the woman's toenails. Lipner continued that her patient's case could be the first incident where onychomadesis occurred due to a fish pedicure. She was convinced that her patient has no other previous health issues that would explain what happened with her toenails.
Dr. Lipner also advises people against getting a fish pedicure, as the practice has been banned in 10 states in America due to health concerns.
Severe Health Risks
Health experts have raised their concerns in regards to fish spas since the fish are recycled and used again on various customers. They are also skeptical if the tubs are properly cleaned.
In the United Kingdom, an investigation conducted by the UK's Fish Health Inspectorate discovered bacteria outbreak among the fish used in these spas. David Verner-Jeffreys, a senior microbiologist at the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science in the UK, said the culprit was streptococcal bacteria, which are found in fish such as tilapia.
Verner-Jeffreys said that the fish spa phase didn't last long in the UK.
"I wouldn't say it necessarily poses a significant risk to humans, but it did illustrate that they may be carrying things which are nasty both to fish and humans. It was a bit of a craze people got excited about, and then they moved on to the next thing," Verner-Jeffreys stated.