One of the most frequent questions I am asked by our clients is how do they know if an Advanced Pedicure is right for them. So, we decided to put together a quick read on what you can look for at home, and what circumstances may point you towards an Advanced Pedicure as an alternative to a traditional salon pedicure.
Please keep in mind, the information provided here is regarding licensing and practices in New York State where I am licensed and certified. Other states may have varying requirements and levels of certification, as well as differing practices both allowed and/or restricted by policy or law. Nail technicians cannot diagnose or treat any medical conditions, and are trained only to identify possible skin and nail conditions, and then refer those clients to a medical professional such as a Medical Doctor or Podiatrist.
Advanced Pedicure vs. a traditional salon pedicure
The main difference between an Advanced Pedicure and a traditional salon pedicure is the time it takes, the care and attention that is given to the client and their specific concerns, and the level of training the nail technician has completed. Generally speaking, an Advanced Pedicure focuses on higher-risk clients who may be more at risk of developing troublesome foot and nail conditions due to injury, illness or diseases that affect the feet and nails, or clients that may have a history of troublesome and persistent nail conditions like ingrown nails or nail fungus. Advanced Pedicures should always be performed by an Advanced Nail Technician or Certified Advanced Pedicurist, which will be discussed further below.
An advanced version of something typically means it has been enhanced in some way(s); either being more detailed, more specific or thorough in certain areas, or just generally improved. For an Advanced Pedicure, this means that the nail technician has dedicated a great deal of extra time and effort into their training, typically having voluntarily completed additional courses and certifications to accurately, thoroughly, and professionally provide a higher level of care to their clients. This includes a more thorough assessment of the nails and feet, a better working knowledge in identifying and working to prevent troublesome foot and nail conditions, enhanced cleaning practices in the salon, and a better understanding of when a referral to a medical professional is necessary.
An Advanced Pedicure will, of course, provide the same basic services as a traditional salon pedicure including beautification of the nails. The difference comes in the extra care, attention, and focus provided by your nail technician utilizing elevated techniques and skills to address your specific needs and concerns. This will typically mean a slower pace of service and a slightly longer-than-traditional appointment time (typically 75-120 minutes) allowing the nail technician to effectively work to prevent troublesome nail conditions. Your nail technician will also provide education in ways to prevent recurrences of these conditions, and help you to create an aftercare plan that may include certain home-use products to help further prevent dehydration and fungus of the nails. In some cases, a series of Advanced Pedicures may be recommended to ensure progress is maintained, and that at-risk conditions do not progress further.
An Advanced Pedicure also means that the nail technician and the salon as a whole will actively practice asepsis techniques, enhanced sanitization and sterilization of equipment and tools, and infection prevention measures to reduce or eliminate the possibility of infection among their clients.
What should you look for?
There are two main areas we typically focus on when conducting an initial consultation and assessment prior to an Advanced Pedicure:
- Physical conditions (visible or painful and noticeable nail conditions)
- Medical conditions (pre-existing conditions that may affect the health of your feet and nails, directly or indirectly)
Millions of people suffer from or are at-risk of developing physical nail conditions where a number of factors can cause visible or sometimes painful nail issues to arise. This can include (but is not limited to):
- Ingrown Toenails
- Pincer Toenails
- Impacted Toenails
- Discoloration or Fungus
- Damaged Nails
- Calloused Feet
Physical nail conditions can be caused by a number of things including heredity, improper footwear, shoes or socks being too tight or too loose, dehydration of skin or nails, excessive standing, sports injuries...the list goes on and on.
Typically speaking, you will see or feel most of these conditions developing over time. Toes and toenails should not hurt, have redness, or be discolored on a healthy foot. If you are concerned that you may be at risk of developing any of these issues, or notice any of these things beginning to occur or begin to occur more regularly, it may be a good idea to schedule an Advanced Pedicure consultation or contact a medical professional (Podiatrist or Medical Doctor).
If you are not in the Middletown, NY area, the link here will take you to the Global Meticulous Manicurist Network that lists Advanced Pedicure Certified nail technicians throughout the United States.
In New York State, Licensed Nail Technicians cannot diagnose or treat any medical conditions. But, it is important to know that an Advanced Pedicure may be right for you if you are what would be considered a high-risk pedicure client with any pre-existing medical conditions that can affect the legs, feet, toes, and toenails.
If you are seeing a Medical Doctor and are on daily medications, you may be considered an at-risk pedicure client. This can include Diabetes, circulatory or vascular disease(s), Gout, Neuropathy, Psoriasis, Autoimmune Disease(s), as well as certain viruses (Hepatitis, HIV, etc.). Many of these conditions can affect circulation to the legs and feet, which can put you at a higher risk of injury, infection, or aggravation of pre-existing conditions during a traditional salon pedicure.
