Health experts are warning people that the increasingly popular ‘fish pedicure’ spa treatment, in which customers willingly allow small ravenous tropical fish to feed off of the dead tissue on their feet, may be spreading blood diseases ‘such as HIV and hepatitis B’.
More and more salons have started offering this service as it’s picked up in popularity across Asian countries. Essentially, customers stick their feet in a tub of water as small fish measuring up to three centimeters nibble away at the rough, dead skin.
Wang Jiahua, a dermatologist at a Ningbo hospital, said that the treatment creates risk of infection, citing the case of one of his patients whose leg became swollen days after his first fish pedicure.
Wounds may be left on the skin after fish bites, and fish tank water contains micro-organisms, Wang said, adding that problems could arise from bacteria being transmitted by the fish from the spa water itself or from one customer to another if the water is not changed.
Wang suggested a 29-day interval between fish pedicures and daubing antibiotic ointment to protect skin where wounds are found.
Other experts have added that while risks from the treatment “cannot be completely excluded,” they are “extremely low”.
Another faddish beauty treatment we won’t be trying, right after snail slime facials.
[Image Credit: Wootang01]