Trend alert: Would you get a pedicure from a fish?

After fish pedicure, woman loses toenails

Trend alert: Would you get a pedicure from a fish?

(CNN) — 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.

Six months prior, the woman had dunked her feet in a tub of water filled with tiny fish called Garra rufa that will eat dead human skin when no plankton are around. It wasn’t until later on that she noticed her nails beginning to shed.

“I think that this is probably more common than we think,” said the report’s author, Dr. Shari R. Lipner, an assistant professor of dermatology at Weill Cornell Medicine and director of the nail division.

“We don’t see the [nail] shedding until months after the event, so I think it’s hard for patients and physicians — especially if they’re not even aware that fish pedicures can do this — to make that connection,” she said.

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. In her report, Lipner describes this as a “relatively common physical examination finding” that has been linked to infections, medications, autoimmune and heritable conditions.

Lipner said the patient had no other medical history that she could link to her abnormal toenails. Although there’s no definitive test for fish-nibble-induced toenail loss, “I think we’re fairly sure that it was the fish pedicure,” she said.

“I am not convinced at all that the fishes caused the problem,” Dr. Antonella Tosti, the Fredric Brandt Endowed Professor of Dermatology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, wrote in an email.

Tosti, a former president of the European Nail Society, said the woman’s problem could be caused by something much more mundane: overlapping toes in a certain type of shoe.

“This is not uncommon in women with a Greek foot … who wear high heels and pinpointed shoes,” Tosti said, referring to feet whose second toes are longer than the first, Greek statues.

Toenails usually grow at about 1 millimeter per month, Lipner said, so a nail can take up to a year to fully grow back.

Other risks

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. However, the use of “doctor fish,” as they are also known, goes further back in other countries, such as Turkey.

Another species of fish, which “grows teeth and can draw blood,” is sometimes mistaken for Garra rufa and used in fish pedicures, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Lipner was not able to identify the fish species involved in this case.

While Lipner believes that the woman’s problems stemmed from the physical impact of the fish biting at the nail, she noted that there have been past reports of infections associated with fish pedicures, too.

Experts say they’re unsure how infections might be spread through fish pedicures. It could be due to lingering microbes from whomever’s feet were there last, versus the fish itself.

Health experts have raised concerns that, in fish spas, the fish are recycled from person to person, and the tubs may not be properly cleaned between uses.

In the UK, “the salons themselves were really popular here; they sprung up very rapidly,” said Amanda Walsh, a senior scientist with the Emerging Infections and Zoonoses team of Public Health England.

In work done previously with the UK’s Health Protection Agency, she helped produce the agency’s 2011 guidance on fish spas.

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

But there were special contraindications for fish pedicures that needed to be considered; recent waxing or shaving, certain skin disorders and cuts on the feet or legs could increase one’s risk of infection, she said.

In 2011, an investigation by the UK’s Fish Health Inspectorate found a bacterial outbreak among thousands of these fish, which had been transported from Indonesia to UK pedicure spas. Fish were found with bulging eyes, many hemmorhaging around the gills and mouth.

The culprit was found to be a streptococcal bacteria, a strain that is associated with fish tilapia, according to David Verner-Jeffreys, a senior microbiologist at the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science 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,” he added.

But in the UK, the fish spa fad didn’t stay around for very long. “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.

“We did have some concerns about the welfare of these animals being transported around the world, often by people with limited experience,” he said.

And healthy fish, he added, would mean “less problems all around.”

What’s in a name?

Despite the name, “fish pedicures do not meet the legal definition of a pedicure,” the CDC says.

Their use has been banned in some states in the US — at least 10, by Lipner’s count.

While Garra rufa have been investigated as a treatment for psoriasis — though not in the context of a nail salon — Lipner stressed that this is not standard medical practice.

“I would be highly surprised if you found any dermatologist who recommends Garra rufa pedicures,” Lipner said.

“I think we can pretty definitively say that getting a fish pedicure is probably not the way to go to treat skin and nail conditions.”




New trend bubbles up: Fish pedicures

Trend alert: Would you get a pedicure from a fish?

Palestinians soak their feet in a tank stocked with Garra rufa fish at a Gaza City cafe. Fish feed off the tough, dead skin of the feet during 30-minute sessions. Associated Press/Khalil Hamra

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — When Mahmoud Othman tried to figure out a way to save his cafe business in the beleaguered Gaza Strip, he was amazed by online videos of tourists in Turkey getting fish pedicures.