Additionally, many of these medical conditions can cause or contribute to the physical nail conditions listed above. With existing medical conditions present, certain considerations should be taken during your pedicure which an Advanced Pedicure may be able to best accommodate. This can including reduced pedicure foot bath water temperature and soak times, modified massage techniques, and improved infection prevention and cleaning as listed earlier.
Although you may not always need an Advanced Pedicure as an at-risk pedicure client, it is strongly recommended that you at least seek out a certified Advanced Nail Technician (ANT) to perform your pedicure services. As we will discuss in a moment, an Advanced Nail Technician has additional training and will be more knowledgeable and better equipped to properly care for you during your pedicure, ensuring the best possible outcome with the lowest risk of infection or injury.
An Advanced Pedicure typically also includes a more comprehensive assessment and consultation than a salon pedicure, where you will have an opportunity to fully discuss your concerns with your nail technician prior to beginning your pedicure service. This can alleviate unnecessary risk when getting your pedicure, and allow the nail technician to thoroughly assess your needs and make any referrals to medical professionals, if necessary.
I do fully understand that for many people it can be difficult or uncomfortable to discuss medical conditions. This is done in a completely private one-on-one setting in our salon, with the intention being to protect your health and well-being during your pedicure service. Any questions we ask will be directly related to your feet and nails, and medical information is only asked of the client verbally. We never share any client information outside your direct care team within our salon. If you are concerned about answering these questions, ask your nail technician for their client information privacy practices before providing any information. Try your best to answer these questions as honestly as possible, as it will ensure you are not put at risk unnecessarily.
Cleaning, disinfection, infection control and prevention
We have all heard horror stories about infections and injuries sustained from nail salons due to poor cleaning practices or careless nail technicians. The unfortunate thing is that no matter how clean a nail salon appears, you really have no idea how well the staff is disinfecting and sanitizing tools, surfaces, equipment, and footbaths both daily and between clients. I will dedicate a few upcoming blogs to this issue in detail...but for now understand that just because a nail salon 'looks' clean does not mean it is practicing proper aseptic techniques, using proper cleaning solutions and wet times, properly disinfecting and autoclaving reusable stainless steel tools (like nippers, metal files, and rasps), or disposing of one-time-use tools between clients (such as nail files, buffers, and brushes).
This can be especially important for at-risk nail salon clients, as their medical conditions or compromised immune systems can put them at higher risk for infection. Nail technicians who hold advanced certifications have received additional training in enhanced cleaning processes including disinfection and sanitization of surfaces and equipment, and will usually have a better understanding of infection control best practices and protocols.
It is also important to remember that it is strongly recommended that you do not shave your legs within 24 hours of a pedicure, or cut your toenails within a week of a pedicure, as you can easily develop micro-cuts in the skin and around the nails that can make you more susceptible to contracting an infection.
I always recommend to my clients that they ask their nail technician to disinfect their pedicure station and reusable (metal) tools in front of them, ask the nail technician what disinfection solution they are using and what the 'wet time' is (amount of time the solution must be left on a surface wet to fully disinfect it), and ask them to unseal new disposable tools (such as files and buffers) in in their presence. These disposable items are one time use, and cannot be used on more than one client in New York. If your salon is unable or unwilling to do these things, or if they charge you to provide 'new' tools for your service, I would highly recommend you consider changing venues.
A point to be made also is that neither a high-risk client or an infection or virus being present in a nail salon is the issue here. The problem is the spreading or transmission of said infection or virus from one client to another through improper, incomplete, or careless disinfection and cleaning processes. In many cases the probability of becoming infected is low, but it becomes exponentially higher once you introduce a compromised immune system or expose damaged (cut, scraped, bleeding) skin to a contaminated tool, surface, or footbath. I know that I would feel much more confident as someone with a medical condition affecting my feet knowing that my nail technician was thoroughly trained in proper disinfection, and was taking the time to ensure my environment was safe for me.
At Healthy Nails, we schedule 20-30 minutes between every client in our salon to ensure everything is properly cleaned and disinfected. We dispose of all single-use tools after every client, and we fully sanitize and then autoclave all of our reusable stainless-steel tools after every use. We will always open all new tools and sealed and dated autoclave bags in front of each client, for their comfort and safety.
