Fish pedicures are quickly becoming one of the most popular beauty treatments because they are an easy and painless way to get dead skin off the feet. The process involves using toothless carp that chew off the dead skin, but animal rights campaigners and health experts are speaking out against it.
The carp used, called garra rufa, can also chew off some of the harder skin areas and it is believed that there may be an enzyme inside of their saliva known as diathanol that can heal some conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. As the treatment becomes more common full immersion tanks are being utilised to offer the treatment all over the body. Supporters say that the treatments will leave skin buffed and healthy and at the end clients are so impressed that they feel as if they came from a massage.
In the USA there are already many states that have banned the treatment out of fear that it will spread disease and infections. It is unlikely that a ban will be enacted around the rest of the world, but there are guidelines being devised to help regulate the practice as well as investigations into what the risks of the treatment may be.
A the moment there have not been any real cases of infection from fish foot spas and it is thought that infection risks are low, although some local health officials are still looking for more evidence to prove whether or not the fish spas are safe.
The debate is that under regulations, cosmetologists must dispose of all tools or at least sanitise their tools after they are used on a client, however, because of the expense of the fish they are reused. This can increase the risk of infection since they can be spread via the fish if people have small cuts that are not visible to the human eye on their feet.
There is also concern over how the fish have been kept because their welfare is not a top requirement at the spas. The placement of body parts into a fish tank would change the water quality and affect their life quality.