That got him thinking, and a unique idea was born.

After getting Israeli approval, he recently imported hundreds of Garra rufa fish, a species of small freshwater fish nicknamed “doctor fish,” from Turkey and added a fish spa section to his hookah bar and cafe in Gaza.

The fish, which feed off the top layers of the toughened, dead skin of the feet, have been used in spas as a peeling method for years around the world.

“We wanted to introduce a new idea and service at the cafe,” Othman said. “Doctor fish have remedial and recreational sides.”

Among the benefits, he believes the treatment “helps the body get rid of negative energy.”

A 30-minute session costs 30 shekels, about $8 – a hefty sum for most of Gaza’s 2 million inhabitants. Gazans in the coastal territory are struggling to get by under an 11-year-old blockade by Israel and Egypt that has devastated the local economy.

The Israeli blockade has made it difficult to import many goods into the strip. Othman said it took him three attempts and more than a month to get the necessary permits to bring the fish into Gaza.

Despite soaring unemployment in the region, cafe owner Mahmoud Othman has seen steady business.

He didn’t know what to expect, but business has been surprisingly brisk – despite unemployment soaring more than 50 percent and half of Gaza residents living under the poverty line.

Othman said he gets 30 to 40 customers a day. Many of them see the service not only as good for their health, but also as a small luxury and temporary escape from the difficult situation around them.

For four years, Mohammed al-Omari, 25, has suffered from warts that made it hard for him to wear shoes. Upon an advice from a friend, he tried the fish treatment and now believes it works for his condition.

“The first time I tried it, I had a very beautiful feeling. I came for a second, third and today a fourth time,” he said after drying his feet and putting on socks. “When I find something to relieve the pain and improve my mentality, 30 shekels becomes nothing.”

On a recent evening, seven young men sat in a room lit by blue neon lights, pants rolled to the knee and feet dipped into glass tubs. As the tiny fish clustered around their toes, the customers chatted or touched and swiped their smartphones.

“It’s a beautiful thing,” said Mahmoud al-Dairi, who came for the leisure factor.

Many of those frequenting the cafe are unaware of widespread health warnings over fish pedicures – especially the high possibility of infections. Several U.S. states and Canadian provinces consider the practice unsanitary and some animal rights groups denounce it altogether.

But Othman is aware of the pitfalls.

He said he has a strict set of procedures to sanitize the 16 tubs by giving the fish a respite of half an hour after every session and obliging the customers to wash their feet twice and apply sterilizers before dunking their feet.

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Woman Loses Her Toenails After One of Those Trendy

Trend alert: Would you get a pedicure from a fish?

Personal question: are you the type of person to take beauty risks?

For instance, do you embrace unconventional trends purple lipstick, mile-long fingernails, and daring hairstyles that would make your grandmother blush? Or are you the type of person that s to stick with the simple, “au natural” look?

Of course, it’s wonderful to be in either camp, if it makes you feel confident, but the particularly daring few from the first one should be aware that there are dangers that come with taking beauty risks.

In fact, in the past, we’ve given you the scoop on how one woman almost lost her life by using a beauty product in a precarious way – spoiler alert: don’t apply makeup to broken skin EVER! – and today we’re going to tell you how these beauty hazards can even be found in unconventional pedicures.

According to a report published by Gizmodo, one woman has lost her toenails after receiving a popular fish pedicure treatment. That’s right— we said “fish pedicure”.

In case you’re not hip to the latest and strangest beauty trends, fish pedicures are nail treatments in which the client soaks their feet in a tub filled with tiny fish called Garra rufa, otherwise known as “doctor fish.” The tiny swimmers got their nickname eons back when medical professionals, mainly in the Far East, would use them to treat stubborn skin conditions, psoriasis.

Somewhere along the way, though, the beauty industry picked up on the trend and nails salons the world over began offering special treatments in which the client could dip their toesies in fish-filled water so that the hungry little buggers could nibble away at the dead skin.

Hope you’re not eating your breakfast!

While the treatment has been billed as generally safe, it has been called into question over the years, particularly when the experts from the U.K.’s Health Protection Agency publicly announced that the fish might spread disease from client to client. The same went for certain states within the U.S. that banned salons from using the same fish on multiple customers.

But, as we’ve already mentioned, it looks these pedicures have taken an even more sinister turn in the form of missing toenails. Again, hope you’re not eating your breakfast!