How an Advanced Pedicure can help
Whether you need assistance preventing a physical nail condition from developing, have a history of nail conditions occurring in the past, or may have a pre-existing medical condition affecting the feet and nails, an Advanced Pedicure may be a good choice for you. In a traditional salon pedicure, the free edge (front) of your nails will typically be trimmed, and the cuticle area and nail surface will be cleaned. What is often overlooked is what is going on around, next to, and under your nails. These are the areas where many of these nail conditions can be caused, and therefore the areas that need attention to insure adverse nail conditions are prevented. I typically refer to this as the 'out of sight, out of mind' principle in a traditional nail salon: If you can't see it or can cover it with polish, then you don't need to address it.
In an Advanced Pedicure, these smaller details and often overlooked areas become the focus. A thorough cleaning of the sidewalls and area under the free edge is conducted, and nails will be cut to allow them to grow in a healthy manner to minimize recurrence or development of adverse conditions. Areas where nails are lifting or separated from the nail bed (the area under the nail where it attaches to live skin) will be cleaned and assessed, and any dead skin and calluses will be buffed off. By thoroughly cleaning the sidewalls, nails that are lifting, curving, or are on their way to becoming ingrown may now have the space to begin to flatten and normalize. This, in addition to properly hydrating the nails and skin around them, can improve your nail health and prevent more complex conditions from developing.
A follow-up or after-pedi plan is another benefit of an Advanced Pedicure. Your Advanced Nail Technician can educate you with detailed instructions for how to best care for your nails between visits, and can also provide recommendations of products that can help restore your nails to their healthiest possible state. We have Advanced Pedicure Bundles in our online shop that are designed to assist clients between visits, available for sale here. In certain circumstances, a series of Advanced Pedicures may be recommended to ensure the proper progress is continued in addressing your concerns.
In very rare cases, you may be referred to a medical professional (Podiatrist or Medical Doctor) if your condition appears to be out of our scope of practice, or severe enough to require medical care. Remember, in New York State, Licensed Nail Technicians cannot perform services on any broken or bleeding skin, or areas that appear to be actively infected, seeping, or weeping.
A Licensed Nail Technician in New York is required to take 250 hours of training and then pass a state board written and practical examination. There is no advanced training or continuing education required to recertify the license. Licensed Nail Technicians are trained to identify nail conditions, nail diseases, and nail fungus. However, in my experience, I would say that VERY often in traditional nail salons, most of these conditions are ignored (and sometimes even aggravated) as long as there is no seriously broken skin during a traditional salon pedicure.
There is also no advanced licensing levels for nail technicians in New York, so any Licensed Nail Technician that wishes to further their education will do so electively and become certified (not licensed) in advanced care practices and techniques. This can include Advanced Pedicure certification, Advanced Nail Technician (ANT) certification, Medical Nail Technician (MNT) certification, Certified Master Pedicurist (CMP), Clinical Certified Podiatric Medical Assistant (CCPMA), and several others.
Programs such as these are offered through various national training academies like the Global Meticulous Manicurist Nail Academy, the MediNail Training Center, or the Nailcare Academy. Many of these programs are accredited by one or more of the nationally recognized podiatric medical associations such as The American College of Medical Foot Care & Esthetics (ACMFCE) or the North American School of Podology (NASP). Training academies will provide documented certification to the nail technician upon successful completion.
If you believe you are at-risk for or developing a troublesome nail condition, or may be considered a high-risk pedicure client, an Advanced Pedicure may be right for you. It is recommended that you do not wait until the nail has broken the skin to come in, as you must then wait for it to fully heal or be referred to a Podiatrist or Medical Doctor for treatment, as well as then provide medical clearance prior to receiving any pedicure services in New York.
If you are an at-risk pedicure client, ask your salon if they have an Advanced Nail Tech, Advanced Pedicurist or other advanced trained nail technicians available on staff. Most advanced training programs will have online listings of certified nail technicians who have completed their programs, which can be searched based on your location.
If you are interested in coming in to our Middletown NY Healthy Nails by Bad Kitti Claws studio, please fill out our Pedicure Consultation Form or text us at 202-656-1575. We are located at Sola Salons, 400 Rt 211 East, Middletown, NY 10940, and services are by appointment only.
How to find an Advanced Pedicurist or Advanced Nail Technician near you
Although there are not too many comprehensive resources for locating an Advanced Pedicure salon or an Advanced Nail Technician, here are a few links that may assist you.
- The Global Meticulous Manicurist Network
- Safe Salon Rating (Only includes salons who have paid to register)
- NY State Licensee Search (Search Licensing Agency: Department of State, License Type: Nail Specialty) *Only lists Licensed Nail Technicians, does not include any advanced certifications in search.
If you are a Licensed Nail Technician and are interested in advanced certification as an ANT, MNT, or other advanced programs, check these links:
- The Global Meticulous Manicurist Nail Academy
- MediNail Learning Center
- Nailcare Academy
- The Beauty Academy