Woman loses toenails after having a trendy fish pedicure

Woman loses toenails after having a trendy fish pedicure

According to CNN, a young woman in her 20s from NY apparently went for a fish pedicure and as a result, it led to the loss of her toenails.

Lipner said she could not reveal where the patient got her fish pedicure to protect her anonymity.

The freaky beauty practice has people rest their feet in tubs of lukewarm water while tiny fish called Garra rufa nibble at their toes - exfoliating the skin by sucking off dead cells. The toothless carp fish - which are plant eaters - voraciously feast on dead human skin.

A photo showing onychomadesis on the first, second, and third toe of each of the patient's feet.

Experts say they're unsure how infections might be spread through fish pedicures. Dr. Lipner was convinced that her patient has no other previous health issues that would explain what happened with her toenails.

This phenomenon, known to doctors as onychomadesis, usually results in the nail falling off long after an initial event (such as an injury) arrests nail growth. "Thus, there are concerns of transmitting infections between people undergoing these pedicures". Ruling those causes out, "to my knowledge this is the first case of onychomadesis associated with a fish pedicure", she said.

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An image showing the woman's toenails disappearing.

Lipner is unaware of any other such cases linked to fish spas, whose popularity seem to have drawn from unfounded claims about their health benefits, according to her report. Toenails only grow one millimeter a month on average, while an entire nail can take as long as 18 months to be replaced. In 2011, the Vancouver Island Health Authority also banned it, saying that there were bacterial risks because the fish could not be sterilized.

In the new case, it's not exactly clear how fish pedicures might cause onychomadesis, but it's likely that trauma from the fish biting multiple nails caused the nails to stop growing, the report said. Animal rights groups say the pedicures are a form of animal cruelty, while at least 10 USA states have banned fish pedicures over concerns about bacteria in the water.

Health experts have raised their concerns in regards to fish spas since the fish are recycled and used again on various customers. The culprit was found to be a streptococcal bacteria, a strain that is associated with fish like tilapia, according to David Verner-Jeffreys, a senior microbiologist at the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science in the UK.

But in the United Kingdom, the fish spa fad didn't stay around for very long.

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". It is said to improve blood circulation, stimulate new skin cells and is often used as a medical treatment for conditions such as psoriasis, eczema and warts.

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