Here’s what Gizmodo had to say about the disturbing news:

Unfortunately for the unnamed woman in her 20s, her experience was anything but rejuvenating. Following her pedicure, most of her toenails on both feet stopped growing and began to fall off, a condition known as onychomadesis.

Six months into her nail troubles, she visited a dermatologist, who ruled out any known causes of onychomadesis, such as major illness or a side effect of certain medications. The most ly culprit, then, was the fish pedicure.

Pretty scary stuff! We don’t know about you, but we certainly would never want to dip our feet in a vat of hungry fish regardless of the benefits. But now that we know that the practice could lead to a lack of toenails, we’ll definitely pass.

To hear a dermatologist’s thoughts on the revelation AND to see what one of these fish pedicures looks in action for yourself, be sure to watch the video below.

We can’t wait to hear your take on fish pedicures! Have you ever received one before? If so, what was it ? Now that you know about the risks, will you stop getting them?


Salon offers unique pedicures with help of 5,000 hungry fish

Trend alert: Would you get a pedicure from a fish?

Salon offers unique pedicures with help of 5,000 hungry fish John Ho and Yvonne Le had one contracting business, two hair and nail salons, and three kids. Then the couple decided to add 5,000 flesh-eating fish to the mix, and things got really crazy. Here, Le dips her feet into the “Dr. Fish” tank at their Alexandria, Va., salon.

(Keith Barraclough/The Washington Post)

WASHINGTON — John Ho and Yvonne Le had one contracting business,two hair and nail salons, and three kids. Then the couple decidedto add 5,000 flesh-eating fish to the mix, and things got reallycrazy. As owners of apparently the first U.S.

nail salon to offerfish-assisted pedicures, they've appeared in newspapers and on CNN,”The View” and the “Today” show, and customers are swarming.

Ho and Le, both 37, emigrated from Vietnam (he as a child; sheas a teen) and married in 1997. That same year, he started hiscontracting business, and she opened her first salon, Yvonne Hair& Nails, in Alexandria, Va. (The second salon, in Woodbridge,Va., opened this year.)

After health concerns prompted the state to ban the use ofrazors in pedicures, Ho and Le trolled the Internet for a bladelessapproach to beautifying scaly feet.

Up popped garra rufa fish:minnow-size members of the carp family that feast on dead humanskin cells and are colloquially referred to as “Dr. Fish.

” Thetoothless denizens of warm, freshwater pools in the Middle East gottheir reputation and nickname from their use in helping to treatsuch conditions as psoriasis and eczema.

“I said, well, maybe this might work,” Ho recalls. Le was moreenthusiastic.

“She really wanted to do the fish,” Ho says, addingthat she told him, “You're very creative; you're the only one whocan do it.

” Finding no practitioners of the art of carp pedicuresin the United States (some spas in Asia feature Dr. Fish), Hoapplied for and received several trademarks, including Dr. Fishpedicure.

Ho located a fish broker in China and invested $50,000 in thetiny fish and a system he built to accommodate them. Yvonne Hair& Nails started offering the service in April in Alexandria andJune in Woodbridge; Ho estimates the salons' fish have smoothed thefeet of 6,000 customers.

Clients must have their feet washed before the pedicure. Thenthey proceed to a cubicle, where they rest their tootsies in a tubfilled with a few hundred fish, paying $35 for 15 minutes. Afterthe treatment, their feet are scrubbed again. Both salons arebooked several weeks in advance.

On a recent Friday afternoon, the back of the narrow Alexandrialocation is crowded with customers, gawkers, media folk and peoplehoping to be squeezed in for a treatment.

Clients invariably giggleor shriek as they gingerly step into the water and feel the gentleassault. (To this reporter, who stuck a hand in the water, the fish”bites” feel almost sandpaper.

) “You just gotta laugh,” Hosays. “You cannot hold your laugh.”

Ivy Tominack, of St. Louis, is visiting relatives in Marylandand “took a detour” to experience the pedicure firsthand. “I loveit,” she says, describing the feeling of the fish nibbles as”prickle kisses.” Genie Boswell, of Alexandria, says she can golonger between pedicures when the fish “have me for a buffet.”

Ho says he has already made back his initial investment. If thecurrent trend of roughly 50 pedicure customers a day continues, hesays, he could clear $500,000 annually on the fish.

He has alsoreceived hundreds of calls from people who want to open franchises.

