If you haven’t had a nightmare in a while, we’re here to help!
One of the weirder beauty treatments as of late involves a school of teeny toothless fish, or Garra rufa, nibble off all the dead skin on your feet. Ordinarily plant eaters, they’re used so commonly to treat psoriasis that some refer to them by the overzealous term “Doctor Fish.” And their malpractice insurance is about to go up.
An unnamed woman in her 20s opted to undergo this beauty treatment, then went to a dermatologist after a full six months of her nails not growing and/or falling off her toes. That dermatologist is Sheri Lipner, an assistant professor of dermatology at Columbia University’s Weill Cornell Medicine, and she had the distinction of offering to the medical community the first documented case of onychomadesis to be caused by fish. Here, enjoy a picture!
Today, in horrifying things that can occur after a fish pedicure: https://t.co/QTST5jfPYT— Claire Smith (@clairesmith422) July 3, 2018
“While the mechanism of action is not entirely clear, it is likely due to the fish traumatizing the nail matrix,” she told Gizmodo. In their defense, the fish do try to warn you by looking gross while swarming around your extremities, but somehow this is their first confirmed casualty. More toe atrocities are certainly forthcoming.
The fish did it...?read this: “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.https://t.co/OAdTHKzEJU— Elizabeth Merab (@emcleans) July 4, 2018
This kind of treatment hit something of a popularity boom about a decade ago, then petered out as bacterial infections — linked both to the fish and the tubs they inhabit — started to make the news. Since then ten states have banned the practice. “I do not recommend fish pedicures for any medical or aesthetic purpose,” Lipner said. “In addition to onychomadesis, there are also serious infections associated with fish pedicures.”
The woman’s nails are likely to return at some point, but not any time soon. Lipner notes that toenails grow a millimeter a month, and a full nail can take up to a year and a half to completely regrow.
What we’ve failed to capture thus far, however, is what the experience is actually like. Internet, care to clue us in?
Fish pedicures feel absolutely disgusting— تسنيم (@404found_) July 4, 2018
Yeah, count us out.