Tag Archives: fish pedicure ban

Are Fish Pedicures Dangerous to Your Health?

Back when fish pedicures were a growing fad in the United States, my feet took a dunk at a New Hampshire nail salon. I chronicled the experience for the Boston Herald business section and for a New Hampshire Magazine humor column.

Here’s the New Hampshire Magazine cartoon by the talented Brad Fitzpatrick that ran with my column:

For the uneducated, fish pedicures are when schools of flesh-eating fish (a species called “Garra rufa“) put licensed nail salon workers on the unemployment line. The fish feast on your dead skin – leaving your feet refreshed – and don’t require a tip.

Shortly after my articles, fish pedicures were banned in the United States, though CNN reports that this service was quite popular in England for some time.

Now, the JAMA Dermatology medical journal published a July 3, 2018 case study of a young woman suffering from onychomadesis, a complete halt in nail growth.  Although author Dr. Shari Lipner states the exact cause of her nail loss is unknown, she concludes “it is likely that direct trauma caused by fish biting multiple nail units causes a cessation in nail plate production.”

The CNN headline will certainly put a scare into any future customers.

Those are my toenails in the fish tank picture at the top of this blog – and those toenails are still growing like weeds years later.

Are fish pedicures dangerous to your health? I’m not a doctor, but I can unequivocally state the practice wasn’t harmful to me.

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The best fish pedicure cartoon I’ve ever seen — EVER


Granted, the genre of fish pedicure cartooning is still in its infancy given the trend’s relative freshness.

But that shouldn’t diminish the significance of the mega-talented Brad Fitzpatrick’s latest cartoon that illustrates my “Last Laugh” column in the January issue of New Hampshire Magazine.

Brad captured the spirit of my foot with such gusto that I might commission him to do an oil painting of both feet.

He apparently loves the picture, too, because he has created a “Making of the Fish Pedicure Cartoon” video condensing his three hour labor of love into eight minutes.


In other news, fish pedicures are still BANNED in New Hampshire.

I cannot believe that incoming U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen doesn’t even mention this issue on her Web site.


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