He's amazed and thrilled by the potential success, he adds, becauseLe had always hoped that someday she would make enough money tohelp people in need, and whatever makes her happy, makes himhappy.

“It's all about her,” he says. “She's the one who convinced meto do it.”

With a weekly newsletter looking back at local history.


Fish Pedicures: This Trend Is More Than a Little ‘Fishy’

Trend alert: Would you get a pedicure from a fish?

How badly do you want smoother, fresher-smelling feet? For the promise of glowing, baby-soft footsies, would you place them into a cool basin of pint-sized, flesh-eating fish?

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

Though not a new phenomenon, the “fish pedicure” is a growing trend in the spa world.

Patrons place their feet in water tubs containing carp- fish called Garra rufa (or “doctor fish”), which are native to the Middle East. In turn, the fish go to work snacking on the person’s dead skin cells.

It’s important to note that sloughed skin isn’t usually on the menu for these fish, which prefer plankton and plant sources; they only eat human skin when they can’t find anything better.

Those favoring the treatment argue that the fish soften callouses, help lighten dark cuticles and increase circulation. However, experts say the health risks, both to humans and to the fish, outweigh any potential benefits. As a result, the fish pedicures have been banned in 10 U.S. states, Mexico and parts of Europe.

5 risks of a fish pedicure

According to dermatologist Shilpi Khetarpal, MD, “Even though this trend may seem natural or interesting to some people, it poses significant risk.” Here are five reasons she says you should avoid fish pedicures:

1. Potential infections. Cost constraints make it more ly that salon owners will use the same fish multiple times with different customers, which increases the risk of spreading infection.

“The Garra rufa are imported, purposely starved and then often shared by different patrons,” Dr. Khetarpal says. “There’s no effective way to disinfect the tubs or the fish themselves. Many spas will simply reuse the fish.”

She cites European tests conducted in 2011 of imported Garra rufa fish, which unearthed bacterial strain Streptococcus Agalactaie group B.

“This bacteria can cause pneumonia, bone and joint infection and blood stream infections,” she says.

2. Nail trauma. Generally, these fish nibble at dry, dead skin while leaving healthy skin and nails intact. But recently, a woman in her 20s reported severe toenail injuries after a fish pedicure.

The scariest part? She didn’t feel any pain during the pedicure to warn her of injury; damage to the nail matrix wasn’t visible until the nails attempted to grow out – 3 to 6 months later.

In this case, the biting fish caused trauma that stopped nail plate production in multiple toenails. The woman was diagnosed with what doctors call onychomadesis, a condition that causes nails to shed, which often results in nail loss.

“Even though the fish are not targeting the nail bed, they chew on the cuticle, which can affect the stem cells in the nail plate,” Dr. Khetarpal says. “It’s a slow process, but often you see lifting of the nail.”

3. Blood-drawing fish swap. Here’s another twist. You may not even be sharing the tub with Garra rufa but rather another cheaper, more aggressive fish variety called Chin-Chin.

These Chinese fish look similar but they grow teeth. As a result, they can bite and draw blood. This further raises the risk for infection.

4. Inhumane practice. Besides all the risks to humans, this practice may be considered inhumane to the fish; it requires starving the Garra rufa to make them feed off of people’s dead skin.

5. Environmental concerns. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Garra rufa could pose a threat to native plant and animal life if released into the wild because these fish are not native to the United States.

Fish pedicures for psoriasis?

In particular, fish therapy (also called ichthyotherapy) has held promise for people with certain skin conditions, especially psoriasis.

It began in Kangal, a small town in Turkey. This place became popular with people with psoriasis when they noted how the local Garra rufa fish naturally cleaned the plaques while sparing normal skin. As word spread, researchers conducted a few small studies that noted positive results in controlling psoriasis tied to the use of the fish.

In a study of 67 patients over three weeks, people noted a 72 percent reduction in the Psoriasis Area Severity Index (PASI) score without any adverse effects. Another study of 87 patients had similar findings, with marked improvement over three weeks of treatment and longer remission periods.

Researchers concluded that there are potential benefits for psoriasis patients in the use of Garra rufa fish. However, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) warns that this is only when the fish are used in their native environment or a controlled medical setting under a dermatologist’s supervision – and never in a spa setting.


Woman Has to Have Toes Amputated After Fish Pedicure | PETA

Trend alert: Would you get a pedicure from a fish?

