Pedicurists say dealing with verrucas, thick nails, and filing away dead skin are some of the grossest parts of the job

martinedoucet / GettyA pedicure makes your feet fresh for summer.
  • A pedicure can be a great way to kick off the summer.
  • But when feet are neglected over the winter, many people can feel embarrassed about going to a salon.
  • Three beauty therapists told INSIDER it’s rare a client comes in who they can’t help – and as long as there’s nothing medically wrong, they have seen it all before.
  • Beauty therapists are also bound by client confidentiality, which is what good relationships are built on.
  • Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.

Visiting a nail salon is a great way to boost your confidence. And it’s a two way street – Adrienne Lauren, a beauty writer and salon owner told INSIDER she loves to meet new people every day and make clients happy.

“I’m very fortunate to say that no two days nor clients are ever the same, so there’s always something new to both learn and experience,” she said. “When you love what you do, the hours quickly pass and as cliché as it may sound, it doesn’t truly feel like work.”

But of course there are downsides to every job. And when you see around 10 clients every day, that adds up to a lot of hands and feet.

“Once you are used to dealing with feet and see dry skin for what it is (just skin), very little “grosses” you out,” Lauren said. “But I won’t be shy in admitting that foot fungal infections such as verrucas or athletes foot are never a pretty sight.”

As both of these conditions are contagious, beauty therapists cannot usually offer treatments if a client comes in with them.

Read more: 12 everyday things you’re doing that can ruin your nails

Marta Pelc, a nail technician for Live True London told INSIDER beauty therapists shouldn’t use the word “gross” to describe their clients, because if you don’t have a professional approach to the human body, then the industry isn’t for you.

“You do need to know when to refer your client to medical assistance though,” she said. “We can never comment on any issues, just that we feel it would be in their interest and the salon’s to postpone a treatment until they see a doctor.”

Pelc has only every refused a client once when they had an infection on their foot, but if this happens it must always be done discreetly.

“We are industry that makes people feel good and even in refusing a client, we have to do it professionally and in a way that clients don’t feel bad about themselves,” she said. “We’re all human!”

Lauren said she’s never had to refuse a client, and it’s rare that someone comes to her with feet that “truly require a lot work.”

“I think so many of us become embarrassed by the state of our feet, that we tend to do the beauty therapists job for them when really there is no need,” she said. “A good therapist and/or salon will never judge you for your slightly chipped toenails and dry heels.”

Read more: 5 ways you’re hurting your nails without even realising it

However, Charlotte Every the founder and therapist of Team Pamper and The Perfect Pamper told INSIDER that aside from warts, verrucas, athletes’ foot, corns, and fungal infections that can promote awkward conversations, there are other challenges that come with doing pedicures, such as filing hard skin and keeping the dead flakes contained afterwards.

“I use a layer of couch roll placed under the client’s foot so I can wrap it up neatly and place straight in the rubbish after filing each foot,” she said, adding that she uses a fresh piece per foot.

“When nails are naturally thick, using nail clippers to trim the nails can cause the excess tip of the nail to somersault across the room leaving a guessing game as to where it has landed and hoping it hasn’t landed in someone’s tea,” she said. “We’ve all had that client toe nail that seems to disappear into the abyss. Just smile and remain professional!”

But dealing with the less glamorous parts of the job means beauty therapists build up strong relationships with clients because they feel they are being looked after.

“Building trusted client-therapist relationships is one of the most fulfilling aspects of our work,” Every said. “When you work with clients over a number of years, they become more than just clients. They become life acquaintances. You share their life’s ups and downs and can become their confidant other than their own friends.”

Beauty therapists are also bound by client confidentiality, she said, which is what that trust is built on.

“It becomes more than ‘providing a service’ – it becomes about creating that safe space, that me-time, and for some, the one thing they look forward to,” Every said. “It is an incredibly rewarding part of the job to know you can make what could be a very important difference in that person’s wellbeing.”

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