A young woman who lost all the toes on one of her feet after she had a “fish pedicure” is sharing her story and photos to warn other people about the dangers of “fish spas.”

Thai fish pedicures aren't as safe as they seem

— Metro (@MetroUK) September 13, 2018

Victoria Curthoys thought that the “fish spa” she had gone to in Thailand was sanitary. “I thought nothing of it as I’d watched the owner set up the system and it looked very clean,” she said. “[B]ut how wrong I was.

” When she returned home to Australia from her trip, she was plagued by fevers and constant sickness that doctors couldn’t diagnose.

Finally, they determined the cause: osteomyelitis, a bone infection caused by bacteria in the tank water of the spa.

“By the time they’d realised what it was, my entire toe bone had been eaten away and I’d been suffering from sickness the whole time,” Victoria recalls. Over the next five years, she lost all the toes on her right foot to the bone disease. Fortunately, she’s now healthy and shares pictures of her feet to encourage body positivity and to protect other people from “fish pedicures.”

Fish are living beings who can’t be sanitized between customers. And they don’t eat dead human skin because it’s appealing to them—they eat it because they’re starved. Read on for more reasons to say, “No, tanks,” to fish pedicures.

The following was originally posted on July 6, 2018:

If you attempt to have fish bite away your dead skin, you may lose more than you bargained for. As reported by CNN, at least one woman lost her toenails after a fish pedicure, and doctors think the same issue could have affected many others.

Woman Lost Her Toenails After Fish Pedicure, Say Doctors

— CBS Philly (@CBSPhilly) July 4, 2018

The patient didn’t initially think that the fish pedicure could be the reason why six of her toenails had fallen off, as the nails didn’t start to shed until months after the service. But Dr. Shari R.

Lipner, assistant professor of dermatology and director of the nail division at Weill Cornell Medicine, who authored a report on the patient and condition for the journal JAMA Dermatology, believes that the trauma to the woman’s nails was caused by the fish’s bites.

“I think that this is probably more common than we think. We don’t see the [nail] shedding until months after the event, so I think it’s hard for patients and physicians—especially if they’re not even aware that fish pedicures can do this—to make that connection.” —Dr. Shari R. Lipner

A woman's toenails fell off due to a fish pedicure she'd had months prior, according to a new report

— CNN (@CNN) July 5, 2018

So we can add another entry to the list of reasons not to dunk your feet into a tub of Garra rufa fish. Aside from potential nail loss, there’s also the risk of infection. While normal pedicure supplies are sterilized between customers to prevent the transmission of bacteria, there’s no way to sterilize a living animal.

And the fish don’t eat dead skin because it’s appetizing to them. They do it because they’re so starved that they’ll try to eat dead human skin cells for sustenance. Anyone can purchase Garra rufa by mail order, and they’re shipped in water-filled plastic bags. Many die in transit.

Upon arrival, they’re typically dumped into tanks and fed only dead skin. Numerous people plunge their feet into the tanks—in which the fish live and defecate—every day, making them breeding grounds for bacteria.

Because of the inherent cruelty and the health risks, fish pedicures are banned in many parts of the U.S., Canada, and Europe.

Un human nail technicians, fish have no way of knowing which areas you’d them to focus on, so customers often get unsatisfactory results, with bumpy, uneven skin and areas bitten deep enough to cause bleeding.

If you want an exfoliating pedicure, you need a pumice stone, not a fish.

More Reasons Why Fish Pedicures Are a Dangerous Scam


Vampire facials, Brazilian butt lifts and other potentially unsafe beauty treatments

Trend alert: Would you get a pedicure from a fish?

Some of the most buzzworthy beauty treatments come with some ugly — and sometimes life-threatening — side effects.

The New Mexico Department of Health is “strongly” encouraging anyone who received any injection-related procedures at the now-closed VIP Spa in Albuquerque between May and September 2018 to come in for free and confidential HIV and hepatitis B and C testing, it announced this week. The warning comes after two clients of the now-shuttered spa tested positive for HIV last fall, which the health department believes they contracted from getting “vampire facials” at the clinic.

“While over 100 VIP Spa clients have already been tested, NMDOH is reaching out to ensure that testing and counseling services are available for individuals who received injection related services at the VIP Spa,” said Kathy Kunkel, the NMDOH cabinet secretary, in a statement. “Testing is important for everyone as there are effective treatments for HIV and many hepatitis infections.” The VIP Spa closed last September.

See: Young people’s blood will not make you live forever, FDA warns

The controversial “vampire facial” trademarked by the Cellular Medicine Association, also known as the platelet-rich plasma (PRP) facial popularized by celebrities such as Kim Kardashian, involves drawing a person’s blood, separating the platelets, and then spreading the platelet-rich plasma (which has been combined with cosmetic fillers Restylane or Juvederm) on the face, which has been punctured with micro-needles, for $1,500 to $2,500. It’s supposed to stimulate collagen production to create new skin and remove fine lines so that you look younger. But if done improperly, it can lead to infection.

The Cellular Medicine Association responded to the New Mexico spa’s HIV cases by claiming that the clinic employed unlicensed technicians who were not trained properly, and it illegally used the brand’s “vampire facial” name.

It added in a statement on its site that: “Qualified medical professionals handle blood all day long without serious problems (in emergency rooms, in operating rooms, and in offices) and this procedure is even safer since it’s done with the patient’s own blood.

Done properly, FDA-approved devices are used and nothing in the room with one patient has on it even the possibility of one drop of blood from any previously treated patient.” But it admitted that, “done improperly — people can be killed by cross-contamination.”

The Albuquerque infections are a reminder that at least 50% of medical spas and medical aesthetic practices operate illegally, according to the American Med Spa Association. And while these med spas are required to have doctors serve as their medical directors, not every state requires that those medical professionals be on site.

That means the technician in the white coat injecting fillers into your skin or using a laser to remove your body hair may have been trained in those treatments, but they might not be doctors or nurses. So they may not be schooled in what to do if a medical emergency or side effect comes up during your treatment.

Check out your rules by state here.

See: One in four people is considering plastic surgery to look younger at work

Despite the risks, the American Med Spa Association reports that there are 4,200 med spas across the country in the $3.97 billion industry, which has doubled in the past five years, and is expected to double again by 2020. And as 36% of U.S.

adults in a recent Harris Poll admitted they would consider cosmetic treatment, it can be tempting to buy into some potentially risky procedures. These four treatments (as well as the vampire facial) should give you pause.

(And before getting any kind of work done, see a doctor to confirm you are a good candidate for the procedure, and to discuss possible side effects. And make sure that your procedure is being done by a certified physician.)

See: 10 things medical spas won’t tell you

Brazilian Butt Lift

The most deadly cosmetic procedure kills as many as one in 3,000 patients, warned a recent task force of international board-certified plastic surgeon societies, including the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

Brazilian butt lifts ( BBLs) combine liposuction (sucking fat from a place in the body where the patient doesn’t want it) and fat grafting (injecting the fat into the rear end to create a fuller derriere).

And the task force suggested that more non-board-certified and non-plastic surgeons are performing the challenging surgery as demand has swelled; about 20,300 buttock augmentation procedures using fat grafting were performed in 2017, which more than doubled in the last five years.

In January, a Bronx woman was charged with manslaughter after illegally and lethally injecting a patient in the rear with silicone to enhance her backside. Hip-hop star Cardi B told GQ last year that she pumped up her posterior with fillers from a Queens basement clinic for $800, which “was the craziest pain ever” and leaked for five days.

See: America’s fastest-growing plastic surgery procedure takes place below the belt

Radon Spas

While the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that approximately 20,000 Americans die of radon-related lung cancer each year just from the radon buildup in basements and in their homes, some people are flocking to “radon health mines” and “radon spas” in Montana, the Ukraine and Germany, reported.

Inhaling air tainted with radon in decommissioned gold and uranium mines, or even drinking radon water, is believed to treat chronic pain fibromyalgia, arthritis and back pain.

But while a few scientific research papers suggest radon therapy may treat pain better than a placebo, more research has clearly linked high concentrations of radon with lung cancer.

Fish Pedicures

This treatment calls for inserting your feet into water filled with small garra rufa fish — aka “doctor fish” — that nibble away the rough, dead skin on your feet. But a toe-curling cautionary tale reported in JAMA Dermatology last year revealed a New York woman in her 20s lost all of her toenails after getting a fish pedicure.

The patient developed split toenails, known medically as onychomadesis. She had no family history of nail disorders, and no other medical problems, so Dr. Shari Lipner, a dermatologist at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York, deduced the most ly conclusion was the fish pedicure the woman had a few months before.

“Most ly it’s from the trauma of the fish on the nail matrix, which is the nail growth center, that probably caused this condition,” she told the “Today” show, adding that she “would never” recommend that her patients get this fishy procedure done.

Indeed, fish pedicures are banned in several states, including Texas, Florida and Massachusetts, because it’s impossible to fully sanitize either the living fish or the water they work in.


Whole body cryotherapy [WBC] calls for spending two to four minutes in a chamber or small room blasted by liquid nitrogen so that the temperature plummets to at or below -200 degrees Fahrenheit, which is suppose to relieve pain and boost muscle recovery after exercise, as well as tighten skin and reduce wrinkles. But the FDA has taken a chilly stance on the trend, offering a consumer update in 2016 that “despite claims by many spas and wellness centers to the contrary, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not have evidence that WBC effectively treats diseases or conditions Alzheimer’s, fibromyalgia, migraines, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, stress, anxiety or chronic pain.” It added that the FDA has not cleared or approved any WBC devices for medical treatment of any specific medical conditions. What’s more, the American Academy of Dermatology warns that the extreme cold can cause skin injuries such as frostbite, frozen limbs and rashes. Indeed, American sprinter and 2004 Olympic champion Justin Gatlin developed frostbite on both feet during a WBC session, ESPN reported. And researchers in Finland reported that 16% of participants in a WBC study developed mild frostbite.

See: What it’s to experience cryotherapy, the -200 degree chamber that top athletes Steph Curry use for fast recovery


Fish Pedicures: Next New Thing, Gross Gimmick, or Both?

Trend alert: Would you get a pedicure from a fish?

Having tiny fish nibble the dead skin off of your heels and toes in a new pedicure treatment sounds a slightly modified James Bond water torture — but would that be for the fish or your feet?

Naturally, the first thing that comes to mind is, “ew, gross,” but apparently, it's taking off at an early-adopter salon in northern Virginia, Yvonne Nails and Spa, that got a little creative when razors (i.e. “cheese slicers” — arguably just as gross) became outlawed.

The treatment was experienced by Diane Sawyer on Good Morning America, Vanessa Williams on Ugly Betty, and HuffPo blogger Megan Shank, Newsweek's Chinese edition editor, who says that they're all the rage in Beijing and Shanghai, feel “really great,” and for all the pedicure perfectionists who need to know, actually do the trick of softening, cleaning and exfoliating feet.

Of course, counting myself among folks who care for both our good foot looks as well as our eco footprint, I've gotta wonder about those Turkish doctor fish, or Garra rufa, who must dine on soggy epidermis bits in a pool of water that no doubt gets pretty saturated with lotions and toxic nail polish products. If phthalates, a hormone-disrupting chemical found in breast-cancer tumors and used to boost fragrances in beauty products, have been linked to the feminization of fish (not to mention baby boys) when massively diluted in our waterways, what must it be doing to those wee carps in a warm pedicure pool? PETA has already issued an action alert on their website: “Confining thousands of fish to a tiled pool in a beauty salon in 94F water is anything but harmony with nature! In fact, it's exceptionally cruel. These severely crowded fish have no environmental enrichment, and they're fed the calluses and corns of customers who care more about foot beauty than about animals' lives and welfare.” Yvonne Spa employee Shannon Risco says that no fish have died, adding that “nothing lives forever,” but that they do keep the water between 80F and 95F to keep them alive.

C'mon, they're just a bunch of fish, you may be thinking. (What about the toxicity and comfort level of salon workers, you may ask? Ah, that's the stuff of other posts.

) But think of this little trend as a case toward a larger point: We are all becoming aware of the fact that beauty has its environmental cruelties, from facial scrubs made from plastic pellets that end up in the marine-life food chain, to body washes that contain petroleum derivatives that take 300 years to break down in our ecosystem, to shampoo surfactants that give suds their oomph and also soap up our bays and disrupt pH levels. Fortunately, forward-thinking beauty companies across the spectrum — boutique brands, health food-store favorites, mass retailer companies and luxury names – are adopting green practices, from quietly leaving out carcinogenic parabens and other toxic chemicals in product reformulations, to loudly proclaiming their use of organic ingredients and recyclable packaging. Regardless of the noise level of the marketing and attempts to “greenwash” products into virtue, let's keep on keeping on: Fewer fish feet, more eco-friendly beauty treats. Then again, perhaps we should be grateful that there are certain areas in the beauty industry that aren't environmentally friendly, such as recycling body fat procured in liposuction, for the production of, say, soap.

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